Florida State not thrilled with opener


Monday, August 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) -- As Florida State learned last season,
perfection in January is worth way more than perfection in August.

That made a flawed 29-3 victory over Brigham Young in the season
opener a little easier to handle for the defending national
champions.

"The biggest thing is, it's a win," Florida State quarterback
Chris Weinke said. "There were things we could have done better,
things we need to work on, but we still won."

Sometimes it only takes a few minutes for a team to prove it's
better, and that's how the No. 2 Seminoles handled things Saturday
night.

In the span of 17 minutes, their new corps of receivers had
caught 13 passes for 125 yards and Florida State had rushed to a
22-0 lead.

The rest of the night was a frustrating mix of errors, missed
opportunities and lack of a running game for Florida State,
although the Seminoles know they have the rest of the season to fix
their deficiencies.

Most notably, they'll be looking for a kicker.

As badly as coach Bobby Bowden wanted to, there was no way
Florida State could replace first-round draft pick Sebastian
Janikowski. Playing for the injured Brett Cimorelli, walk-on
freshman Matt Munyon missed two field goals and an extra point.

"The kicking game was just like I was afraid of," Bowden said.
"I felt like the biggest drop off would be Janikowski."

The task of replacing receiver Peter Warrick seems easy by
comparison.

Junior college transfer Javon Walker made a great catch in the
back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Weinke lobbed the ball up for grabs and didn't see the end of the
play after being shoved into the BYU sideline, where he landed in
coach LaVell Edwards' lap.

"I was trying to throw that ball away," Weinke said. "I saw
one of our guys back there. I figured it was either he'd catch it
or it would go out of bounds. He made a great play."

Walker caught eight balls for 70 yards. Teammate Snoop Minnis
made nine catches for 137 yards. Atrews Bell, playing in front of
his hometown fans, had four catches for 37 yards and scored twice,
the second time on a 6-yard double reverse.

"He might be our No. 1 receiver right now," Bowden said.

The defense played well, even though it lost the chance to
become the first team to shut out BYU since the Ford
administration. The Cougars kept their NCAA-record, 313-game streak
without a shutout going, but not without some major worries.

Known as the high-flying paradigm of offense in the West, BYU
managed only 225 yards and never came close to matching the speed
or depth of Florida State.

Not that that surprised anyone.

"We knew we were going to win, so you try to add to that and
get the shutout," said FSU linebacker Tommy Polley, who played but
didn't start after coming off knee surgery in the off-season.
"That didn't work out. But it still looked like the FSU defense of
old, at times."

At other times, it just looked like a team that still needs
work.

The running game only produced 57 yards and the Seminoles never
got a chance to pile on they way they're capable. BYU had something
to do with it, of course.

Still, it speaks volumes when a team wins by four touchdowns and
still has lots of complaining to do.

"They're incredible," said BYU quarterback Brett Engemann.
"If they don't win the championship again this year, I'll be
surprised."