A Warrior

<b> David Castillo</b> doesn't understand the fuss. He doesn't consider himself courageous. He doesn't consider himself special. He doesn't consider himself tough. He's a football player who wants to play each Saturday for the Florida State Seminoles. Hand him a roll(s) of athletic tape, aspirin and a custom-made boot for his injured foot and, presto, Castillo is as good as new. Or as new as he can be under the circumstances.

"The bottom line is I want to play," a smiling Castillo told TheTerritory.

"I joke with coach Bowden and with (trainer) Randy Oravetz and I tell them I took all my comp time during my first couple of years with all the surgeries. There were guys in front of me and they really didn't need me. But I don't want to let my teammates down, this university down. They've been real patient with my injuries and I want to be out there for this team."

Castillo, the Seminoles' starting center, has been plagued by various hurts this season, including a "really messed up" right foot, as he tells it. Castillo re-injured his foot against Miami and wasn't expected to play at Virginia last Saturday.

In fact, true freshman John Frady took most of the snaps during practice and appeared poised for his first career start.

Irritated by the prospect of not playing, Castillo had other ideas.

He visited a specialist at the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, which designed a new-wave boot for his foot. The boot contains a carbon metal shank that basically keeps his foot in place and won't allow him to push off with his toes.

While dancing might be out of the question, lining up at his position was not.

"I've had metal in my shoe but it had been real thin," Castillo said.

"Plus, Randy had taped my foot a certain way. It worked for awhile, but my footing finally gave out against Miami with that wet ground. I went out to get one of the linebackers and he kind of threw me a little bit. I got up on my toe and my foot popped real bad, and it was down hill.

"Once I got this, my foot feels stronger than before I hurt it. I can't bend it. It's kind of a false strength but, at the same time, I am grateful it's working."

Castillo felt so good that, while he didn't start against the Cavs, he played most of the game without any pain.

"Watching my teammates fight their guts out in that second half against Miami really inspired me," Castillo said.

"Not being out there and watching them, that inspired me. I don't ever want to give up on my teammates or coaches. I am going to do everything I can to be out there."

Bobby Bowden is certainly impressed by Castillo's efforts, citing his -- sorry Dave -- toughness.

"He really is. There's no doubt about it," Bowden said.

"Some kids can stand pain, and some kids cannot handle it. They're out. I'll bet you – I'm not going to say half, but I'll bet you a third of the guys who are missing ain't hurt as bad as he is, and he's playing. Shows you his attitude"

FSU, meanwhile, has a few other injury concerns along the line. Tackle Alex Barron was held out of drills Tuesday as he recovers from an ankle sprain. It's not considered serious and Barron should be fine for Saturday's home game against Wake Forest.

"It's all right. I worked on the side," Barron said following Tuesday's practice.

"I didn't do any one-on-one stuff. They just rested me. I'll be all right."

Additionally, guard Bobby Meeks continues to recover from a separated right shoulder. Meeks hopes to be ready for the Demon Deacons. Bowden said Tuesday Ron Lunford will continue as the Seminoles' starter.

"I am looking to get back this weekend. I am trying to deal with all these problems I have (smiling)," Meeks said.

"But my shoulder is feeling better. I am taking it day-by-day, but I am hoping nothing else happens. My tonsils are still swollen and it's still hard to eat, but my breathing is getting a little better. I am just trying to work on the shoulder right now. I just want to make it to the end of the season, and that's when they can put me all back together (laughing)."

Said Bowden: "Lunford's your first-team guard right now, even if Meeks came back. We can use Meeks as a backup, until we can find out he's full-blow. There's no sense in going out there with a guy that might go down the third play, or the fifth play, or the sixth play, which he has. We're just going to go ahead and go with Lunford, and let Meeks work his way back in there until he's fully ready to go."

Nole Digest Top Stories