Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Risky Business for Bowden; Coach's Conservative Offensive Strategy Works in Win over N.C. State

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Risky Business for Bowden; Coach's Conservative Offensive Strategy Works in Win over N.C. State

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, The Times-Union

TALLAHASSEE -- The griping and growling of Florida State fans flummoxed by the Seminoles' lack of offense won't make Bobby Bowden lose a minute of sleep.

In the eyes of college football's all-time wins leader, No. 350 was a thing of beauty, despite what Thursday night's 17-10 victory at North Carolina State looked like.

A strategic battle of field position, with both teams plotting to pounce on the opponents' first mistake, stirs Bowden more than the wild offensive games that helped forge his reputation.

"That probably surprises a lot of people," Bowden said. "When I came up as a youngster, or in my first coaching years, I was always defense, kicking and run the ball."

That philosophy changed a bit during Bowden's time as an FSU assistant under Bill Peterson, but he added:

"Many times I feel myself going back to the old instincts of ball control, field position, kicking and great defense."

While FSU's 121 yards of total offense was the lowest output in Bowden's 29 seasons at the school, the Seminoles' defense didn't seem to mind. They were basking in their own dominant day, holding the Wolfpack to 123 yards.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," safety Pat Watkins said. "It was a time for us to go out and play as hard as we can; just another chance to prove we're one of the best -- if not the best -- defenses in the country."

And on a damp, rainy night, FSU held the Wolfpack to 26 total yards in the second half, turning around the field position game that contributed to the first half conservative offensive attack.

"We figure our offense thrives on field position," defensive tackle Travis Johnson said. "Their confidence is at an all-time high when they have 50 yards to get into the end zone. . . . When we started giving them field position, we gave them confidence."

Helped by a pair of Willie Reid punt returns, FSU started its first four drives of the third quarter in N.C. State territory and quickly turned a 10-0 deficit into a 17-10 lead. …

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