TALLAHASSEE, FLA., NOV. 5 -- His Atlantic Coast Conference opponents may not believe it, but Florida State junior Charlie Ward says there really is a sport he has tried and isn't that good at. Yet.
"Golf," he said. "It's not that I can't do it. I'm sure if I practiced at it just like anything else I'd become good at it, but I don't play it enough."
Where would he find the time? If he's not starting at point guard for the Seminoles basketball team, he's starting at quarterback for the football team. And when that -- or schoolwork -- doesn't keep him busy, he attends to matters as vice president of the university's student body.
"He's kind of an old-fashioned, modern-day study for most kids in terms of how to lead by example," Florida State basketball coach Pat Kennedy said. "That's the way he is off the court, off the field, on the field, on the court. Everyone respects Charlie to the nth degree -- coaches, teammates, managers, everybody. ... The players want to be like him, and that's a special quality. You don't find that in a lot of young kids these days."
As much as he insists otherwise, Ward is different. He dropped a game-winning, 28-foot jumpshot on Louisville in the 1991 Metro Conference basketball tournament final. He ran or passed for 206 of the 209 yards Florida State gained while turning a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit into a 29-24 football victory over Georgia Tech three weeks ago.
"Everybody thinks I'm special or unique," he said, "but I'm just like everybody else."
Clemson's Mike Eppley started as a football quarterback and basketball guard in 1982-83 and 1983-84. But Ward has a chance to accomplish something Eppley did not -- win championships in both sports in the same season.
Even before the Seminoles play their last ACC game of the season Saturday against Maryland, their football title is secure. In basketball, they have all of their top players returning from a team that finished second in the ACC regular season standings last season -- their first in the conference.
"That's what I'm going out there looking forward to," Ward said of the possible championship double. "It's going to be tough, but we have the guys to do it, and I just want to be a part of it."
Ward's football statistics this season hardly inspire awe. In his first year as the starter, he's even been replaced during three games. However, he has returned to lead victories each time, including the Georgia Tech game and a 24-20 victory over Clemson in which the Seminoles drove 77 yards before scoring the winning touchdown with two minutes to play.
Along the way, he has demonstrated a breathtaking gift for dodging tacklers and turning chaos into beauty.
"Sometimes you can't wait to get the films to see what he did, and sometimes you're amazed at what happens in the film," FSU football coach Bobby Bowden said.
Typically, Ward isn't quite as impressed. "I never look at the films and say that," he said. "I know what I've done, and what I can do. Sometimes it might look like, 'How did he get out of there or whatever,' but that's just second nature to me."
At least part of it is genetic. His father, Charlie Sr., played several sports in high school and had a fine football career at Florida A&M, which is also located in Tallahassee. And when the younger Ward attended Central High School in Thomasville, Ga., his father was an assistant football coach and head basketball coach. Young Ward also ran track for one year and played baseball for two at Central.
But as a senior, he was selected as Georgia's offensive player of the year in football and second-team all-state in basketball. He also visited Georgia and Georgia Tech, but Thomasville is just 30 miles from Tallahassee, and he said Bowden promised him that as long as he kept his grades up he would be able to play football and basketball.
He played only football in his first year at Florida State, but he was the starting punter. He redshirted as a football player in 1990, but took to the court that basketball season. He became a starter midway through the season, and was named to the Metro's all-freshman and all-tournament teams.
Last year, he played a little football, backing up Casey Weldon. Then, in basketball, he led the ACC with an average of 2.7 steals per game.
However, this basketball season could be difficult. He has been through two years in which he has gone virtually nonstop from August to April. But this will be the first time he's really played both.
"I think it will be a drastic difference in having gotten beat up every Saturday and then having to come out of it," Kennedy said. "I think it will be as much mental as physical. Quarterbacking at this level of a program is a lot pressure. ..."