Running Wild

Florida State running back <b>Leon Washington</b> says he's more pleased with the use of the rushing attack the past two games against UAB and Clemson following a dismal start. If either Washington or fellow tailback <b>Lorenzo Booker</b> is able to post high numbers against North Carolina at home on Saturday, they'll reach important marks in their career.

Florida State running back Leon Washington was openly upset about the running game following the season opening 16-10 loss to Miami.

He said that coaches didn't commit to the run enough to give the team its best chance to win.

Since that game, Washington has been busier and so have the rest of the tailbacks. The Seminoles 51 rushing attempts against Clemson were the most since Miami, Oct. 12, 2002. It raised the rushing attempts per game to 44.3, roughly eight attempts higher than last season.

"Me and (Lorenzo) Booker jumped on the coaches after the Miami game," Washington said.

"Just stick with the run and eventually we'll make plays."

They'll break tackles, too.

Washington and Booker have both shown their ability to pick up yards after being hit, or in some cases avoid initial tacklers all together. Booker has lost 24 yards on the ground in his career.

"That's what separates a good running back from a great running back," Washington said. "A great running back makes plays when the holes aren't there," said Washington.

Coach Bobby Bowden expressed some concern with the effectiveness of his ground attack after the first game of the season as well. But Wednesday he said he was pleased with the effort of his tailbacks and the results they've produced against UAB and Clemson.

"It gives you a lift," Bowden said.

"I think our coaches were intent on getting that rushing game going. The two rushers, between them got over 160 yards last week, so that's encouraging," Bowden said.

Washington is 116 yards away from reaching the 1000-yard mark for his career. Booker needs 133 yards to surpass his total from last season. Whether either one gets to that mark this weekend will depend on who is able to take advantage of their chances more effectively.

The pair of backs have been rotating duty under coaches orders in most circumstances. That changes when the Seminoles have a cushion late in the game, at which point Washington and Booker get to decide who goes in.

"Initially we rotate each series, but when the game is out of hand if I score I'm like go in there and get a touchdown. For example, last game I scored and so I let him do the next series. It's one of those things were we are trying to help each other out. We both want to get in the end zone," Washington said.

Getting past the goal line on the ground hasn't been too much of a problem for the Seminoles. Florida State is averaging the most scores (2.3 per game) with the run since 2000. Washington's only complaint, now, is that more of the touchdowns aren't his.

"The fullbacks are getting them," joked Washington.

"They're been doing a great job, but we want to get into the end zone."

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