The sign that change might be around the corner at FSU is the player’s-only meeting. These occur on every level. It’s the sign that someone is fed up with the direction the team is headed.
It hopefully indicates a similar feeling among the team to what I’ve been sharing, “at a certain point, personal pride has to come into play!”
The team is at a crossroads. It’s clear that something is wrong bigger than X’s and O’s. What I see has no place in football: apathy.
This not the sport where you quit and say “F” it early. Especially in college where there is no high school “mercy” rule and a team can run 70-plus on you if you don’t fight back.
Let me give you a glimpse into the locker room, or what I’ve known the locker room to be. No amount of “Fortnite” or social media can change these basic ingredients of a dominate team.
The top FBS schools are full of alpha males who only respond to other alphas. This doesn’t mean you have to be boisterous, but respect is earned and you could always tell who the leaders were. Team-only meetings only work if the ones calling it have the respect of the other young bulls.
Thinking over the years, there were guys at FSU who were respected and also guys you didn’t want on your ass. Big Todd Williams my freshman year wasn’t having it. We lost a couple games over foolish quarterback play and there was a leadership council meeting after which the players went to talk to the old man about it.
My sophomore year we had Darnell Dockett, Kendyll Pope and even one of the closest to Jesus in Micheal Boulware. Junior year, Travis Johnson and Ray Willis were guys you knew you’d have to answer to if you weren’t cutting it.
My senior year we lost sight, similar to these last couple Seminoles teams. Eventually we came together and realized there’s something more important to play for: per diem. We weren’t trying to go to Boise for a bowl game. Those times playing a game before New Year’s Eve were foreign.
Culture was created by the coaches and enforced by the players, both past and present. If your coach didn’t get on you then trust that Mickey Andrews was. The culture was reinforced by those in leadership.
Players have to be calm, but they’ve also got to show their teeth at a certain point. Which is good in closed door meetings. Sometimes you’ve got to call each other all the way out.
Shoot, it might be time to call in some of the old heads like they did back in winter of 2004. At that time, a meeting of Doak Boyz of the past was convened and they talked to us about what it meant to be a Doak Boy. They discussed how we were not conducting ourselves in a behavior becoming of a dynasty. Thirty guys who built that program or had used the logo to create something of their lives told us what it meant.
It’s deeper than the coaches. All they can do is call a play, good or bad, it’s on you to execute. Just like how a coach may call the best play ever, but if a player doesn’t execute his job, it looks bad. Same energy when they call a bad play, you’ve got to understand that you’ve been trained better and are a better athlete than the person in front of you.
Florida State Seminoles football players have an obligation to perform for those who came before you and those who will come after.
This isn’t a new problem that arrived with Willie Taggart. Like most diseases, this has been creeping around the last three or four seasons.
In the team meetings, I hope they placed the burden on themselves. It doesn’t matter what your individual goals are if you’re not playing it for your brothers to the left or right. It’s easy to tell the public how you feel. It’s another thing to speak it to your brothers in a way that makes them feel a need to step up.
You see it in the other programs that have been successful, not just Nole teams of the past. Urban Meyer’s Gators – I know, bad timing, but relative – had a council that exacted punishment on teammates who didn’t live up to expectations. Saban has the same thing going right now with his Alabama teams.
Players have to be the ones who are sick of the poor performances first.
It’s time to stop worrying about what has happened in the past seven, eight months and it’s time to grow up and create the culture of accountability, even if it requires furniture moving. As long as that meeting behind closed doors creates a result out in the open, otherwise it’s just wasted breath and meeting just to meet.
Bottom line is the culture has to change and it starts with those who don the helmet on Saturday’s. Looking fly in your uniform only aides in the performance, what’s on the inside and the mindset to ball with your brothers is what truly propels it.
Either you got it or you don’t.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridirion Now: http://gridironnow.com/will-players-only-meeting-turn-seminoles-season-around