Eligwe to Play
For the first time this season Florida State will have linebacker Ukeme Eligwe available. Eligwe sustained a lisfranc injury in the spring as he was battling for one of the starting linebacker spots. Head coach Jimbo Fisher had initially said that Eligwe could be back by the Clemson game, but judged that Eligwe wasn’t in game shape just yet. Fisher was really pleased with the way he practiced this week.
“He looked really good,” Fisher said. “I was very pleased. He was flying around. He’s athletic. I’m anxious to see him get on the field. I really am. On special teams and on defense. He ought to be ready to go. He’s practiced hard for a couple weeks now, and we’ll play it by ear during the game. We’d like to get him 20-40 snaps.”
Eligwe returning means that the Florida State linebacking corps is almost back to full strength. Next on the list is Mathew Thomas, who has said he will be back for the Florida State-Notre Dame game.
Corners Finally Healthy
At the beginning of fall camp both of Florida State’s starting corners, P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, went down with hamstring injuries. Since then neither has been fully healthy. Fisher believes that both of them are back to that point now.
“They were never a hundred percent,” Fisher said “This is the first week I’ve seen them really flying around with a quickness. I mean they were good, but they weren’t fully to where they needed to be and I can see a difference in them right now. Those pulled hamstrings don’t just heal up quickly, but they look healed now.”
Getting both of them back to full health will be a big help to the defense as both Williams and Darby were rated in the top five of draft eligible corners by ESPN with Williams being ranked first. The Seminole defense is currently ranked 61st in the nation giving up 235 passing yards per game.
The Marios are back.
Florida State will get a big boost on the defensive line this week as star defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will return from a concussion. Edwards Jr. missed the second half of the Clemson game and all of the NC State game with the head injury. With his return Florida State is getting back their best defensive end and arguably the best player on defense.
Running back Mario Pender will also return from a concussion he sustained in the Clemson game. He wasn’t as missed as Edwards Jr. was with Karlos Williams rushing for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns, and true freshman Dalvin Cook adding 45 yards and a touchdown as well. Still, Pender brings a different dynamic to the backfield than Karlos and has been in the program longer than Cook. If Florida State can keep the running game going from last week all three will continue to have big impacts.
Florida State will be without true freshman safety Trey Marshall this weekend. Marshall suffered a concussion in the NC State game on special teams. Starting defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell is questionable with a knee injury. Colin Blake, Delvin Purifoy, and Nile Lawrence-Stample are all out for the year.
On a side note, the player who NC State head coach Dave Doeren accused of "walking off the field as slow as humanly possible," Derrick Mitchell, is likely out for this weeks game.