This is the first of at least 11 weekly reports from former Dunbar star Tommy Polley, a senior linebacker for the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles. He will be talking with Sun reporter Bill Free regularly during the 2001 season.
Highlights: Polley got off to a great start. On Aug. 26, he stunned the Florida State coaching staff by playing 40 snaps in a nationally televised 29-3 victory over Brigham Young in the Pigskin Classic played at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. Bobby Bowden and his staff did not expect Polley to play in the opener after his off-season knee surgery. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 4, during Florida State's 46-29 national championship Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
"People here at Florida State said they had never seen anyone come back that soon from an ACL," said Polley. "I was able to do it because of the great competition I came from in high school in Baltimore. I was used to having a lot of success [in football and basketball at Dunbar] all my life. I would have let the team down by not playing against Brigham Young."
Lowlights: "None really," said Polley, whose nickname is 'Big Play.' "I've had no setbacks on the field. I take everything in stride anyway. I guess it's hard to find a lowlight when you're playing on television all the time and winning a national championship."
Pigskin Classic details: Polley didn't start the Brigham Young game but entered on the second defensive series and the Cougars came right at him on his first play. They attempted a screen to Luke Staley. Polley hit him after a 2-yard gain. "I was kind of skeptical about my comeback before they tried that screen at me," said Polley. "But when I made the hit I knew I was back. I stayed out there for 40 snaps and that was more than some of the guys that started."
Polley, a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice last season, said that his Florida State coaches "told me I played pretty good. I felt rusty mostly on the fundamentals of the game." Brigham Young avoided Polley most of the game and he wound up with two solo and two assisted tackles.
Rehabilitation: Polley said he stayed in Tallahassee all summer and "did everything they told me to a T" to make it back early. "I only came home one week and that was in May," he said. "I hung out a little and did some things in Baltimore. I'm nothing special around home. I spend most of my time down here in Tallahassee now. Everybody knows who you are down here. It's kind of like a pro football town."
Looking ahead: Polley doesn't like Florida State, which will play Georgia Tech tomorrow, ranked No. 2 behind Nebraska in the early polls. "I thought we should be No. 1," he said. "We feel snubbed a little. It drives me."