Seminoles hope to pick up the pieces

If Florida State ever needed a bye, it's this week. Not only do the Seminoles have injuries to deal with and a running game to rediscover, but the arrest of Greg Reid has a chance to become a distraction.

Florida State's open date this week couldn't come at a better time for the battered and bruised Seminoles, who need the extra time to get healthy and find answers to help fix a nonexistent running game.

However, the week began with return specialist and starting cornerback Greg Reid being arrested early Monday by Tallahassee police and charged with resisting arrest and perjury. Coach Jimbo Fisher was out of town Monday, and school officials did not immediately comment on Reid's arrest.

Fisher has plenty of other headaches, including trying to get the Seminoles (2-2) back in sync after successive losses to Oklahoma and Clemson dropped them from fifth to No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25.

''I'm not happy where we're at,'' Fisher said in a taped interview played on WNLS Monday afternoon. ''I thought we'd be better.''

And probably healthier, too.

Quarterback E.J. Manuel is nursing a separated left shoulder and his return remains uncertain, although backup Clint Trickett's sparkling effort in relief has been a pleasant surprise for the Seminoles.

Trickett is the ACC's highest-rated quarterback, ranking fourth nationally in passing efficiency. Young receivers Rashad Greene and Christian Green have sparked an offense that averages 34.8 points and 407.5 yards despite a moribund running game that sputtered in wins over ULM and Charleston Southern.

''We still have to be able to run the football to keep the pressure off the quarterback,'' Fisher said.

The Seminoles are dead last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing, and their leading rusher, junior tailback Chris Thompson, has just 81 yards on 28 carries -- all season.

A big reason for the absentee ground game is up front, where the Seminoles had to replace four-year starter Ryan McMahon at center and All-American guard Rodney Hudson. Senior guard David Spurlock, who missed several games a year ago because of concussion symptoms, suffered a leg injury at Clemson to compound the issues for the all-important offensive line.

''You've got to be good up the middle,'' linebackers coach Greg Hudson told 100 or so attending Monday's boosters luncheon as a stand-in for Fisher.

Although several veteran receivers have missed much of the early going, a handful of fresh faces have filled in more than adequately. Greene is averaging 21 yards a catch and has five touchdowns, while junior Rodney Smith is right behind with an 18.1 average and two TDs. Green, a redshirt freshman, is averaging 15.6 yards per reception.

Fisher was optimistic about the Seminoles' shortcomings a third of the way into the season.

''We can fix it,'' he said. ''We can go play some good football and still have a great year.''

If nothing else, a favorable schedule should help the Seminoles improve. They'll likely be clear favorites in their next seven games but still need help to climb past Clemson for a shot at the ACC title game in December.

The Seminoles return to action Oct. 8 at Wake Forest.


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