Practice Report

<b>Florida State </b> would love nothing more than to work on its struggling running game Saturday at Duke. However, it appears the Seminoles will again be without tailbacks <b>Leon Washington </b> (elbow) and <b>Lorenzo Booker </b> (ankle/knee). While the pair has participated in selected drills, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday it‘s "highly unlikely" the duo would play against the Blue Devils. Click here for much more, including the reaction of one starter to a practical joke.

Florida State would love nothing more than to work on its struggling running game Saturday at Duke. However, it appears the Seminoles will again be without reserve tailbacks Leon Washington (elbow) and Lorenzo Booker (ankle/knee).

While the pair has participated in selected drills this week, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday it‘s "highly unlikely" the duo would play against the Blue Devils (2-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

The sixth-ranked Seminoles (4-0, 3-0 ACC) are off next weekend before tangling with second-ranked Miami at Doak Campbell Stadium Oct. 11.

"They could play but you would be taking a chance," Bowden said.

"If we get through this week, then we have two more weeks before our next game and they should be 100 percent. Both are running pretty good."

Washington suffered a dislocated right elbow in the season opener at North Carolina, while Booker aggravated his ankle and suffered a knee sprain versus Maryland Sept. 6.

While starter Greg Jones leads the Seminoles in rushing with 186 yards on 45 carries, he has just 39 yards on 23 carries the past two games.

FSU relied primarily on the pass and had just 113 rushing yards on 3.5 yards per carry in last Saturday's 47-7 victory over Colorado. The Blue Devils, who are also suffering through a 26-game losing streak in ACC play, are allowing 210 rushing yards per game.

"We are playing well together and we are very cohesive but the thing we are not really proud of right now is our running game," junior tackle Ray Willis said. "You have guys like Greg Jones and all these great backs we have around here, we want to get them the yards. That's important to us (linemen)."

PLAYING HARD

FSU defensive ends coach Jody Allen can't help but be pleased with his unit.

The group has combined on 41 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and eight of the Seminoles' 18 sacks. FSU is averaging 4.5 sacks per game, nearly twice as many as last season. The Seminoles also already have more sacks this season than they did in 2001 (14).

Kamerion Wimbley, who had seven tackles, including three for losses, broke up a pass, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble against Colorado, leads the group with 15 tackles.

"Collectively, the best thing they are doing is they are playing hard," Allen said.

"You can talk about technique. You can talk about this and that. The main thing they are doing, everyone of those guys when the ball is snapped, they are going full out. The effort has been great. As long as we keep doing that, I think we will eventually get the (play) recognition and the technique and all the little nuisances, we will get worked out."

Is Allen surprised by his unit's production?

"I thought they had a chance to play (like this) and I hoped they would," Allen said.

"We've been fortunate the past couple of weeks, we've had pretty good production. I won't say it's a surprise but, at the same time, I wasn't absolutely certain it was going to happen either."

SOUNDS GREAT

The Charlotte Observe reported that he ACC is having discussions with Notre Dame about becoming the league's 12th member, with concessions to allay the school's concern about giving up its lucrative independent status in football in the near future.

According to the newspaper, ACC Commissioner John Swofford has expressed a willingness to have the Fighting Irish join the ACC as a partial member within the next year or two.

Two options under discussion have Notre Dame becoming a full member in all sports but football, as long as the Fighting Irish:

Schedule a certain number of football games -- at least three each season -- against ACC teams. That would give the ACC the inside track should Notre Dame eventually decide to abandon its football independence. Commit to becoming a full football member within a certain timeframe, most likely within the next decade.

Naturally, Bowden would welcome the Irish with open arms.

"It would be a dream. It would really be a dream come true," Bowden said. "Notre Dame is an attention catcher. They're just the No. 1 name in college football. I'd jump up and down if they did (enter the conference)."

Additionally, the NCAA has reportedly ruled that the ACC can't hold a conference championship game with 11 teams.

"I think it's strictly a financial thing," Bowden said.

"It's a crowd-pleaser, and it's financial. I think a coach – if he's sitting there at 11-0, he hates to play in a dadgum playoff against a team that's 8-2, 8-3, and then get beat. I think coaches would just as soon not have it. But that's just me speaking."

HENSHAW RETURNS

Reserve tight end Matt Henshaw is back in town after undergoing arthroscopy surgery on his left knee Monday in Nashville, Tenn. Henshaw called the procedure "minor" and says he will begin running next Monday.

"I had an MRI taken last Wednesday, and they said that I had a bruise and an impingement on the outside of my knee, and a possible tear in my meniscus," Henshaw said. "But then they did the ‘scope and found out that there was nothing wrong with my meniscus. There was the impingement on my knee, so they cut that out."

BIG SCARE

Team captain Brian Sawyer had a little fun at Greg Jones' expense Tuesday. Sawyer, egged on by a handful of his teammates, hid a rubber snake under Jones' practice jersey.

Jones' reaction?

The big fella holds the world-record in the vertical jump, according to Sawyer.

"He even screamed like a cheerleader," Sawyer said and laughed. "It's amazing a guy that big can jump that high (laughing)."

HURRICANE FEVER

Kicker Xavier Beitia knows what's coming -- the Miami Hurricanes are on the horizon. Beitia, however, says he's not concerned about the ‘Canes at this moment.

"This is a game (Duke) where we need to execute and not take them lightly," Beitia said.

"Beat them the way we are supposed to beat them. We can beat them and look sloppy, or we can beat them and keep that momentum we have going. I think that's our goal, to go out there and keep our momentum going. I would like to get two or three attempts and be a nice tuneup for the big game."

Is the X-man peaking ahead?

"Not really," he said. "I just want to go up to Duke and have a great game, and then I will think about Miami. I am not thinking about Miami this weekend."

INJURY UPDATE

Sophomore A.J. Nicholson will likely make his first career start at WLB in place of injured Kendyll Pope (knee).

"I've been getting more work with the ones. I'm planning on starting right now," Nicholson said. "It's important. I won't lie and say it isn't. When I go to North Carolina, I expect to have a good game. It's important. It's important to me. My family's going to be there, and friends."

Pope says it's unlikely he will start, but he does want to play.

"It's very doubtful," he said.

"I'm looking forward to at least getting out there and playing a series, so I won't have that DNP under my name. I feel – day by day, it feels better and better."

Eric Broe will make his first career start at TG in place of Bobby Meeks (pneumonia). Also, fullback Torrance Washington (knee) said he will redshirt this season.


Nole Digest Top Stories