Staying Strong

There's plenty of news swirling around Tallahassee and Florida State University these days. Each day seems to bring a new angle to an old storyline, making for an uncomfortable summer for all Seminoles. Despite the constant attention, most of which has centered on allegations of gambling by former quarterback <b>Adrian McPherson, </b> John Lilly</b> says the Seminoles' recruiting effort is doing just fine.

There's plenty of news swirling around Tallahassee and Florida State University these days. Each day seems to bring a new angle to an old storyline, making for an uncomfortable summer for all Seminoles.

Despite the constant attention, most of which has centered on allegations of gambling by former quarterback Adrian McPherson, John Lilly says the Seminoles' recruiting effort is doing just fine.

"It's something that some people will ask about. Sometimes I think because it's a topic and it's always in front of us, I think we dwell on it more, or see it more of a negative than it really is," Lilly told The Territory.

"The landscape today and everything that's going on today. ... as I have traveled around, California, Virginia, places like that, people really don't ask about it, don't consider it, can care less about it. If you really want to look, you can get a newspaper every day and there's something from somewhere. So, I don't think it has been a situation where it has had a great impact or is gonna have a great impact."

Coach Bobby Bowden admitted that last recruiting season was one of the most difficult in years due to negative tactics by many programs. If that's the case, this year doesn't expect to be a bed of roses either.

The McPherson saga continues forward, of course.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Tuesday that the lawyer for McPherson wants to know whether FSU officials are interfering in the gambling case against his client.

Attorney Grady C. Irvin Jr. is asking FSU officials to tell him whether they have privately complained to prosecutors about his request to interview head football coach Bobby Bowden and others in the athletics department. Irvin has said McPherson was unfairly singled out for prosecution, though an investigation found no widespread gambling problem on campus.

Still, the NCAA remains interested. So are the police. Concerned by the appearance of a shoddy investigation by the athletic department, university president T.K. Wetherell has ordered an internal review of how the case was handled.

Lilly and FSU's coaching staff, meanwhile, continues to cover Florida and the country for top-notch athletes. Lilly admitted the question most asked continues to center on Bowden's age and future. Bowden, who will turn 74 this November, is under contract through 2007.

"That hasn't been a big thing but people will ask," Lilly said.

"But coaches always ask about it, and they ask more just from obviously an admiration standpoint I think as much as anything. Everybody really thinks very highly of what coach Bowden has done, not only as a football coach but the person that he is. People ask how long he's gonna do it? He doesn't seem to be slowing down. I don't think that's a major concern."


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