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FSU: Extra points

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001


SCOUTING REPORT: Any other year, you might think Bobby Bowden would be offering this appraisal of his own offense:

A great receiver. An excellent quarterback. An outstanding runner.

But this year, Bowden is describing a veteran Georgia Tech team. So his biggest concern against the No. 10-ranked Yellow Jackets is predictable enough.

"Stopping them," he said. "They've been so successful it seems like the last two or three years scoring on us."

In 1999, current Bucs quarterback Joe Hamilton picked apart the Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium, but Little Joe came up just short, 41-35. Last year, former Tampa Jesuit star George Godsey nearly engineered a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback in a 26-21 loss. The nucleus of that team, on defense and particularly on offense, returns.

Senior receiver Kelly Campbell (14 catches, 230 yards, 4 TDs), Godsey, a senior and the nation's passing efficiency leader (37 of 51 for 604 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions) and junior tailback Joe Burns (210 yards on 50 rushes, 4 TDs).

A great receiver. An excellent quarterback. An outstanding runner.

"We'll find out where we're at," FSU sophomore defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "The whole world will see if Florida State is (still) Florida State."

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: After starting four games as a sophomore last season, you might think that role is old hat for defensive end Alonzo Jackson.

Well, it is and it isn't. With the graduation of All-American Jamal Reynolds, David Warren and Roland Seymour, Jackson, 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds, finds himself as the team's most experienced pass rusher.

"He's never been the No. 1 guy," defensive ends coach Jim Gladden said. "He's always been the backup kind of guy. The pressure has never squarely been on his shoulders. This year it is and I think he felt the heat of that a little bit."

Jackson didn't have a sack in the opener against Duke but showed far more intensity Saturday against Alabama-Birmingham, Gladden said. Jackson, who turns 21 Saturday, had a sack, two tackles for a loss and three quarterback hurries. It's the type of performance he must build on if the Seminoles hope to slow down the high-powered Georgia Tech offense.

"You have to set an example for everybody else," Jackson said of his new role. "I try not to get too uptight. I try to stay loose and I've got to go out there and make something happen. I have to make plays."

QUOTABLE: "He has just matured. I watched him last year just get better and better and better. He is now a bona fide Heisman Trophy potential quarterback because the guy can throw the ball, he's big, he's not scared, he's fearless, he's experienced and he can run. He's earned his spurs." -- Bobby Bowden on Georgia Tech quarterback, former Tampa Jesuit star George Godsey.

OFF BEAT: A team's placekicker is usually the oddball, but for FSU, that distinction might belong to its punter. Chance Gwaltney, a junior who has emerged as a standout punter (43.2 yards, second in the ACC and 25th nationally), has pet snakes.

"Growing up, I never could have dogs; my parents don't like dogs, they're too messy," he said. "One day my dad was out in the yard fixing to kill a (2-foot long Hog's nose) snake. I was young, probably 7 or 8 years old, and I begged him not to kill it. We ended up keeping it and I just got an infatuation for snakes."

In his apartment here, he has a pair of pythons, Terrance and Phillip. Back home in Cairo, Ga., are his pet diamondbacks, Mr. Mackey and Mr. Garrison. He also has a tarantula and black widow as pets. They're Cartman and Chef. The names are all South Park characters. For the record, Gwaltney did spend time at placekicker last season. Surprised, huh?

STAT ATTACK: Saturday's showdown between No. 6 FSU and No. 10 Georgia Tech marks the fifth time in ACC history that two league teams in the AP Top 10 will meet. FSU was involved in three of the others, one against Georgia Tech, and is 3-0. Here's the previous four landmark ACC games:

(Date,Matchup)

Nov. 7, 1981 No. 2 Clemson 10, No. 8 North Carolina 8

Nov. 8, 1997 No. 3 FSU 20, No. 5 North Carolina 3

Sept. 8, 1999 No. 1 FSU 41, No. 10 Georgia Tech 35

Nov. 4, 2000 No. 4 FSU 54, No. 10 Clemson 7 -- Compiled by Brian Landman

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