The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Broke at Doak

FSU payed the price for idolatry.

I knew that before the game they were going to hold a ceremony to rename the place "Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium." I figured it would include that being painted somewhere inside the stadium, which it was. What I didn't know was that it included a 30-foot high stained glass window (making it one of the 5 largest stained glass windows in the country) featuring his likeness and "Bobby Bowden Field" at the top. This is on top of them having a statue of him already. And if that's not disgusting enough for you, in the third quarter they ran an ad on the Jumbotron that bronze busts of Bowden were for sale. Serves them all right. Now they have a losing record at Bobby Bowden Field for the next 10 months.

Really, to credit it all to that is a disservice to the Gators. The led the game wire to wire, and when it came to crunch time, when everyone in the stadium knows they need a touchdown, Ciatrick Fason ran straight up the gut out of a passing formation and waltzed into the endzone. The Gators have not been able to do that all season, or really, in the Zook years at all (the two Arkansas games excepted). It was a masterful performance by the team on both sides of the ball, and each and every Gator that played deserves a game ball.

Speaking of Zook, for the second straight year the coaching staff created a flawless game plan for FSU. The game really was not as close as the score would indicate. FSU's only touchdown came on a lucky heave from Chris Rix that required Chauncey Stovall to shove his defender down just before the ball arrived (it wasn't called). The defense had an answer for everything (eventually) and the offense was able to move the ball with relative ease. Chris Leak finished with 231 yards passing with a touchdown, Fason broke 100 yards yet again in a big game with 103, and Action Chad Jackson led the receivers with 3 catches for 65 yards and a score.

It was an awesome moment after the game. After the players had emptied the water coolers on Zook and finished dancing around and partying, they did what should be done. In his final regular season game, after vanquishing FSU on Bobby Bowden Field (in Doak for the first time since 1986), Zook was carried off the field while the band played the UF fight song "Orange and Blue." It was probably one of the best moments of the year for me. It's amazing to me how much my attitude on Zook has changed. He showed a killer instinct for the first time against South Carolina, and it carried over to this week when he went for it in 4th and inches at the Gators' own 26. Part of that I suppose is due to the fact he had nothing to lose the past two weeks and probably was working on his legacy, but he still learned valuable lessons on winning games. I don't think the university will reverse its decision to terminate his contract, so I think that was the best way for him to go out. If he can put his staff back together somewhere (especially with Larry Fedora as offensive coordinator), they will probably struggle a little while Zook stocks the team with talent, but once he gets a squad where everyone buys into the system and there is depth and experience (something he never had at Florida), watch out. Ron Zook knows how to win.

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