Injuries Mount

Florida State has faced depth problems throughout spring practice at several positions – running back, defensive line, and offensive tackle. Tuesday, the problems became more pressing at two of those positions. Freshman tailback Lorenzo Booker suffered a high ankle sprain in Tuesday's half-scrimmage, forcing him to the sideline and leaving FSU without a single scholarship player at the position. Additionally, defensive lineman Brian Ross may have suffered a broken leg.

Florida State has faced depth problems throughout spring practice at several positions – running back, defensive line, and offensive tackle. Tuesday, the problems became more pressing at two of those positions.

Freshman tailback Lorenzo Booker suffered a high ankle sprain in Tuesday's half-scrimmage, forcing him to the sideline and leaving FSU without a single scholarship player at the position.

Sophomore Leon Washington was already sitting out with a sprained knee, and senior starter Greg Jones was out for the duration of spring drills recovering from an ACL tear suffered last season. All three players are expected to be fully healthy by the fall, however, and both Booker and Washington could be ready for the Garnet and Gold game next Saturday.

The situation at defensive tackle is more precarious. FSU was already without a single scholarship tackle, and Tuesday saw top walk-on Brian Ross suffer a serious leg injury. Ross – who head coach Bobby Bowden said the Seminoles had planned to put on scholarship in the fall – was carted off the field with what Bowden thought was a broken leg.

"It's tough," said defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins. "The kid was playing good football. It showed the difference, when he went out. I hate it for Ross. It's killing me on the inside. They say you can separate football and all that – but no. He's one of my kids. I love him."

At offensive tackle, FSU still has only three players: junior Alex Barron and sophomores Ron Lunford and Eric Broe. All three played Tuesday.

BACKUP QB WALKER GETS FIRST ACTION OF SPRING

Junior quarterback Fabian Walker, who had been unable to participate fully in drills, had his first practice action since undergoing shoulder surgery in January. Walker, who was limited by a nagging shoulder injury last season, was rusty in the scrimmage, but did show that his arm strength had returned, lofting a 45-yard touchdown pass to wideout Dominic Robinson on the fly.

If Walker is able to shake off the rust and completely return from his shoulder problems, the Seminoles' depth chart should be more experienced than at any time since Chris Weinke's senior season in 2000. Starter Chris Rix is also a junior, and promising redshirt freshman Wyatt Sexton has made strides in spring drills. Bowden said that the increased experience would prove a benefit to the team.

"The biggest difference I see in this football team – and there's probably a lot of differences, because it's a different team – is the fact that you've got some quarterbacks now that know what they're doing. It's not ‘I wonder if…' They're making some plays, and they know what they're doing – that's the most encouraging thing to me, is going into next season with a better quarterback and better backups."

NOTES

Bowden missed the first half of the scrimmage because he was in Montgomery, Ala., addressing officers at Maxwell Air Force Base … Bowden singled out sophomore linebackers Sam McGrew and A. J. Nicholson for praise after the scrimmage … Sophomore defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley saw his first action of the spring, playing five snaps as a pass rusher.


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