Scaling Back

Under normal circumstances, Tuesday is Florida State's most intense practice. The Seminoles install their gameplan and stress full-contact and conditioning. Not this week. Injury concerns have forced FSU to scale back in preparation for Saturday's game at Syracuse. The team worked in shorts and had only light contact on Tuesday.

Florida State offensive lineman Cory Niblock is one of the Seminoles' wounded.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Niblock winced slighlty when explaining -- and displaying -- how his right shoulder reacts when he locks his arms during pass blocking.

"It slips in and out of place -- it ain't fun," Niblock said. "I am just trying to do what I can right now because I don't have a choice."

Niblock expects to have surgery at season's end to correct the problem. However, at the moment, his shoulder is not a concern as Florida State continues preparation for Saturday's road agme at Syracuse.

Niblock uses a strap to keep his shoulder down and in place when playing and practicing.

He has earned high marks from coaches and teammates alike for his toughness and solid play since taking over for the injured Matt Meinrod, who is lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL against Miami.

"There's not much anyone can do about my shoulder right now but tie it down, so I am going to keep on going," Niblock said. "It's called a sublex. It slides out and in by itself."

FSU coach Bobby Bowden elected to practice in shirts and shorts on Tuesday due to his team's injury concerns.

"We've just got so darn many of them limping,'' Bowden said.

"It scares you. You keep your fingers crossed and hope somebody else doesn't get hurt.''

Making matters worse, the Seminoles do not have an open date. In fact, they'll be forced to play two games in five days in early November -- Duke at home on Nov. 6, then a Thursday night game at North Carolina State.

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