In the 1999 College Football National Championship game, the undefeated Florida State Seminoles faced the Hokies of Virginia Tech. The game was played at the Louisiana Superdome. The atmosphere was wild.
Before the game began, starters from each team were individually announced. When announced, the players would run out of a tunnel filled with smoke.
A Seminole, by the name of Peter Warrick, did something that exemplified FSU football at that time. When Warrick's name was called, he jogged out of the tunnel, stopped, and then proceeded to do his best Hokie (whatever that thing may be) impersonation.
But that's not it. He backed up the impersonation by embarrassing the Virginia Tech defense on more than one occasion. He had over 160 yards receiving and three touchdowns, including a 59-yard punt return. Warrick ended up being the MVP of that game.
Pretty impressive; however, that is in the past. Now the question that is being asked is, where has that "swagger" gone?
Bill Parcells used to say, "You are what your record says you are." That is usually true.
Florida State's record in the past five years is most definitely the reason for the decline in swagger. The record can be blamed on the coaching staff (Mr. Jeff Bowden in particular), the players, or even the school as a whole.
Most people tend to pass the blame on certain coaches, and I tend to agree with those people.
Players like Peter Warrick are confident in their teams when they win. In turn, that makes the players confident in their play. Players like Peter Warrick have true swagger.
The Noles just have not done a good job of winning in the past few years. They have turned mediocre.
Will the swagger ever return?
This off-season, things are looking bright. The FSU players, who just started practicing earlier this month, have been receiving great reviews from coaches and other critics.
Most of the great reviews have been made over the freshmen. Freshmen like Greg Reid, Jajuan Harley, and Demonte McAllister
There is a certain attitude that came with those guys. They seem to have that "swagger" that was so prominent in the 90s. These guys believe that FSU can return to their winning ways.
The freshmen are not the only players who attain that attitude. Sophomores like Bert Reed, Nigel Bradham, and Nick Moody have that swagger.
This does not take anything away from the juniors or seniors. A lot of those guys have the right attitude as well, but the underclassmen seem to have more.
Some may argue that swagger usually relates to trouble off the field. This may be true in some instances. Peter Warrick did have some off-field trouble. But a certain FSU player by the name of Deion "Primetime" Sanders, who definitely had swagger (http://www.seminoles.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/080609aaa.html), have turned out to be alright. Deion now sponsors a huge youth football program in Dallas, Texas.
"Primetime" did have questionable instances with the media and others, but his love for football and competition was always apparent. Now, his love for youth is apparent as well.
Swagger, swank, gloat, or whatever you may call it is surely a positive thing when it comes to playing football. The player with swagger is usually the player with the fiercest competitiveness. Competition is good for football.
Florida State WILL return to their winning ways. The Seminoles WILL become very competitive again. In return, the legitimate swagger WILL return to the team.
The future of FSU football is good hands. Now, we have to wait and see if the swagger that seems to be creeping up on the team, equals success on the field.