Buster Gets the Call

Middle linebacker Buster Davis' play on the field has earned him his first career start when Florida State hosts Alabama-Birmingham Saturday.

br>On the practice field, that is.

The former prep all-American and Mainland standout's raw talents and nose for the ball were on display against in FSU's 16-10 loss to Miami. Davis racked up a career-high seven tackles (two for loss), a pass breakup and was constantly harassing UM quarterback Brock Berlin into making harried decisions.

To cap one crucial series, Davis stormed the backfield and forced Berlin to throw a fourth-and-11 pass in the dirt, two yards short of tight end Kevin Everett.

"Obviously to anybody who saw that game, the guy can play," linebackers coach Kevin Steele said. "What we've been trying to do is get him to practice like you saw him play. That's been the process for a year and a half now. He has finally done that, and that paid great dividends for him in that game."

Davis – now a redshirt sophomore - slogged through his first year on campus, missing both practices and meetings, gaining the ire of defensive coaches.

But his revived effort - combined with his distinct linebacking skills - has brought him to the forefront of the Seminoles' defense. At 5-11', 235 pounds, Davis is thick enough to stuff the run but also boasts the agility to be effective in coverage and get around blockers on blitzes.

"I think I bring a little flavor to the position," he said. "I'm not a typical middle linebacker. It's just something I do."

Though Davis will have his name listed first on the flip card against the Blazers for the first time in his career, he realizes his job will still be done by committee. Senior Sam McGrew, who started against the Hurricanes will get his share of the action.

"It really doesn't matter who plays the first play," Davis said. "They are giving me a great opportunity – to be a starter. One game being named that doesn't make a season. We have 10 more games."

McGrew picked up three tackles last week though Davis received most of the action. Steele has rotated his linebackers at the other two positions early and often, as well.

But when a clutch situation arose, Davis answered the call.

"Buster has got a unique ability to be a big-play player," FSU head coach Bobby Bowden said. "It's an instinct or something there and I think that we'll see a lot more of him in that area."

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