Practice Report

Florida State free safety <b>B.J. Ward</b> has watched enough film of North Carolina quarterback <b>Darian Durant </b> to be extremely wary. Overall, 19 players who started at least one game last season have returned for the Tar Heels, including the top three rushers and all five primary starters along the line. While players are counting down the days until Saturday's opener, FSU coach Bobby Bowden also can't wait. "I wish we were playing tomorrow," Bowden said. Click here for all the details.

Florida State free safety B.J. Ward has watched enough film of North Carolina quarterback Darian Durant to be extremely wary.

Durant led the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense (285.8 yards per game) last season despite missing four games with a thumb injury, including the Seminoles' 40-14 home victory in November. FSU continued preparations Tuesday for its season-opener at UNC, and Durant remained a hot topic.

Overall, 19 players who started at least one game last season have returned for the Tar Heels, including the top three rushers and all five primary starters along the line.

"He kind of reminds me of a smaller Donavan McNabb (Philadelphia QB), Ward said.

He's going to keep you on your toes. You can't sneak back too far or he will run on you. But you can't play the run too much because then he will go deep on you. You have to be ready for anything with him."

Like his players, FSU coach Bobby Bowden is counting down the days until Saturday's regular-season opener.

"I wish we were playing tomorrow. It's time to play," Bowden said. "We've done everything you can do. We are still polishing. We will continue to do that. I would just soon play tomorrow."

NO DROPS:

FSU's receivers were plagued by drops last season (35 overall). Bowden is hopeful this year's group isn't plagued by butter fingers.

"There's nothing more frustrating than trying to throw the ball, get a guy open and he drops it. It's just an intricate part of our offense," Bowden said.

"Catching the ball needs to be sure as a hand-off. I hand the ball off to the runner, no problem. I throw it to this guy. No problem. But if you don't it, just like a fumble. It seems like it's getting better though. They (receivers) caught the ball better today."

NO FEAR:

Greg Jones, who is still trying to recover from knee surgery, will likely start against the Tar Heels but will receive limited snaps. Leon Washington is slightly hobbled by a thigh bruise. Lorenzo Booker, meanwhile, got the bulk of snaps with the first-team offense Tuesday.

"It's just according to what Greg can take in that game," Bowden said.

"We'll get a feel on him about how much stamina he's got and if there's any doubt or anything in there. If not, I'm not afraid to go with Washington or Booker."

LINE TROUBLE:

Bowden's main concern along the offensive line continues to be tight guard. Starter Bobby Meeks has struggled with asthma and did not finish Tuesday‘s practice in shells. Also, Eric Broe continues to recover from an injured kneecap.

GREEN LIGHT:

Reserve center Matt Heinz was cleared by team physicians last week to begin his rehabilitation from back surgery.

"The main thing is I have to keep my back straight," said Heinz, who watched Tuesday's practice.

"I am basically doing some light lifting, trying to get back into it. I want to be patient with it. Just take it as it comes. If my rehab is going well, I will move it up. If it's going slow, I will slow it down."

Heinz plans to attend this weekend's game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Younger brother Roger is a true freshman quarterback with the Tar Heels.

HIGHLIGHTS

The offense hit a couple big plays in pass skeleton, according to FSU's Sports Information Office. Fabian Walker connected with Paul Irons for a 30-yard gain and then hit Dominic Robinson for 40 yards.

Chris Rix completed a 20-yard out to Craphonso Thorpe and Walker finished things up with a 35-yard completion to Joey Kaleikini. Leroy Smith had a pass break-up for the defense.

In 11-on-11, Wyatt Sexton and Kaleikini connected on a 15-yard pass play and Walker hit Robinson for 40 yards. Clifton Dickson and Kamerion Wimbley combined on a sack. The No. 1 and No. 2 offense failed to score in one-minute offense at the end of practice.


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