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January 12, 2014

LOCAL SPORTS: Longtime Seminole Reddick reflects on Florida State playing days

(Continued)

CULLMAN — Some Things Never Change

Although his playing days are long behind him, Reddick isn’t one to forget the school that gave so much to him in the past.

He and Joan have traveled to many Florida State games in over the years. Reddick is a member of the booster club and the alumni association as well. His wife has kept plenty of clippings from newspapers, as well as photos, programs and letters. He’s attended myriad program events including honorary showcases and bi-yearly reunions — when applicable. His oldest son, Allen, even called up the Florida State athletic department and had them send DVDs of Ernie’s games during his career.

“Those are awful games,” he said with a laugh and a big smile. “We like to watch those with the grandchildren.”

Reddick’s seen the good and the bad. Fortunately, there was a whole lot of good this year for the Seminoles and coach Jimbo Fisher.

As Florida State looked to close out its perfect season in the BCS title game against Auburn last Monday, Reddick was right there in front of the television cheering his team on just as he has so many times throughout the decades.

So it should come as no surprise when Kelvin Benjamin came up with the game-winning touchdown grab, Reddick was genuinely excited with the outcome.

“We were thrilled but surprised,” he said. “That boy was 6'5", and he had to jump so high to catch that ball. What's ironic about it is that Auburn had won a couple of games in the last seconds but then FSU beat them that way this time around. It was just an exciting season.”

With each and every game Reddick soaks up on the tube, he can’t help but notice the vast differences in the way football is played today. Players are bigger, stronger and faster than when he put on the pads — he’ll be the first to admit that at 156 pounds, he wouldn’t have been allowed on the field today — and the statistics jump out to him as well.

“I was looking at our games, and we only threw 47 passes one season,” Reddick said. “They throw that in one game now. It’s crazy. I also can’t believe the receivers who catch those balls. They must have real glue on their hands. It’s just impossible to do what they do.”

Reddick was quick to dole out one piece of advice that’s been at the forefront of college football talk this year — targeting.

The much-maligned rule received its fair share of criticism all throughout the 2013 season. Players were ejected left and right for seemingly innocuous hits at times. If the ejection was overturned, the 15-yard penalty still went into effect much to the chagrin of players, coaches and fans across the country.

To solve this issue, Reddick suggested that all teams make like the ones back in the ’40s and simply do away with the facemask altogether.

 “I wish they wouldn't wear them,” he said. “I think it would reduce head injuries. Do away with it, and folks would start tackling with their shoulders and arms. I'm sure dentists would love that. You do that and spearing would go by the wayside.”

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