At Garnet and Great, we occasionally like to track down a former player who, despite strong potential, didn't achieve what was expected. Let's call it Garnet and could've been Great. D'Vontrey Richardson (2006-2008) might be the poster boy for that title. He fit the Charlie Ward mold in size and dual-threat talent, as well as growing up in the fertile football fields of South Georgia. As a Seminole, D'Vo showed flashes of promise in limited action, like the one in this video (at 20 minutes in). He enters the 2008 game against Georgia Tech late in the 4th quarter and throws a TD strike to keep FSU close. But those moments were few and far between. Not so in baseball, where he batted .333 in 97 games during 2007 and '09. Entering the MLB draft in 2009, Richardson is moving up in the Milwaukee Brewers system and currently plays for the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League. Before a game this summer we interviewed him about his time at FSU, any regrets, and how he's changed since coming to Tallahassee as a bluechip QB phenom. [Correction to audio interview: Richardson was ranked #10 in Georgia by Rivals in 2006.]
Fifteen years ago Corey Simon anchored a Florida State defensive line that was instrumental in winning the Noles second national title—a season that saw Simon record 21 tackles for loss. The amiable defensive tackle was never at a loss for words, though. And this week he was back at Doak, visiting Jimbo Fisher's summer camp along with his two young sons, and eager to talk about FSU's program, then and now.
The Jaguars know how to bring out the fans—at least when it's a pre-season caravan of former FSU players pulling into Tallahassee. The hometown crowd turned out to rub elbows with Geno Hayes, Dekoda Watson and Mike Harris. Garnet & Great correspondent Bob Ferrante was there to chat with Geno about his career as a Nole, most of which you can actually hear over the pep rally atmosphere.
For the record, Geno, who played from 2005-07, had 156 tackles (29.5 for a loss), eight sacks and one TD on an interception. Drafted by Tampa Bay in the sixth round, his career has gone from special teams player to a starter. He's now entering his seventh year in the league after signing a $2million contract with the Jags.
Two quarterbacks sharing almost equal playing time is an arrangement that never works, right? Thank heavens there was an exception to that rule at Florida State in the late 1970s. Wally Woodham and Jimmy Jordan, both former Leon High stars, were the signal callers who made it click. They arrived at FSU just as Bobby Bowden was transforming defeatist attitudes into winning ways. And no doubt it wouldn't have happened without them.
Over three decades later, what does Woodham think about sharing time with a guy he'd known for years? He has a surprising answer in this interview done by sportswriter Bob Ferrante for Garnet & Great. Woodham opens up about many things from the early Bowden era, including the fact that he came very close to never suiting up in Garnet & Gold.
The 1989 season kicked off on a sour note as Florida State dropped two in a row. But by November the Noles had improved enough to earn a Fiesta Bowl invite. A relieved Coach Bowden quipped that "After our first two games, I thought we might be in the Siesta Bowl, not the Fiesta." 1989 was a rematch of the '87 Fiesta when FSU won in the final minutes on a dramatic TD bomb from Danny McManus to Ronald Lewis. But this time the Noles would make it look easy, clocking Nebraska 41-17. Peter Tom Willis made his final game in Garnet & Gold one to remember, tossing for 422 yards and five touchdowns. It capped off the best season of any FSU quarterback before him.
If it weren't for an expired driver's license and a few other off the field gaffes, Greg Reid would've given us more exciting highlights like this one from 2010. Instead he tore an ACL in pre-season workouts at Valdosta State in 2012 after being dismissed from FSU. But who can forget the way G5 sliced through opponents on kick returns and trash talked opposing players twice his size. Here's wishing Greg more highlights in years to come with the St. Louis Rams.
Ronnie Cottrell has been called the architect of Florida State's long run of top five finishes. Starting as a graduate assistant coaching receivers in 1989, Cottrell impressed Coach Bowden with his recruiting skills so much that a year later he was the team's full-time recruiting coordinator. His ability to find, evaluate and sign blue chip talent made him a hot commodity in college football.
In 1998, an Alabama program that had slipped from its dynasty days under Bear Bryant, lured Cottrell to Tuscaloosa. A few years later he was implicated in a recruiting scandal with a top player in Memphis (you can Google many versions of the story; there's even a book about it). Though his involvement was never proven, Cottrell lost his job, and later won a major defamation suit against an accuser. During the past decade, Cottrell has stuck to high school football, most recently at Tallahassee Godby, where he won a state title in 2012. Next stop, a return to Alabama where he'll coach at a new high school in the Mobile area.
Here's Cottrell talking about his glory days at FSU and how he persuaded game changers like Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks and Kez McKorvey to become Noles. He's interviewed by Bob Ferrante for Garnet and Great.
It was 2009 in Chapel HIll and Florida State's obligatory Thursday night game was turning into a rout—for UNC. The Noles had played perhaps their worst half of the season and were down 24-9 midway thru the third quarter when the offense finally woke up. Christian Ponder threw for 395 yards, engineering a wild 30-27 comeback win. The Sportcenter highlight of the night was this 98-yard hookup with Rod Owens, who had nine catches for 199 yards on the night. The play tied a school record set by Chris Weinke's hidden ball fake and throw to a wide open Snoop Minnis in 2000.
The Garnet & Gold shops are featuring a rare item for collectors of FSU memorabilia: an 11 x 17 print of the original Osceola icon, exactly as designed by John Roberge in 1971, and autographed by the artist himself. There's no cooler keepsake for your FSU man cave or present for the Noles in your life. At just $14.95, it's a steal.
Note, this is not a paid ad by Garnet & Great (though it is our favorite place for FSU stuff), nor are we making a penny on sales of the print. It's a heads up for Nole fans everywhere, especially those who will miss seeing the 43-year old logo that became the face of Florida State. And it's recognition of the artist who never got his due over the years. He is to FSU imagery what Tommy Wright, who passed away this week, was to lovers of the Seminole fight song.
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