Back in 1979, Bobby Bowden coached his Florida State Seminoles to an 11-0 record in the regular season. The Noles got and invitation to the Orange Bowl to take on traditional super power Oklahoma who was the champion of the Big 8 Conference. The Sooners came into the game with 1978 Heisman winner Billy Sims and with a 10-1 record. The 5th ranked Sooners only loss came to old rival Texas.
The Seminoles used the two quarterback system with Wally Woodham and Jimmy Jordan and it obviously worked. Two Platoon
Jordan and Woodham led the Seminoles to wins over rivals Miami and Florida, but the only ranked team they beat was 19th ranked South Carolina.
The Sooners beat the Seminoles 24-7, but Bobby Bowden was in his 4th season at Florida State and
he was building, building, building for the future. It actually took more than 10 seasons for the Seminoles to become the dynasty that they were from 1987 until the 2000 season. Fans want their coach to come in and change the program immediately and win from year one, but it doesn’t always work that way.
Woodham and Jordan’s back up at Quarterback in 1979 was Rick Stockstill.
Stockstill signed with Florida State with the famous class of 1977 which included Ron Simmons, Ernie Sims, Ken Lanier, Bobby Butler and others. One of the others included Mitchell Chuvalo who I blogged about here: Tragic Chuvalo Family
I also wrote about the 1977 recruiting class here: Ron Simmons and 1977 class
Stockstill played high school football at Fernandina High School for his father and decided on Florida State. Other than Terrance Flagler who who played high school football at Fernandina Beach, there aren’t a lot of top players coming gout of there. Travis Taylor was born there, but moved to nearby Jacksonville.
Redshirting his first season, the talented young Rick Stockstill had to wait his turn at Florida State. During his redshirt freshman season of 1978, he didn’t really see the field. During this great 1979 season, Stockstill was the 3rd string quarterback. In today’s game, he probably transfers out. But, Stockstill had the patience to wait his turn.
1980 proved to be Rick Stockstill’s turn to be the quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles. With the help of a great defense which was led by All Americans Ron Simmons at the nose guard position, Reggie Herring at Linebacker and Bobby Butler at defensive back, the Seminoles ran out to a very nice 10-2 record. At offensive tackle, Ken Lanier was an All American and the special teams were loaded with All American kicker
Yes, they did lose 2 games, but they were a 1 point loss to Miami and a 1 point loss to Oklahoma in an Orange Bowl rematch from the season before. This team was just points away from being unbeaten and probably playing Georgia and Herschel Walker for the national championship. They were just that close.
This team bordered on extraordinary. They traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska and few teams enter that stadium and leave with a win. But, the 16th ranked Seminoles beat the 3rd ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers 18-14. The Cornhusker fans are the best and gave the Noles a standing ovation for their victory. Colorado Buffalo fans think differently, but Husker fans are generally known for their sportsmanship.
The following week at home, Stockstill and his Seminole teammates beat the 4th ranked Pittsburgh Panthers. Bobby Bowden called the Panthers the most talented team he had ever seen, both this season and the next.
They beat the 8-3 Florida Gators in their last regular season game to finish 10-1 before they lost to Oklahoma again.
Stockstill passed for 1,377 yards and 15 touchdowns. Back then, it seemed like the Seminoles had a wide open offense, but times have changed considerably.
Fans always want to fire the coach, but this is yet one more reason why you shouldn’t. The Florida State Seminoles dropped to 6-5 in 1981. Today, everyone would have been screaming for his head. Granted, he had a few good seasons, but 6-5 was 6-5. Fire that coach now.
If the Athletic Director at the time had fired Bowden, they would have missed out on the Florida State Dynasty and national championships. the Dynasty
They lost to 17th ranked Nebraska, 3rd ranked Pitt, 13th ranked Miami, 14th ranked Southern Mississippi and Florida. Miami had yet to become the special team that they developed into in the 1983 when they won their first title, but they had talent and Jim Kelly, plus Mark Richt at quarterback. Southern Miss had a talented young quarterback named Reggie Collier who threw and ran for over 1,000 yards each. This was a tough schedule the Noles played in 1981.
The senior Stockstill passed for over 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he threw a lot of interceptions that season. Ron Simmons was also gone off the defense and about ready to embark on a wrestling career. Simmons had been the heart and soul of their defense.
Rick Stockstill was just one of many successful quarterbacks at Florida State under Bobby Bowden.
Instead of attempting a professional football career, Stockstill went straight into coaching. It probably
runs in the family. His father was a coach, he is a coach and his son will probably be a coach in the future.
Stockstill began his coaching career at Bethune-Cookman and was an assistant coach for 24 seasons at numerous schools before being named head coach at Middle Tennessee before the 2006 season.
His son, Brent, is his current quarterback and his overall record there is 79-72. The record isn’t outstanding, but Middle Tennessee isn’t a name brand and the state of Tennessee doesn’t produce a ton of extra talent. What they do develop usually heads to the Volunteers at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, or leaves the state. The 79-72 record is not bad for Conference USA and Middle Tennessee.
It’s blatantly obvious that Rick Stockstill is a former quarterback because son Brent threw for over 4,000 yards as a freshman in 2015 and over 3,000 yards as a sophomore. This season, Brent was injured and only played 8 games.
Stockstill was one of Bowden’s most successful early day quarterbacks at Florida State. He turned that experience into a sold coaching career and it will be fun to watch his son after he uses up his eligibility at Middle Tennessee.
Even money says he winds up as a football coach just like his father and grandfather.