Who needs the no-huddle or shotgun formation? It appears FSU has reverted back to its run-oriented teams of the mid 1980s. Forget Matchbox Twenty. The Seminoles' approach is more Duran Duran.
"Pass blocking is alright, but you can't beat a run block," offensive lineman Montrae Holland said and smiled Sunday afternoon. "We just had a fun time out there blocking for the boys."
Of course, the boys are looking more like men. As in Mr. Jones.
Tailback Greg Jones ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns as No. 5 Florida State beat Virginia 40-19 at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU's 397 rushing yards were the most since a 401-yard effort against Wake Forest in 1995. The disparity between rushing and passing yards (397-157) was among the largest in coach Bobby Bowden's 26-year tenure. The most was in 1984 (290-yard difference)
Aside from Jones, Nick Maddox had 61 yards and quarterback Chris Rix gained 58 on scrambles. Willie Reid, the third-team tailback, had 51 yards on nine carries.
At 2-0 with an off week Saturday, the Seminoles can say all the want as they remain in solid position as the season begins to slowly unwind.
Once again, the Sunshine State appears loaded. Miami's starters were sharp, efficient and almost error-free in a 63-17 win over the Florida A & M Rattlers that extended the nation's longest winning streak to 23 games. Florida opened the Ron Zook era in impressive fashion with a 51-3 victory over Alabama-Birmingham.
The tough part is still ahead. The Gators play co-No. 1 Miami on Saturday.
"Yeah, I am going to watch it," Holland said. "I want to check out the competition. I don't care who wins because we have to play ‘em both. One of them has to lose."
FSU, meanwhile, plans to take care of its own business this week before traveling to defending ACC champion Maryland next weekend. The Terps were blanked 22-0 by Notre Dame Saturday night in the Irish coaching debut of Tyrone Willingham. The Irish held onto the ball for more than 41 minutes and outgained Maryland in total yardage 356-133. With top running back Bruce Perry out with an injury, the Terps couldn't run on the Irish, and new quarterback Scott McBrien couldn't get the offense going.
FSU hasn't had such a problem, especially running the football. Running backs coach Billy Sexton is obviously pleased with his unit. Jones scored two of the Seminoles' five rushing touchdowns as the Seminoles raced to a 33-0 lead after three quarters and coasted to a relatively smooth win.
"He (Jones) has worked great," Sexton said Sunday.
"He had a great spring. Great summer. He really just got out in the heat and ran and lifted. He just worked like a trojan this summer, he really has. The offensive line is blocking great. They are knocking people around and he's taking advantage of it. He's getting in there and slashing and making nice cuts and breaking tackles and running with great determination.
The ground game also helped the Seminoles' struggling defense bounce back from its near-debacle against Iowa State two weeks ago. FSU (2-0, 1-0 ACC) ran 60 times, giving its defense plenty of rest, though defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews wasn't happy with the finish. The Cavaliers closed with 313 yards and scored three touchdowns (two missed PATs) in the final 13:43.
Even so, FSU expected the running game to thrive because Virginia typically rushes three and drops eight into pass protection. And it was the powerfully-built Jones who paved the way.
"If you look back at his high school (career), in North Carolina and South Carolina they have an all-star game between the two states," Sexton said. "He was playing for South Carolina, obviously, but he didn't even play running back in that all-star game, he was at middle linebacker. He didn't carry the ball. He was just playing defense. One of the reason he came here, we told him we definitely would have given him a shot at running back and he has taken advantage of it."
Sexton also likes the contrast and balance he can throw at opponents with Jones, Maddox and Reid.
"For so many years we've had the smallish kind of guy here," Sexton said.
"But we've had Sean Jackson and Sammie (Smith). Those guys have to catch and they have to have a burst and he (Jones) had all of that. It was just a matter of him getting in there and proving what he can do, and he has done it. I thought Tom (Clayton) got his feet wet yesterday and Leon (Washington) really did a nice job on the one run (17 yards) he had. Made a beautiful job and did a great job of returning that punt. They can all catch the football. The young guys - the true freshman - are really just learning. Willie made a mistake on a missed assignment one time. I am just very pleased with them at this point. I mean, we are not near where we need to be but we showed a lot of promise. When you have that kind of potential, you can see where they will be in a year or two if they keep grinding."
"We can only block so long, that's why I think he's (Rix) had to scramble so much lately because the defense has been playing real passive, not trying to give up any long passes," Williams said Sunday. "There's going to come a point this season when a team will be, ‘Alright, we see how good their running game is and we have to stop the run first.' That will open up the pass. It just goes back and forth like that. We are just going out and trying to get the job done. That has been the attitude we have taken."
Williams also said fans shouldn't fret about the Seminoles' lack of big plays against the Cavs.
"These first two teams have been dropping their safeties back and they are letting us do everything else, like throw little short passes and run the ball and they are just not giving up the deep ball," Williams said. "There's going to come time when teams get tired of giving up the run, get tired of giving up 200 and 300 yards rushing. They will bring up the safeties and we will be able to hit our deep balls."
INJURY UPDATE: Here's Randy Oravetz's injury report Sunday as told to TheTerritory.