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Bowdens are patient with basic mistakes

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 5, 2001


TALLAHASSEE -- With Florida State relying on new receivers to shuttle in plays to new quarterbacks, one might expect some breakdown in communications.

Like the proper play, but the wrong formation.

Oops.

"We'd call a play and by the time it got to the quarterback, it was an entirely different play," coach Bobby Bowden said of Saturday's 55-13 win over Duke. "It's frustrating, but understandable. It's nothing we can't get straightened out. It would remind me first coming to Florida State and putting a staff together and not everybody understanding exactly what we're trying to do. That'll come with time."

New offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said that usually happens when you have freshmen in their first collegiate game. So, has he addressed the problem? "No. I haven't run and disciplined them yet," he said. "That comes today (Tuesday)."

Papa Bowden suggested the staff might rely more on hand signals to avoid the problems "we can't afford when we play better opponents."

The Seminoles could get away with such miscommunications against Duke and should be able to survive again Saturday against Alabama-Birmingham.

But then comes No. 10 Georgia Tech on Sept. 15 in a game that could decide the ACC title, and the Bowl Championship Series berth that goes with it. No. 1 Miami, No. 18 Clemson and No. 2 Florida are looming on the horizon.

MAKING A STATEMENT: Oft-injured junior receiver Talman Gardner, who slightly separated his right shoulder a few days before the opener, wasn't supposed to play against Duke.

He did, dispelling any perception that he's not among the toughest of players.

On his first play he lowered his shoulder for a block.

"You have to play with the pain," he said. "If you go anywhere else, they expect you to play with the pain. It was hurting, but it was something I had to suck up and go with."

EARLY TEST: Women's soccer coach Patrick Baker is about to learn more about his team's mettle.

FSU (2-0), ranked No. 13 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, plays No. 5 Portland (0-0-1) and No. 7 Santa Clara (2-0) at the Wake Forest Invitational on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

"These two teams are supposed to beat us, so it's a great opportunity for us," he said. "They have Final Four experience. They have All-Americans. They have national team players. We want to be one of those programs, and the only way to do that is to play those teams, learn from them and ultimately beat some of them.

"If we play well and we're competitive and show we're a team that belongs in the same breath as those two teams, win, lose or draw, we should be happy. These games shouldn't hurt us; they should help us."

EARLY COMMITMENT: The men's basketball team has a nice jump on its recruiting efforts with word that point guard Todd Galloway of Middleburg (Va.) Notre Dame intends to sign. Galloway, who averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 assists last season, likely would be the heir to fifth-year senior Delvon Arrington. The early signing period begins Nov. 14.

- Brian Landman covers Florida State athletics. He can be reached by e-mail at landman@sptimes.com or at (813) 226-3347.

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