Fullback Torrance Washington and tailback Leon Washington are each sidelined with knee injuries (hyperextended) and won't be available for FSU's first full spring scrimmage Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.
With Greg Jones out following reconstructive knee surgery and Willie Reid's switch from tailback to wide receiver, redshirt freshman Lorenzo Booker will have ample chances with the first unit at tailback. B.J. Dean will work with the first team at fullback. Reserves at each position include Ryan Reynolds and walk-on James Coleman.
"Torrance has a hyperextended knee - he's out. Leon has a hyperextended knee - he's out. It's going to give (Lorenzo) Booker a lot of chances with the ones," Sexton said following Friday's practice.
"B.J. (Dean) has a hurt knee right now, but he's working through it, so he will be working at first fullback. With Torrance out, James Coleman is working with the twos and he has been doing a good job blocking and catching the ball. (He's) making some progress. Ryan Reynolds is a little banged up right but he will get reps at second tailback and there will be some walk-ons working in with the two group. We are a little thin but we are just going to have to get after it."
Sexton said there has been no discussions of moving Reid back to tailback. Sexton said injuries are expected this time of year.
"(That's) not the plan right now," Sexton said. "There's no real bad injuries. There's so much hitting in spring practice that you are going to have this happen. It works on your toughness. You have to develop a little toughness this way."
FSU running backs, especially fullbacks this spring, have been concentrating on pass-catching and blocking. Tailback Nick Maddox was the team's third-leading receiver last season with 19 receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown. Torrance Washington had the fullback's lone catch, going for five yards.
"(That has been a) point of emphasis and those guys are responding well. They are catching the ball," Sexton said.
"(We) didn't do it very much last year but we are doing it this year. They are doing a good job catching the ball and making something happen. This is something we want to put in our offense. And they are showing they can do that. They can catch the ball and run with it. Plus, they are 250 pounds - a little different than a scatback. Most of the time they are on the short side of the field. People have a tendency of giving that to you, so you want to take it."
Sexton also continued to praise the effort of Booker, who redshirted last season but has carried over his impressive practice play and has performed well in the team's previous two half-scrimmages.
"He's making people miss," Sexton said of Booker. "Making long runs. Catches the ball. Smart. Tough. He's a player. We just need to keep grooming him."
Leon Washington, meanwhile, says he expects to return to practice next week.
It's just a precaution. It's one of those things, like if I had a game tomorrow, I'd play," Washington said. "You don't want to injure the thing more seriously. I'll probably be back next week."