Smoke Signals

Florida State's tumble from among the nation's elite the past two seasons doesn't sit well with <b>Dominic Robinson.</b> He says the Seminoles' 17-9 record over that span is unacceptable. He's tired of endless chatter, excuses and distractions. "We've got to leave a legacy," Robinson said. "People are going to remember us for being winners or being losers. There is no in between. That's something I'm trying to say to the guys." Click here for much, much more, including recruiting news.

Florida State's tumble from among the nation's elite the past two seasons doesn't sit well with Dominic Robinson. He says the Seminoles' 17-9 record over that span is unacceptable. He's tired of endless chatter, excuses and distractions.

"We've got to leave a legacy," Robinson said.

"People are going to remember us for being winners or being losers. There is no in between. That's something I'm trying to say to the guys. It's not about talking about it, bringing it up, national championships, 'W need to do this, or that.' Get out there and work. Spend some extra time in the weight room.

"Spend some extra time out here running routes. Whatever you've got to do. If you've got to go home and work hard, if you've got to stay here all summer, whatever you've got to do. You need to get it done. It's no longer about talking about it. We've talked about it the last two years. And you see where that's got us. It's time to really step up and start working hard."

Robinson is practicing what he preaches. Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden has praised Robinson's work habits at wide receiver, saying the junior has been a model of consistency thus far. Robinson, who made a successful transition from cornerback to wide out last season, is listed first on the depth chart at flanker in front of Craphonso Thorpe and Chris Davis, who is recovering from knee surgery and will be held out of all contact.

Of course, Robinson was the center of attention during spring break last week, when it was reported from his hometown of L.A. that he was looking to transfer to USC and "disenchanted" with coach Bobby Bowden. Robinson vehemently denied the report, saying he's perfectly happy with Bowden and FSU. In fact, Robinson's tickled to be back on the football field.

" It felt great. It felt great to be back out here," Robinson said.

"JB (Jeff Bowden) was going to the practice plan, and I was just like, 'Man, that sounds like fun! Let's get after it!' It's good to be back. I'm real eager to throw some pads on and continue to get better throughout this spring, and continue to get better throughout this season.

"I feel like I'm ready to go right now. I'm so antsy - so excited about the upcoming season. I'm excited about what's going on here, the coaching, the few little changes that we've made. With 14 more practices - we're going to get a lot of good work in. The way I am, I love to play football so much, I wish we could have practice all summer. It's not good for the body or anything, but I just love being out here with the guys, just competing."


Of course, Robinson arrived at FSU as a heralded corner, the next Deion Sanders, a.k.a., Prime Time II. While Robinson lacked the necessary quickness on the edges, he certainly doesn't lack the heart or desire. He welcomed the move to receiver and made a nice impact last season, finishing with nine receptions for 143 yards (15.9 average). Robinson recorded a career-high 70 yards on four catches against North Carolina State.

Robinson is thrilled to be atop the depth chart at the moment, but he's far from content. He still has much bigger dreams.

"It feels great, to know that the hard work is beginning to pay off," Robinson said.

"It's a long way out to the season. This isn't something that I'm content with. It's not something I'm going to settle for. It's good to first- or second-(team). If you're at Florida State, it's good to be anywhere on the top two teams. But this is not something that I'm settling for.

"I'm looking to be the best player that I can be. I want to be the best player around - the best player to come through. I want my picture in the locker room like those other guys, you know? That's what I'm working for. I'm not content with it. It's good - I'm happy that the coaches are noticing that I'm working hard. But that's definitely not something I'm settling for. I'm working to be the best player in the nation, and like I said, to have my picture in the locker room one day."

Robinson also feels far more comfortable in a leadership role. However, Robinson quickly admits he needs to improve and set a good example for teammates. There's no denying Robinson's versatility. He has seen time on special teams, returning six punts for 35 yards last season, and was a popular member of the FSU baseball team last year.

"Yeah, I really do. I really felt like I came into my own," Robinson said.

" It took for me to get an opportunity, get some game experience. Once I began to get that, I began to come into my own, began to get comfortable. I was able to get into some more specific things this offseason - knowing what I needed to work on, my quickness, and change of direction, plyometrics, things like that. That's one thing - having a year of experience, you get to learn your strengths and weaknesses, and now I can work on that. Hopefully, it'll pay off this spring, and I can assess that this summer."

And you can get this summer will be a huge test for Robinson and his teammates. The Seminoles are accepted to be challenged by N.C. State and Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference race. After sporting 14 consecutive 10-win seasons, the Seminoles haven't lost as many games (nine) in a two-year span since 1981-82 (eight).

Robinson says the time has come for actions to speak louder than words at FSU.

"It's indescribable, the way that I feel, the weight that I feel on my shoulders," Robinson said.

"I'm taking it on myself, trying to press it with the receiving corps. We've got to take this thing. We've got to lead this team. When Corey Simon was talking to us (at opening practice Tuesday) - I'm embarrassed. To be 17-9 is not acceptable at all for this school. I was 38-3 in high school, so I don't know what losing is like. And I definitely am not going to have my name associated with losing. So it's something that I'm taking upon myself, and something that the team as a whole has to take upon ourselves."


According to several sources, Lake Mary's Keith Rivers will most like be one of the top 24 players in the country. The hard hitting linebacker, who is originally from California, has already been offered by Miami and FSU. Reports have linebacker Maurice Crum, Jr., of Tampa leaning towards FSU. This is unusual seeing how his father was a star linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes in the 1980s.

With FSU not signing a quarterback in last year's class and the dismissal of Adrian McPherson, one of the team's biggest recruiting priorities will be quarterback. The coaches would like to sign at least two and the good news is that three national quarterback recruits from Florida have the Seminoles leading, including Drew Weatherford of Land O Lakes, Cornelius Ingram of Hawthorne and Xavier Lee of Daytona Sea breeze. Ingram and Weatherford plan on attending FSU's camp this summer?

Will one of them commit early?

With Kyler Hall moving to strong safety and B.J. Ward injured, it looks like true sophomore Pat Watkins has moved into the No.1 free safety spot this spring. The 6-foot-4 and 195 pound former high-school All-American has been impressive so far in practice by picking of at least three passes during skeleton drills.

FSU has picked up some help at the tight end position. Brian Kuhn, a former scholarship defensive end at Auburn, is walking on at FSU. Kuhn, a second-team all state player from Crescent City signed a letter of intent with Auburn in December 2001. In high school, the 6-foot-5 240 pound standout, recorded a school-record 28 sacks, including 17 in his junior season.

Also, former North Florida Christian tight end standout Matt Root is expected to transfer to FSU from Notre Dame. Root wants to attend FSU since Notre Dame would like to move him from tight end to guard. Root's younger brother, Mark, is a two-sport standout (football and basketball) at NFC.

Collin Mickle and Dave Peters contributed to this report.

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