BOZICH | Showtime cameras reveal why Florida State star will mis - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Showtime cameras reveal why Florida State star will miss Louisville game

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Showtime's cameras will follow Florida State to Louisville this weekend. Showtime's cameras will follow Florida State to Louisville this weekend.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Sorry, Bobby Petrino, there is no bulletin board material in the second and latest installment of "A Season With Florida State Football."

Trust me. I streamed the 30-minute episode on Showtime three times after it was released Tuesday night. Superb stuff delivered with cameras and microphones parked in places Bear Bryant would not believe.

Louisville was mentioned several times. 

Once by quarterback Deondre Francois, who said the Seminoles needed to play as hard against Charleston Southern as they did against Louisville, Clemson or Ole Miss.

Once by the FSU radio crew, who said the last thing the Seminoles needed was to lose safety Derwin James to a knee injury prior to playing Louisville in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday.

There was a fascinating exchange at the start of the episode between James and Dalvin Cook, the Seminoles' all-American halfback.

Cook warned James that he could leap over one of his tackles. James said he would never allow a player to leap over him.

"You really think I'm going to let a man jump over my head," James said.

"It's going to happen," said Cook.

I wondered if that was James speaking to U of L quarterback Lamar Jackson through Cook. Nope, couldn't be. The conversation was filmed before Jackson leapt into the Heisman Trophy race at Syracuse last Friday night.

One thing that was mentioned more than the Cardinals? A national championship. Those words were spoken four times.

"Every play is for the national championship," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said.

Fisher is giving Showtime amazing access. In an era where you need a permission slip to film 15 seconds of pre-game stretching, Fisher deserves credit for that.

Showtime's cameras were parked next to the MRI machine when James underwent his exam last Saturday night. They were in the car when Fisher, a single Dad, took his two sons to school and the family dog to work. 

They were in the hotel room when several FSU players were forced to find alternate accommodations after weather created power issues in Tallahassee. They were in an assistant coach's home as family members and James celebrated the coach's birthday.

They were in the coaches' press box when offensive coordinator Randy Sanders told Francois not to let up after the Seminoles surged to a 21-0 lead against Charleston Southern.

They were on the sidelines when Fisher and his assistants barked at the defense after FSU gave up an easy touchdown in the second half against Charleston Southern, the overmanned FCS program that was without 14 suspended players.

That convinced Fisher and defensive coordinator Charles Kelly to put the first team defense on the field late in the third quarter.

That led to James, FSU's best defensive back, tearing cartilage in his left knee while making a hit.

That led to the MRI, which led to surgery, which led to the announcement that James will not play against Lamar Jackson, James Quick, Cole Hikutini and the rest of Petrino's high-octane offense Saturday during the national TV game that has brought ESPN's College GameDay crew to town.

Yep, the Showtime cameras were at the hospital when doctors told Fisher that James would need surgery to repair "a big lateral meniscus tear."

"You're kidding me?" Fisher said.

If you wanted to know why FSU could be vulnerable in the secondary, there was your answer. Coaches unhappy with effort left outstanding players in the game when they could have been exhaling.

If Florida State wins Saturday, the football world will praise FSU's depth and ability to overcome adversity.

If Louisville wins, the football world will wonder if Fisher diminished his team's chances for a national title by not playing reserves when FSU was ahead by five touchdowns.

It's football. Guys get hurt during games or practice. Remember that Teddy Bridgewater went down two weeks ago without being touched in practice.

Fisher has replacement players, guys who'd likely be starting at dozens of Power Five programs. He's always had players. One of his lectures to his guys before the Charleston Southern game was that their talent was "a curse," perhaps leading them to not playing with maximum effort in the first half in the season opener against Mississippi.

"We need to put our will up on people from the first play to the last play," Fisher said. "That’s how you whip somebody's (butt)."

But as the Showtime cameras revealed, the Seminoles will have to proceed without their best defensive back for the next five-to-seven weeks.

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