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Short field-goal attempts Bowden's bigger concern

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 9, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden insisted that if folks blamed his team's heartbreaking loss to Miami on the so-called Wide Right III, they would be off the mark.

Yes, the 49-yarder that redshirt freshman Matt Munyon missed on the game's final play sealed Saturday's 27-24 defeat, but the real problem has been FSU's inconsistency on short-range attempts.

Munyon is 1-for-3 on field-goal attempts from 20-29 yards, including a wide left from 22 yards against the Hurricanes, and that has had a profound impact on FSU's strategy inside the 20-yard line.

"When we get down inside the red zone and have a third down, our thinking has been two downs to make the first down," Bowden said Sunday. "Normally you say, "On third down we're going to go for it, and if we don't make it, we're going to kick the field goal.' We haven't been taking that approach. We've been taking the approach, "Nah. We're not going to kick the field goal; we've going to take two downs to get the first down.' "

The Seminole coaches have believed their chance of sustaining a drive has been just as good, if not better, as making what should be a gimme field goal. They failed on fourth and 1 from the 16 and on fourth and 2 from the 13 in the opening quarter Saturday.

Bowden said that strategy could change, as could how he uses his kickers, who include sophomore Chance Gwaltney and freshman Brett Cimorelli.

"I think I'm going to have to look at everybody again," Bowden said, adding that he could use Munyon on longer attempts and Gwaltney on shorter ones.

"I'm not worried about the long one; I'm concerned about the one where the ball is snapped from the 10-, 12-yard line," he said. "If you're going to kick the field goal, you simply got to make that. You can't come out of there with nothing."

INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Jamal Reynolds, slightly bothered by a right knee bruise for the past week, will have an MRI exam today or Tuesday to put his mind at ease that it's nothing serious. Backup linebacker Michael Boulware sprained his right ankle early in the second quarter and will have X-rays today. He left the school Sunday on crutches.

Offensive tackle Char-ron Dorsey strained his right groin. Center Jarad Moon strained his lower back. Safety Chris Hope bruised his left shoulder. Quarterback Chris Weinke said Sunday that his left foot was "pretty sore," but he wasn't wearing a boot or brace.

BACK DEEP THIS WEEK: Receiver Talman Gardner, out since a mild concussion against Maryland on Sept. 28, probably will be back returning kicks Saturday against Duke. Gardner averages 21.4 yards on five returns. In his stead, tailback Travis Minor had two returns for 43 yards and tailback Davy Ford had one for seven.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?: The Seminoles were called for eight penalties for a season-low 58 yards. They entered the game averaging 11.4 penalties for 97.4 yards.

RARE PERFORMANCE: Weinke's 496 passing yards not only were a career high, they were the most allowed by Miami's defense since UCLA's Cade McNown threw for 513 in the 1998 regular-season finale. Miami won both games.

BOWDEN'S LAST WORD: "It was like old times. That game reminded me so much of the one in our stadium where we lost 26-25 (in 1987), where they were way behind (19-3 late in the third quarter) and won it. It also reminded me of the Florida game of '97, where we had Florida beat down there. We got the field goal for a four-point lead, which was very significant because now they've got to score a touchdown to beat you; a field goal won't do it. I said, "They can't go 80.' Daggum they did. (The Hurricanes) did the same thing the other night."

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