Chatting With Brian

Florida State is off to a solid start this season. Fresh off Atlantic Coast Conference victories over North Carolina and Maryland, the undefeated 'Noles now turn their attention to league rival Georgia Tech. Of course, FSU wants to continue to build on its come-from-behind victory over the Terps. <b>Brian Sawyer </b> talks to TheTerritory about the game, starting with Greg Jones' emotional pregame speech to the van drive from Thomasville, Ga., to hanging out with his parents on Parents Weekend.

Editor's Note: Brian's father, Bill, played for the Seminoles from 1974-76.

"Dad, mom, my whole family -- it's always great walking out of the locker room and seeing your family there. First home game. Plus, against Maryland was big enough in its own sense but it also was Parents Weekend, which made it great. It makes you so proud as a player when you see your parents standing on the sidelines, with your jersey on, it makes you feel good inside. You have accomplished something and your parents and grandparents are there to see it. That's always a good feeling, having family around.

"I have a younger sister Rebecca, who is a senior in high school. She plays softball and basketball and does all of her sporting events. For the most part, Dad comes to every game, especially this year. Mom comes to as many as she can but they try to divide it up amongst her (Rebecca) and I. It's just as important for my younger sister, for mom and dad to be there for her, too. I like for her to get as much time and as attention as I do. But they try to get as many games as possible, especially all the home games.

"It's funny, just the other day going into the ticket office, he has season tickets. I went to pick them up for him and the lady who gave me the tickets was actually here when he was here. So, she knew who my dad was. Everybody, for the most part, knows who he is. He told me after the game that he had a chance, coming back, he sees so many people he played with. It gives him an opportunity to catch up on lost time with his friends. I guess it's a reunion every home game for him. It's cool. It's always a good time. When he and I get together, it's always fun when he's around. I really enjoy it a lot.

"Growing up, he let me decide what I wanted to do. His whole concept is if you play something, you play it to the best of your ability. You do your best. You don't quit. If I choose to play something, which was my decision, then he would step in and push me. Of course, every parent wants their children to do the best they can. If they stray a little bit, you are going to step and straightened them out. That's what he did along the way. Just having him as a mentor just helped incredibly. He has been there and done that. He was always there to catch me if I fell. He instilled the values and the morals really early in my life about the competitiveness and trying your hardest and doing your best. He wasn't a dictator that a lot of parents our, but he definitely pushed me to make me the best I could be.


"Falling behind so early against Maryland was a negative but at the same part it was positive for us because that was the first time we've been down and it showed us what we are made of. You don't know how your team is until you face adversity. That was our first adversity, so it was great the team reacted as well as it did. It seemed like he (Chris Rix) had a short memory about it (interception) and he did a great job of rebounding. Like coach Bowden tells him all the time…if you notice, he slides a lot more. He doesn't take those head-on collisions like he used to. Plus, he's throwing the ball away instead of trying to make something happen when it's not there. That comes with experience.

"It (deficit) shocked us but everybody stuck together. They got on the board first, big deal. Stuff like that is going to happen. Being so emotional coming out there, first home game, at night…it kind of made us focus right there on the spot. We got all the jitters out. Once that happened, it's like, ‘Let's go. Let's crank it up a notch.' That was the attitude on the sideline. We did a good job of adjusting.

"I will review the film tonight (Monday). I thought our special teams could improve. We could have done a lot better than we did. I hate to say it was our first really true test -- I don't want to take anything away from North Carolina -- but coach Friedgen had his special teams ready to play. We need to review the film and see where we are.

"It was more of breakdown. X (Xavier Beitia) is still the same kicker he has been and he's a great kicker. The breakdowns weren't his fault. Whatever the case may be, I can roll one back there and he wouldn't even get a chance to kick it… but he's always looking to improve. If I can get it back there and we get it down, he's probably going to put it through the uprights. Two blocks in two games, neither one was his fault. There's nothing he can do about it. He just has to keep kicking the ball and he's doing a great job.


"After the game, I pretty much went home -- got home around midnight. Hung out with my family. Didn't do the college thing. Late games like that you don't get a chance to go out. Even with your parents, they've had a long day. Those late night games are kind of draining on everybody.

"Yeah, I was surprised by some of the scores. Auburn losing again. And, of course, the Miami game. That was unbelievable. Hopefully, they (Hurricanes) will fall off a little bit before they get to Tallahassee (laughing). But it's so early in the season. There's a lot of upsets going on right now. It's kind of hard to establish where a team is after two games. It takes more than two games to get all of your personnel and all of your plays set. I am sure there's going to be more upsets. But halfway through the season is where you get a really good feel to see where everybody is.

"Friday night, Greg Jones gave a great testimony. It was his turn to speak to the team -- a senior speaks before every game. He kind of set the tone, telling everybody not to be complacent, just be thankful for everything you have. That has been the real mood of the team. Not taking what we have for granted. Just keep going, keep going. Keep a level head and keep fighting every day.

Classic Memory

"I don't come in on the team buses (from Thomasville to stadium on game day). This is my fourth year driving a van. We drive two vans down and I drive one. I have never been on the bus and I don't even know how it is (laughing). I know in the van, we usually talk a little bit and listen to music. This week it was me, Joey (Kaleikini), (David) Castillo, (Matt) Henshaw, Jesse (Stein), Gordy Reid. It sounds like there's a lot of white guys (laughing) in the van but it's all based on music. Everyone agrees that works out for the best (laughing). We are always having conflicts about music on our team.

"We are not quiet but it's not loud. It's a time to get focused and your mind on the game. Most of the time, it's the same guys. Of course, the big thing is who get shotgun. Who gets to ride up front with me. Who gets shotgun. Last year it was Brett (Williams). He rode shotgun with me. I will tell you a funny story about Brett, since he's not here.

"I can't remember what game it was. We had the pregame meal and then jumped into the van. But we got about five miles outside of Thomasville and Brett says, ‘Man, I have to go the bathroom.' Well, you can't stop because you are in a caravan -- the police pick us up around Chiles High. So, you can't stop. So, he pulls out a cup. Well, he fills up about four cups and he's like, ‘What do I do with these?' Well, the throws ‘em out the van and, of course, it goes everywhere. All over our van and all over the van behind us. Brett owed somebody a carwash. That was pretty funny, a Kodak moment (laughing)."

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