Sleepless in Seattle

Daniel Mitchell is the former Managing Editor of the Osceola newspaper, an independent weekly that covers FSU athletics. Now living in Seattle, Mitchell is keeping an eye on his beloved Seminoles from afar. The Territory caught up with Mitchell between golf shots, and the FSU alum offered his thoughts on the Seminoles' season-opening performance against Iowa State.

Anyone who thinks it rains all the time in Seattle has obviously never visited in the summer. I've been here two months and have hardly seen a cloud, let alone a rain drop. (Of course, I haven't seen Eddie Vedder either, but that doesn't mean he doesn't live here.)

A little fog did settle in last weekend, though, in the form of Florida State's season-opening squeaker over Iowa State.

Those of you (er, us) who believed the Seminoles would be just as good in 2002 as they were from 1987-2000 -- with ‘01 being an aberration -- could be in for a long, spirit-dampening season.

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but the first game was like rain on a parade. The final three quarters, save for the first play of period two and the last play of the game, sure were pretty -- pretty alarming.

Dropped passes, weak pass rush, long runs up the gut of the defense -- it was the stuff 8-4 teams are made of. Could it be that FSU isn't much better than last year?

Could be. But there are rays of hope.

Clearly, a healthier Darnell Dockett and the return of Jeff Womble would help the defense considerably. Getting Kyler Hall back to 100 percent wouldn't hurt, either. And if the play of Stanford Samuels wasn't the most encouraging sign of the night, it was the do-or-die stop at the goal line with time expiring.

Offensively, the game could have been put away had Talman Gardner hung on to a deep ball or two. Greg Jones picked up where he left off last season, and Nick Maddox slashed like he hasn't slashed since high school. The line looked solid, and Chris Rix is certainly improved over this time a year ago.

Silver linings aplenty.

So why do things seem so gloomy?

Maybe because there's fear that Dockett won't reach full health this season, or that the Seminoles lack a big-time edge rusher, or that Iowa State was not a very good team and still pushed FSU to the brink. More likely it's because we expected a better performance out of the gate, one that would raise hopes that this team really can return to national prominence not next year, but right now.

Maybe we just need to be patient and trust that the ‘Noles -- still a relatively young club -- will continue to grow and eventually reach championship level.

It will happen.

Just as surely as I'll someday see rain in Seattle.


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