tampabay.com

Coaching's downs

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published November 28, 2005


TALLAHASSEE - Florida State coach Bobby Bowden may have been as miffed Sunday afternoon as anyone has heard him.

After a 34-7 loss at Florida, the team's third straight, fans have taken their criticism of his son, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden , to a new level. He has been called unimaginative and his offense "high school-ish."

"It irritates me, as soon as we lose a ballgame, (you hear and read), "Let's fire Jeff Bowden,"' Papa Bowden said. "That is really cowardly to me."

Like many coaches, the elder Bowden insists he stays away from most newspapers; he has his assistant screen letters and stories. And depending on which way he drove to the office Sunday, he might have missed the large bedsheet with FIRE JEFF BOWDEN in blazing red letters hanging from a fence by the student housing adjacent to Doak Campbell Stadium.

Jeff Bowden has been a lightning rod for criticism since he assumed the coordinator's role when Mark Richt left for Georgia after the 2000 season. The criticism died down for the first half of this season, when FSU was 5-0 and No.4 in the nation.

Injuries on the offensive line have taken their toll, and redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford has thrown 13 interceptions in the past six games for the Seminoles (7-4), who meet Virginia Tech in the inaugural ACC Championship Game on Saturday.

"We get accused all the time of poor play-calling," Bobby Bowden said. "As I looked at the film this morning, I noticed every time we blocked good, it was a real good call. And every time we didn't block good, it was a bad call. ... But that has nothing to do with the way the play was called. Yeah, I'm irritated over that. I think people are getting personal."

LEWIS STATUS: Bowden said he still isn't sure how much redshirt freshman guard Cornelius Lewis will be able to play against Tech after he was ejected Saturday. If it were for fighting, he'd be out for the first half and leave virtually no backups for the start of the game. If it were for unsportsmanlike conduct, he would be available.