TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Clemson and Florida State have developed a deep seeded rivalry since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992. While this season’s game may not have the same luster as the Noles enter the game with a 4-3 overall and 2-3 conference record, the game still means a little bit more.
Jeff Scott, Clemson co-offensive coordinator, has an interesting perspective on the rivalry. From 1983-1993 his father Brad Scott coached at Florida State in multiple capacities including offensive line coach and offensive coordinator.
The younger Scott remembers growing up in the Seminole locker room, the importance of this game and this week brings to mind memories of his time when he donned the garnet and gold.
“I’ve got a lot of great memories but it’s hard to believe we’ve been at Clemson for 20 years now,” Scott said ahead of second-ranked Clemson’s noontime matchup with the Seminoles. “The first few times I went back to Tallahassee it was a different feeling being on the other sideline but now I’ve been on this side of it for so long.”
In 1989, when Scott was just eight years, the Seminoles routed Tulane 59-9. At halftime some of the coaches got bored and decided to venture over to the Green Wave sideline and get to know the opposing team’s mascot.
“We snuck over there and started tackling the Green Wave mascot and the fans cheered, so the more they cheered the more wrestling we did with the Green Wave mascot,” said Scott. “The next Wednesday night we got called up to Coach Bowden’s office and he had a talk with all the coach’s kids about proper sideline etiquette.”
Bobby Bowden gave full access to families of his assistant coaches during his time at Florida State hosting family dinners on Wednesday nights and even affording Scott the opportunity to experience locker rooms and sidelines by his father’s side.
Scott also recalls a specific moment before the 1991 Miami-Florida State game that changed the course of his life.
“I was sitting in Charlie Ward’s locker before the game and Bobby Bowden walks. You could hear the crowd as he gave his pregame talk and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Scott said. “I hadn’t even been a player yet and I knew I wanted to be a coach.”
Scott gives Bowden a lot of credit for inspiring him to be a coach and allowing him the opportunity to experience coaching on a personal level as a kid. He’s reminded of this when he sees head coach Dabo Swinney allowing coach’s kids the same opportunities.
After family dinners on Wednesday nights he remembers shooting basketball with his brother and 1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward. Now, when Scott sees Christian Wilkins shooting basketball with coach’s kids he thinks back to his childhood and all of his memories.
Second-ranked Clemson kicks off in Tallahassee, Fla. at noon tomorrow against Florida State in search of a fourth straight win over the Noles. It would be the first time Clemson or any active member of the ACC has beaten the Seminoles in four consecutive meetings.