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Seminoles don't rush out of the gate

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- In the moments after his team's win Saturday night against Brigham Young, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden expressed profound concerns about his running game.

Or lack thereof.

The Seminoles gained 57 yards on 36 carries, a 1.6 average. And had senior tailback Travis Minor not run for 19 yards on three carries, including a touchdown, on FSU's final series, the total would have been worse. That's no way to make a run at a national title.

"I'm a lot less concerned now than I was during the game," Bowden said Sunday afternoon after watching film of the No. 2-ranked Seminoles' 29-3 win at the Pigskin Classic in Jacksonville. "Everything you saw is correctable."

For one thing, he said the offensive linemen didn't hold their blocks long enough or whiffed on them.

The Seminoles scored two touchdowns and gained 138 yards with 6-foot-6, 315-pound sophomore tackle Brett Williams on the field for the first three possessions. They had 180 yards and two touchdowns on their remaining 12 possessions.

"When he went out, I saw mistakes (starting to) occur," Bowden said, referring to Williams reaggravating a left ankle sprain.

"We didn't play the way we should have played," senior tackle Tarlos Thomas said.

That's not to say that the offensive line, perhaps one of the finest in school history, can't overcome the absence of one player. But Williams' injury, coupled with a hip pointer to fellow starter Thomas, forced a major reshuffling. Senior Donald Heaven had to play both tackle spots at times.

"It was hard to get continuity," senior guard Justin Amman said. "(The running) isn't a concern. I know the talent we have."

INJURY WOES: It's probably a good thing for FSU that it is off until Sept. 9. That's the sentiment of senior defensive end Jamal Reynolds, who injured his left hand in the first quarter and will have X-rays today.

"I'm glad we have two weeks off," he said.

Backup linebacker and special-teams captain Jean Jeune said he might have injured ligaments in his left wrist and will be fitted with a soft cast for practice. Williams and senior linebacker Brian Allen, both of whom have been slowed by left ankle sprains, said they will benefit from the time off.

GROWING PAINS: Despite walk-on kicker Matt Munyon's struggles -- he missed an extra point and 27- and 34-yard field-goal attempts -- Bowden said he's sticking with him.

"It's not that he can't kick, it's just inexperience and it's showing," he said. "You could take Matt and put him on the bench and put somebody else in there and ... when they miss a few, come right back with Matt. He could be gaining experience all that time, so I'm not ready to panic on that one yet."

Senior punter Keith Cottrell, the holder, agrees that Munyon will only improve and won't let a tough debut shatter his confidence. Cottrell, called on to punt from the BYU 30-yard line, said Munyon had to do four things:

"Make sure he does not read the papers, make sure he does not watch TV, make sure he does not listen to the call-in shows and make sure that he continues to kick the way he has. It may sound crazy, but I've held for him for three weeks and I believe he's going to be okay."

THE LAST WORD: "If there's a surprise, it came right where I wanted it, on defense," Bowden said. "The worst thing that could have happened to us was to go out there in that game and no matter what the offense did, was for the defense to give up 32 points or 28 points. That would have been the scariest thing that could have happened."

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