Chatting With Brian

Florida State made easy work of North Carolina last Saturday. While the Seminoles' effort has been examined and discussed, click here for a behind-the-scenes look at the game, from Darnell Dockett's speech at the Seminoles' team dinner Friday night to coach Bobby Bowden's pregame speech to all the excitement on the sidelines. Of course, Greg Jones' hit on UNC safety Dexter Reid was a huge topic of discussion. "It was more like everybody in the nation was talking about that," Brian Sawyer said.

"Each week (Friday before game) a senior is asked to speak to the team and tell his teammates what the game means to them. This week it was Darnell Dockett. He got up and told what he had been through in his life and how hard it was for him and how much it meant to be in a group of guys like our team, how close we are.

"Darnell got pretty emotional to the point where it was close to tears rolling down his cheeks. Everyone knows his story and what he's been through and how hard his life has been, for a big guy who has always gotten so much bad criticism and everybody gives him a hard time and says he's a renegade. He really spoke from his heart.

"Nobody really knows Dockett like we do. We know he's fun and games. He puts off to everybody around him that he's a big, tough hard guy but he's just like the rest of us. He's human/ He's a great guy. For him to get up there really showed us how big of a leader he was. It was great to see him kind of open his heart up to the team. It was good.

"It escalated from there. The emotion kept building. Getting beat up there two years ago by North Carolina lit a fire under us. We went up there on a mission to make sure nobody doubted us out of the gates. We wanted to destroy North Carolina. It was a good feeling, a good start in wanting to get that swagger back like the ol' Florida State teams.

Brian Sawyer
Brian Sawyer
"Coach Bowden kept reminding us what they did to us last time when we went up there. That kind of gets you angry…when coach Bowden gets fired up and you can see the change in his demeanor and the change in his body language and he starts gritting his teeth when he's talking to you about it, that gets you going. It's expected out of us. We don't see him get like that very often but when he does it's like, ‘Whoa, coach Bowden is fired up. We better be fired up.' It was crazy.


"Last year I think we had a problem with being a second-half team. We could jump on somebody real quick but we would come out in the second and be just kind of content. The whole atmosphere in the locker room was don't lay down. Don't be content. Let's keep going, put more points on the board. They could very well come out in the second half and do the same thing to us. You have to play four full quarters. If we can just put it together and play like that every quarter, we will be alright.

"Everybody on the sideline was talking about Greg's hit (on UNC safety Dexter Reid in the first quarter). It was more like everybody in the nation was talking about that. I got so many calls asking me if I saw his hit. ‘Nah, I wasn't at the game.' He's a man among children out there. He just murders people. It's not like he does it by accident, he does it when he wants to. I haven't seen a hit like that in awhile. Just bullying people.

"Chris (Rix) played well. He settled down. He stayed in the pocket more. When he scrambled, he slid and didn't do a somersault or anything crazy like that. He threw the ball away more when he got in trouble. I think the experience took over a little bit. It also helps, too, when you can rush like we did. But Chris had a good game. The whole offense did. The defense, too. We had a pretty sound game but everybody knows there's always room for improvement. We will keep working on it.


"You can kind of tell the freshmen weren't really used to that atmosphere coming out of high school, being on the sideline of a Florida State game. All of them were nervous. But what can you expect? I am a senior and I was a little nervous. I think the first game they were all taking it in. Ernie Sims did pretty good. He's a personal protector on punts and he did a very good job. He didn't mess up any assignments. Everyone did good, though, trying to get that first one under your belt.

"Booker had some great runs. Chris Davis had some good catches. Rix made some good throws. Offensive line blocked their butts off. The defensive line did a great job. Our defense didn't give up many yards. When everybody plays like that….everybody played just sound football. When everybody can click and be on the same level and know what their assignments and even know their teammates' assignments, it makes it so much more fun when everybody clicks.

"The plane ride home was good. We watched X-man II on the way up but we didn't get to finish it. Everybody was anxious to finish it on the way back. But everyone was tired. Those night games are brutal. Plus, know you have a screening process at the airport you have to go through now. So, at 2 in the morning you are holding your arms out getting scanned for bombs and stuff (laughing). But it's something you have to do.

"X (Xavier Beitia) was down on himself after the game. But I told him, ‘X, you are 1-fo-2 on field goals, you hit all your extra points and had one block, but it wasn't your fault. Plus, everyone one of your kicks was a touchback. He had seven touchbacks. That's a pretty good game in my books. But he is so hard on himself. He never gives himself any credit. But he keeps himself humble and that keeps him working. But he's a kicker. They are all a little weird (laughing)."


"Everybody was so ready to get this first game under their belt. Kind of a revenge aspect. Everyone was very serious, very adamant about beating these boys. Our pregame there was absolutely no talking whatsoever. Everybody was ready to go. There wasn't much playing around at all leading up to this game. Obviously we hadn't done anything. We are not good enough not to take anything seriously. We just need to keep working. Thirty-seven to nothing is a good start, a good foundation. We will see what Maryland has when they roll in.

"I was very surprised about Auburn-USC. Wow. In Auburn? They didn't even score. My best friend just graduated from Auburn and he played football over there and that's all he talked about this summer, beating USC. I haven't talked to him since (laughing). I called him the other day and he was like, ‘I can't talk to you right now.' I didn't think Georgia was going to be that good either. But they always have a pretty sound team. I didn't think it was going to be 30-0. I thought Tommy was going to have those guys fired up.

"But, for us, it was a good start. Again, we just need to keep working."

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