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BCS title game notebook: Florida State’s Wilder runs like his dad did at Mizzou

01/04/2014 5:42 PM

01/04/2014 5:42 PM

Seminoles’ Wilder runs like his Mizzou dad

Florida State running back James Wilder Jr., has watched film of his father playing in college and at times suppresses a laugh.

Not because of how James Wilder Sr., “The Sikeston Train,” from Missouri ran.

“But that option, man, that’s what they ran in the day,” Wilder said. “It looks kind of funny today.”

The older Wilder, a member of Missouri’s Hall of Fame, finished his college career in 1980 as the Tigers’ career rushing leader. He was the MVP of Mizzou’s 1978 Liberty Bowl victory over LSU and went on to an excellent NFL career.

And he taught his son the nuances of the position.

“He played at 6-3, 225, I’m 6-3, 230,” Wilder Jr. said. “He ran hard, I run hard. I’m like the newer version of him.”

Wilder, a junior, is the Seminoles’ third leading rusher with 542 yards. He averages 6.9 yards per carry and has scored eight touchdowns. He grew up in Tampa, Fla., and didn’t consider following in his father’s footsteps at Mizzou.

Wins of change

Three years ago, Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes was trying to figure out how Kansas would beat anybody as the Jayhawks’ offensive line coach. Today, he’s getting the Tigers ready to play in the BCS National Championship Game.

“I can remember walking into that first team meeting, knowing the program had won the Orange Bowl a couple of years earlier, and thinking, ‘Where are those guys?’” Grimes said. “A lot had changed.”

Grimes was a part of the two Turner Gill teams that finished 5-19. Grimes joined Gus Malzahn’s Arkansas State team in 2011, and moved with Malzahn to Auburn in 2012.

Grimes was also a Missouri assistant in 1984, the final year of the Warren Powers’ regime.

“I was a volunteer coach, paying them to let me coach,” Grimes said. “I lived in a trailer and remember waking up one morning with an inch of ice on the inside of the windows.”

The season ended, the staff was out of work, and Grimes was loading a truck to return to Texarkana, Ark., to work in his brother’s Mexican restaurant when he got a call from Louisiana-Monroe, looking for an offensive line coach. “I’d have been flipping tacos otherwise,” Grimes said.

Strong’s KU might-have-beens

Charlie Strong to Kansas?

That might have been a headline once or twice in the past.

Louisville’s Strong, who appears the favorite to replace Mack Brown at Texas, interviewed for the Kansas job after the 2001 season, when it went to Mark Mangino. Strong was South Carolina’s defensive coordinator and would take the same job at Florida the next season.

When the Jayhawks looked a replacement for Mangino after the 2009 season, Strong’s agent inquired about the Kansas job, which went to Turner Gill.

Dogs having days

Auburn is a about a touchdown underdog against Florida State, and if the trend holds, that’s precisely where the Tigers want to be.

With four down and one remaining, underdogs have won all the BCS games.

Oklahoma, a 17-point underdog, defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Central Florida (plus-17) beat Baylor in the Fiesta; Michigan State (plus-7) got past Stanford in the Rose; and Clemson (plus-3) held off Ohio State in the Orange.

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