Football Update

A year ago, Bobby Bowden saw a Florida State team that lacked chemistry due to instability at quarterback. He saw a team that was plagued by bad luck. He saw a team that missed opportunities. What a difference a year makes, as the Seminoles improved in those areas last season. The only bad news heading into spring drills is FSU's health -- the 'Noles could be missing up to eight offensive players due to injury.

Florida State will be without a number of key offensive players during spring drills due to injury.

Let's count the ways.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden will have just four wideouts on scholarship available.

Chris Davis underwent foot surgery in the offseason -- he suffered a stress fracture but played in the Orange Bowl against Miami -- and Willie Reid had screws removed from a previous surgery to repair a broken leg.

Of course, the Seminoles will be without Craphonso Thorpe, who continues to recover from a broken leg suffered against North Carolina State last season, and P.K. Sam, who opted to skip his senior season for the NFL.

The Seminoles also will be without four offensive linemen when spring drills start -- center David Castillo (foot), tackles Ray Willis (shoulder) and Alex Barron (shoulder) and guard Bobby Meeks (shoulder/tonsils).

Guard Matt Meinrod is the only healthy starter along the line.

FSU's backfield also will be without Leon Washington (ankle), leaving only Lorenzo Booker at tailback.

Florida State Athletic Director Dave Hart announced that work will begin as early as next week to rebuild the field at Doak Campbell Stadium.

The estimated cost of $800,000 had already received the approval of the Executive Committee of the FSU athletic board and funding was formally approved Friday by the Executive Board of Seminole Boosters, Inc.

FSU will excavate the entire field area, removing the over 20-year old drainage system along with approximately 18 inches of sand and soil. Two new state-of-the-art gravity drainage systems will be installed in the stadium. One system will be designed to evacuate water coming from the stands and a separate system will process the water falling on the field itself.

The new field will be built to USGA green standards and will be sodded with 419 Tiftway Bermuda grass once the drainage system is in place. FSU is already in the process of removing the current sod and re-planting it at several venues.

FSU has been investigating resolutions to the drainage problem that surfaced last October when steady rain turned the field into a quagmire during the football game against Miami.

The drainage system was examined by experts using robotic cameras which showed the existing pipes were no longer draining the water.

"I am glad we know the problem and can solve it,"said head coach Bobby Bowden. "We've had a great playing surface that drained well for a long time and it's important that we get back to that."

The rebuilding of the field will force the annual spring game scheduled for April 3 to move to Gene Cox Stadium.

Preseason dates
Aug. 8: Entire team reports for evening meal
Aug. 9-13: FSU Team practices once per day
Aug. 14-22: FSU can begin alternating two-a-day and one-a-day practices through Aug. 22
Aug. 15: TENTATIVE Media Day
Aug. 23: First day of class and one-a-day practice only begins
Sept. 6: Season-opener at Miami

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