Hello Tommy

Florida State back-up quarterback Tommy Keane, a product of Miami's Archbishop Carroll High, may have to step into the back-up role against Syracuse if QB Drew Weatherford is unable to fully recover from an ankle sprain suffered against UNC. Keane saw his first action this past Saturday, and has been busier than usual in practice, taking extra reps this week.

Florida State back-up quarterback Tommy Keane always felt that he could play at a level with some of the top college football programs in the country. But even he was a little surprised when he got his number called in the final minutes against North Carolina, Saturday.

"Going into the game I kind of thought maybe I would. Weatherford was going get in and then I figured I would probably get a little bit after," Keane said following Tuesday's practice.

"It was a true blessing I can tell you that."

And it may not be over yet this season for Keane. Since practice began this week, Keane has seen a number of reps in the back-up quarterback position as a safeguard for the upcoming match-up against Syracuse in the event that QB Drew Weatherford remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Coach Bobby Bowden has said that the team should know Wednesday if Weatherford will be given the green light for this weekend.

Coaches would prefer that Keane play in the reserve role behind Sexton instead of freshmen QB Xavier Lee so that Lee can maintain his redshirt status. Bowden is especially adamant that Lee be given the extra year to learn the system.

Keane, 20 , came out of Miami's Archbishop Carroll High relatively under the radar. His team ran out of the I-formation with the bulk of the work placed on the shoulders of running back Bobby Washington.

As a result, Keane didn't get much attention from college scouts, adding, " I didn't have a big high school career and didn't have anybody around me.

"There were a lot of Division I-AA teams looking at me, the only Division I-A I had was Alabama. I had a preferred walk-on there and was going to be a given an opportunity to scholarship if I battled it out, decided to go to FAU, red shirted there," Keane said.

In the summer following his freshmen year at FAU Keane made a call to quarterback Coach Daryl Dickey to ask if he could get a chance to walk-on at Florida State.

"I contacted Coach Dickey and he invited me over for two-a-days," Keane said.

Keane then came on the team during the spring of 2004, and worked with the team throughout the summer attending most of the voluntary conditioning sessions. He stayed with FSU in the fall, practicing with the scout squad.

Then, against UNC, the time he was waiting for finally came.

"I just needed a good opportunity," said Keane. "I always thought I could play at this level."

Although the crowd chanted for coaches to give Keane a chance to show off his arm, the calls were limited to running plays. Still, Keane enjoyed the experience.

"It's been amazing," Keane said.

Keane hopes that the chance he got Saturday won't be his last, but getting this far has meant a lot to him. He goes as far to say that this playing in the garnet and gold feels like destiny.

"Later in life I don't want to regret not doing anything," Keane said. "I've been a Seminoles fan since I grew up. Hated the Hurricanes since I was born."

Nole Digest Top Stories