SAINT BOBBY AND THE BARBARIANS by Ben Brown

SAINT BOBBY AND THE BARBARIANS

The Inside Story of a Tumultuous Season With the Florida State Seminoles
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 All and everything about Florida State's 1991 football season, by USA Today writer/editor Brown. If there's such a thing as the thinking person's college- football book, this is it. Brown infiltrated a perennial gridiron power and its program, not to damn or eulogize, but to take a careful look and see telling details. His characters leap off the page; Alabama-born Coach Bobby Bowden is as real as it gets on the subject of Baptist ideology and southern football: There's ``an inner barbarian'' in all of us, he says, to be ``constrained from doing horrible things only through self-discipline and obedience to God's will,'' and between the whistles ``is about the only time you can try to kill somebody and get away with it....Why do you think those people are up in the stands watching us?'' The brutal practices are here--the endless wind-sprints, dry heaves, and injuries--as well as the psychology of stardom, exemplified by Heisman Trophy-hungry country-boy quarterback Casey Weldon, who ``lets his sentences slur off into nowhere as if he were uncomfortable with all the attention. But he wasn't.'' Nor does Brown slight the football money-machine that thrives at FSU because the wily Bowden can run a clean program that wins. Brown has the media, the boosters, the recruiting, the promotions, the Disney tie-in, and the euphoria that's the point of it all, exemplified by one recruiter extolling the stadium to an FSU president-to-be: ``You oughta see it when it's filled up, Dr. Lick. Every seat filled with fans doing the war chant....'' The year 1991 turned out to be a season in hell for FSU when Miami again derailed them, and, in the ensuing debacle, Weldon lost his Heisman shot. But Brown got his book, and it's excellent. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-42407-8
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1992