Moving Forward

Florida State's offensive line received a boost on Tuesday when starters <b>David Castillo</b> and <b>Bobby Meeks</b> returned to practice. Still hurting from their emotional defeat at Miami, the Seminoles are looking to vent their frustrations in Saturday's home opener against a talented Alabama-Birmingham squad that buried Baylor in its season opener two weeks ago.

Florida State's offensive line didn't earn rave reviews for its season-opening performance at Miami last Friday.

To be fair, however, the Seminoles were without a pair of starters -- center David Castillo and guard Bobby Meeks -- and starting guard Matt Meinrod was injured in the third quarter and lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Additionally, FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said a pair of interior linemen graded at 65 percent, far below what is expected from quality players.

FSU finally received some good news on Tuesday, when Castillo and Meeks returned to practice. There is a chance the pair could return to the starting lineup for Saturday's home-opener against a talented Alabama-Birmingham team.

"I feel pretty good. I am a little out of shape but that will come with more running this week," said Meeks, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain.

If Meeks does return, he would replace Ronnie Lunford, while Castillo would step in for John Frady.

"I feel pretty good though," Meeks said.

"I am just getting all the reps I can. The ankle feels good. It's a lot stronger now. This is the best I have felt since the ankle injury. I worked hard all summer and this is all I wanted and now I have to take advantage of it."

Sophomore Corey Niblock, who stepped in for an injured Meinrod against the Hurricanes and played well, will make his first career start against the Blazers.

He played in all 13 games last season as a redshirt freshman, backing up Meinrod. He began the year as a reserve tackle before moving to guard.

"I thought I did well considering I was sitting around until the third quarter when Meinrod went down," Niblock said.

"It's tough to go in the game in that kind of situation, but I didn't think I did too bad. I am going to have to be more focused and be ready from the get go. I am definitely looking forward to it since it will be my first start and it will be at home."

FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden, meanwhile, remains confident in the Seminoles' playbook. And, like the ol' saying goes, it all start up front in the trenches.

"That was a big question that Coach (Bobby) Bowden brought up but some of this stuff to me is window dressing, a little bit of the formation stuff, because we are still running the same plays out of them and it still comes down to guys locking up on blocks," Bowden said.

"I have confidence in what we are doing and I am not going to abandon everything we are doing.

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