After an offseason of questions, headlines, and headaches football has finally returned to Tallahassee. This offseason has been a trying one for the Florida State faithful. Everyone knows the story: BCS National Champions, 29 games won in a row, Jameis Winston, Heisman Winner, Jimbo Fisher 58-10 in 5 years. One game brought it all to a screeching halt. The champions failed to defend their crown, falling to Oregon 59-20 in the Rose Bowl. The streak was over, and so were the days of Winston as he declared for the NFL draft. Fisher remained, but following a season of tumultuous headlines off the field, many were beginning to doubt the control Fisher had of his team.
This attitude did not change following an offseason of more trouble. Quarterback De’Andre Johnson was immediately kicked off the team after video of him punching a female in the face in a Tallahassee bar surfaced. Halfback Dalvin Cook was then charged shortly after with battery following a separate altercation with a female outside of another Tallahassee bar, and promptly suspended. While he would not face jail time from this incident, it did not abet the growing negative national impression of Coach Fisher’s team. Eventually, Fisher was forced to ban his players from bars all together.
As the offseason drew to a close the headlines improved by some increments. Everett Golson, a grad transfer from Notre Dame had arrived and was drawing rave reviews from his teammates, and while he would face a stiff uphill battle in mastering the playbook, he was supremely talented and had the experience no other quarterback on the roster had following Winston’s departure. Dalvin Cook, seeing his suspension lifted, rejoined the team immediately following the conclusion of his case.
All that was left to do was play. Everything had led up to kick off with Texas St. on September 5th. Everyone was expecting the Seminoles to win, but how would they look doing it. Would Everett Golson have the magic of Winston? Would Dalvin Cook be in game shape following his suspension? How would the team as a whole perform after seeing a nation leading 11 players drafted in the 2015 NFL draft?
The answer to these questions obviously can’t be answered in one game, but early returns are promising. Golson played it smart in the first half relying on short throws and play action passes to keep the Texas St. defense off balance. Following halftime he came out with a different mentality, opting to sling the ball all over the field, and to great success. He flashed the mobility, and big arm that nearly toppled the Seminoles a year earlier in Tallahassee finishing the game 19/25 with 302yds and 4 touchdowns. Questions about Cook’s game shape were also answered as he reeled off 156yds rushing, and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. As a whole the team played with the dominance that one would expect of a potential playoff contender blowing out Texas St. 59-16. Following a disappointing end to the Winston era, and a tumultuous offseason the Seminoles were back and playing football. There’s an old adage in sports that winning cures all. While not necessarily a cure-all, the win Saturday certainly gives Seminole fans hope for a bright future.
CALVIN BROWN / Sports Editor