Helping Hand

FSU's offensive line remains the team's biggest question mark heading into practice next week. Suddenly, center has emerged as the biggest concern. Well, help could be on the way. Long snapper Brian Sawyer has been asked to learn the center position. Ironically, Brian's father, Bill, also was a long snapper and center for the Seminoles from 1974-76. How does Brian feel about the move? "I am so jacked," Sawyer told TheTerritory Monday. "I am ready. Finally, I get a playbook (laughing)."

With his blessing, Ron Sellers' jersey No. 34 has been brought out of retirement this season for incoming freshman Ernie Sims. Sims, of course, was considered the nation's top prep recruit and cornerstone of Florida State's recruiting class.

A laughing Brian Sawyer wonders if Ron Simmons wouldn't mind if his famed No. 50 jersey was brought out of retirement for one season. You see, Sawyer's father, Bill, wore No. 50 at FSU from 1974-76. Bill was both a deep snapper and center for the Seminoles.

Brian Sawyer begins his fourth consecutive season as the Seminoles' deep snapper. He has executed 413 consecutive snaps -- 181 punts, 166 extra points and 66 field goals. But here's the twist:

Brian may very well add center to his FSU resume, just like Dad.

The Seminoles' offensive line remains the team's biggest question mark heading into the start of practice next week, and center has suddenly emerged as the biggest concern.

Junior starter David Casitillo is fine despite a history of ailments -- he missed his entire redshirt freshman season to injuries and, along the way, has suffered torn cartilage and a chipped kneecap in his right leg, a broken thumb on his left hand, ruptured tendons in two fingers and shattered palm plates in his left hand.

FSU's s depth at center is extremely suspect following last week's news that backup Matt Heinz must have surgery Friday for a pair of herniated discs. Heinz's recovery could be anywhere from six to eight weeks to potentially career-ending.

Redshirt sophomore Andrew Henry-Kennon is also listed on the depth chart at center but he has skipped a majority of the Seminoles' conditioning sessions due to work. Incoming freshman John Frady is considered a viable candidate for playing time but he must learn the system.

Say hello to Brian Sawyer, long snapper and Seminole center.

Just like Dad.

"I am so jacked," Sawyer told TheTerritory Monday. "I am ready. Finally, I get a playbook (laughing)."

Sawyer received a telephone call from assistant coach John Lilly last Friday, wondering if Sawyer would be interested in helping out at center. Sawyer's first telephone call went to his father.

"I called and told my dad and he was jacked, too," Sawyer said.

"You know he played center and long snapper here for four years. He wore No. 50 before Ron Simmons did. He said, "Do you think you can put 50 on?' I told him, ‘Yeah, I will give Ron a call see if he will let me take it out of retirement." Hey, I am ready to go to work. This is my last year and if they need me, I am ready.

"I am tired of standing over there (on sideline) kicking dirt."

Sawyer, who wears jersey No. 89 for the record, earned the starting deep snapper job vacated by four-year starter Clay Ingram in 2000. He also earned a scholarship prior to his redshirt freshman season after joining the team as a walk-on from Crisp County High School in Cordele, Ga. Sawyer played both tight end and defensive end and also earned varsity letters in basketball and golf.

"I don't think I've hit anybody since high school," Sawyer said and laughed. "I am there (at center) if they need me. I want to give it a try. I think it would be fun."


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