Column: Hope at Doak

Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

We are 32 days away from Florida State kicking off the season against Duquesne at Doak Campbell Stadium. College Football fans from around the nation cannot wait for the season to begin.

For FSU, practice gets underway on Wednesday. Preparations have begun with the practice helmets hung by the updated lockers with athletes’ names and numbers above each.

We can feel the season getting closer; we all are counting down the days before we get to see whether the offseason regimen has paid off. Seminoles fans can’t wait to start the war chant, and see the chop done in unison across the stadium.

We will soon hear the Marching Chiefs begin to play, leading Osceola and Renegade onto the field. We can once again see that flame lit at the end of the spear. Anticipation builds as Osceola and Renegade make their way to the logo at midfield.

The spear is planted. The crowd erupts.

This experience is like no other. It can’t be replaced. Chills roll down your body as you experience the place that FSU fans affectionately refer to as “Doak”.

Being part of one of the greatest traditions in college football is special. After four straight losing seasons, fans are desperate for a change. They want to see what was once a premier power be potent once again.

That standard of excellence must return.

Although FSU finished just 5-7 last season, it ended with hope. The Seminoles won five of their final eight games. Four of the seven losses came by one score or less. In another, FSU led with less than three minutes to play.

“First you lose big; then you lose close; then you win.”

Those words were once uttered by legendary head coach Bobby Bowden. Current head coach Mike Norvell and the FSU faithful hope they ring true in 2022.

FSU will look to start 1-0 for the first time since 2016 as it opens with Duquesne on Aug. 27. Eight days later, it will be in New Orleans to face LSU for a contest that could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Merely being competitive won’t be enough in 2022. FSU fans must trust in their coaches and athletes to execute. Everyone has to do their job. That’s what can ultimately decide a close game and the outlook of a season.

It won’t be easy for FSU in 2022, but things worthwhile rarely are. As the season approaches, fans in Tallahassee hope for a better year and a brighter future.

That hope begins at Doak.