"I don't get on the field that much but whenever I do I try to be on the ball," a smiling Hetzel said following the Seminoles' 40-19 victory over Virginia Saturday at Doak Cambpell Stadium.
Hetzel, a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship at the conclusion of preseason drills, certainly was on the ball against the Cavs. His first-quarter punt block resulted in a safety and helped set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon for the Seminoles, who opened Atlantic Coast Conference play on a positive note.
Hetzel, a special teams terror for FSU, also had a big game at Virginia last season. In his first career action, Hetzel had three tackles and recorded his first career fumble recovery. He had two fumble recoveries on the season. Hetzel continued his solid play during the preseason, and was one of two walk-ons (Mike Shaw was the other) to earn a scholarship.
Hetzel burst up the middle nearly untouched on his punt block.
"Actually, we put in a stunt this week and the first punt block and possibly the second, we were just setting it up," Hetzel said.
"It wasn't actually the stunt we were thinking we could get a block on. I just beat the center. It was a single block. I got past the center off the ball. Later on we tried to run the stunt, but they changed their blocking schemes up front. They had a couple bad punts and that throws off everything. Maybe we disrupted him a little bit after that (block)."
The last time FSU recorded a safety was against North Carolina last season when the ball was snapped out of the end zone.
TD FOR TORRANCE
True freshman fullback Torrance Washington, of nearby Madison County, recorded his first career TD on a 4-yard run with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter.
"It felt good. It felt real good," a smiling Washington said. "I tried to stay focused. I tried not to be too nervous. As soon as I started my cutback, I saw the touchdown right there. I got in there. I am thankful."
FIRST CAREER START
Sophomore Alex Barron recorded his first career start against the Cavs. The Orangeburg, S.C., native started at split tackle due to the ankle injury to tight tackle Ray Willis. Brett Williams, the regular starter at split tackle, moved to tight tackle for the game.
"The coaches wanted to establish the run. We've been working on it all week," Barron said. "They've been telling us we are going to run the ball and it proved to be a good thing. During the week, I was calm. Fine. Hanging out with the team, having a good time. But when I finally got on the field, I had a few butterflies in me. After the first couple of plays, they got out and I was alright."
NO NEED TO PASS
Receiver Anquan Boldin had just one reception for 24 yards against the Cavs. He didn't mind at all, as the Semnoles' ground game accounted for a whopping 397 yards.
"I thought from the get-go that we pretty much had control of the game," Boldin said.
"The offensive line was blocking well, the backs were running good and we got a couple of key blocks out on the perimeter to spring the backs on a couple big runs. I thought we had control of the game. I like when we do it (rush). It puts you in another mindset, just to go out and block and have fun. As long as points are being put on the board, I am satisfied. When we came out, they were rushing three and dropped eight, sowe had to take what they were giving us. The numbers weren't right, so we took advantage of the run. We did that well."
Sophomore kicker Xavier Beitai's streak of 47 consecutive kicks made (12 field goals, 35 extra points), which dates back to last year's Virginia game, was snapped in the third quarter when he missed a 26-yard field goal attempt left. Beitia's only miss of his career was a 42-yard attempt in the first quarter of last year's Virginia game. Beitia started a new streak, however, connecting on a 42-yarder late in the third quarter against the Cavs.
Third-team tailback Willie Reid recorded 51 rushing yards on nine carries and scored his first career touchdown.
BOBBY BOWDEN: "We played better than we did last time. A lot better. What stopped us time after time was us. Without the penalties, without the inteceptions, without the fumbles, I thought we played pretty doggone good offensively. We probably rushed for more yards than we've ever rushed. Defensively, I would rate them real high. Things did not break down until the fourth quarter. It's hard to play emotionally when we're substituting a lot of people. So, I guess that's expected. We played better (defensively). If our offense had been hot. We gave up the ball I knpow two times inside the four. We could of come ouf of there with 14 points or six at the worst. There will come a time. We need to be happy with what we have got."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TODD WILLIAMS: "The offensive line is still getting better each week. We just wanted to show people that we can come out and grind. We appreciate the coaches letting us run the ball like we did today. Every time we line up, we feel we can execute any play the coaches call if we do what we are supposed to do up front."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE DARNELL DOCKETT: "We didn't play hard for four quarters. We came out and played three quarters. To get what we're trying to get, that national championship, we got to find a way to go out thre and play four quarters. They executed at the end. There are a lot of positive things we got out of the game. We dominated the first two quarters today, unitl the fourth quarter. We've got to go back and look at the film and learn our corrections and just get better. We came out of here witha win, the offense did a great job and everybody came away healthy. That's the most positive thing."
LINEBACKER MICHAEL BOULWARE: "I was very disappointed. He defense as a unit played well until the fourth quarter and we've just got to finish up. The biggest thing is to finish the game."
CORNERBACK STANFORD SAMUELS: "Keep watching us before you judge us by the stats. Those are people who don't watch the game, they just look at the stats. As a unit, we've got to get this thing better. It's just a fact that we're taking all the flak for everything. We've busted our behinds to get better over the summer. They are going to see it through, the truth is going to come out."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MICKEY ANDREWS: "We played our base defense about 95-percent of the time and we told them we will dominate one-on-one whether it's a blocker, or a receiver or a runner. For three quarters we did that. I don't know what the answer is, but we are going to find a way to finish the game. We've got to."
INJURIES: WR Robert Morgan was the lone serious injury. He suffered bruised ribs but will need X-rays to determine if there was a break. Morgan was injured as he attempted to catch a pass over the middle.