The No. 9 Seminoles have endured several injuries to starters across their defensive front, which should allow the Clemson tailbacks to chew up some yardage.
Florida State (2-0, 1-0 ACC) has lost starting nose guard Paul Griffin to an ACL injury, while second team defensive tackle Letroy Guion has a bad ankle, as does Aaron Jones.
All told, three of the team's top four interior linemen missed practice Tuesday.
If that weren't enough, starting right end Darrell Burston has a sore foot and his backup, D.J. Norris, has a gimpy knee. Moreover, defensive end Alex Boston, who started seven games last season, has yet to play this year due to an ankle injury.
The ends are listed as questionable, while the tackles are considered to be out or doubtful for Saturday night's game.
"The biggest thing we've got to do now is put somebody in place that can play at those positions and then find out as much as we can about Clemson by studying tape," said longtime Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews. "Of course, it's a long week, a lot can happen between Monday and Saturday. We won't really know until the latter part of the week, but what we've got right now is not real encouraging."
This is almost a mirror image of what happened to the Seminoles last year prior to its game against Clemson. They came into the game with a lot of injuries and Clemson took advantage of the situation by steamrolling through their defense.
"It just means you are going to have to play freshmen," Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden said. "There's going to have to be freshmen playing, guys you would have liked to have redshirt and that probably needed redshirting."
Redshirt freshman Kendrick Stewart will likely get the start at nose guard in place of Griffin.
"I have to step up and fill his shoes," Stewart said. "I've been working hard anyway right behind him. I'm ready to step up. I'll have a lot of adrenaline running for that game. It's a big game. I'm going to play it for Paul. He is one of our teammates and I love him like a brother. This game is going to be for him."
Boston, who is planning on playing, said slowing down Clemson is going to a difficult challenge, especially with all the injuries to the defensive line.
"Last year they had a really good scheme offensively for us," he said. "They gave us some misdirection type stuff. Hopefully this year we can kind of settle in and make some big plays from the d-line standpoint. …
"I have seen a good little bit. I haven't watched the full game on them yet. I just see some tendencies and things like that. From what I see right now, they are a pretty good offensive line. Probably one of the best we will face again."
Bowden is all too familiar with what the Tigers have to offer offensively.
"Of course they have great skill," he said. "They have an excellent quarterback and excellent runners. They really have good skill. Then on the offensive line, there are five back. They are a very solid football team."
Many observers feel the game could get into a shootout. If that's the case, then the running game of the Seminoles has to improve greatly. Over the first two games, Florida State is averaging just 23 yards a game on the ground.
However, the Seminoles don't appear to be too concerned with those numbers.
"To be honest, after watching the film, no, I really don't think (we should be worried)," quarterback Drew Weatherford said. "The offensive line blocked well and the backs could make a good read. I just feel like we need to click. We haven't quite clicked yet. It's been tough. We played a really tough game against Miami and I think it really hurt our confidence running the ball and Troy did a really good job of stopping it as well. I feel like we're going to be able to get it done coming up this week."
Injury Bug Also Hurting FSU
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