Thursday's Premium Football Notebook
Niblock playing well
One of the most consistent performers since preseason camp began, starting left tackle Cory Niblock has been working hard to replace former Seminole and first round draft pick Alex Barron. The task may seem quite daunting for a player that was positioned at guard last season in place of an injured Matt Meinrod but for Niblock, the tackle position feels likes home.
"I played tackle the past two springs that I have been here so I am most comfortable there," Niblock said. "During the past two seasons I have worked at guard and at tackle during practices but this year I finally get to stay there (at tackle) and I am enjoying it. It's where I want to be playing."
While the play of the offensive line has been hard to judge at times so far this fall, Niblock is confident that this season Seminole fans will be pleased with the progression of the unit with new offensive line coach Mark McHale calling the shots. His confidence in the line is welcome news after a spring practice period that culminated with a disastrous showing in the annual Garnet and Gold game.
"We had three non scholarship guys starting on the offensive line during that scrimmage," Niblock said. "Nobody could get a true sense of what was really going on because so many guys were out but we are all healthy and we are confident that out hard work and Coach McHale's work is going to pay off."
With the season opener against Miami less than two weeks away, long days of hard work has Niblock and the rest of his position mates ready and raring to go.
"We are definitely mentally prepared for Miami," Niblock said. "We have been practicing twice a day for the last two weeks and we have been having extra meeting times and stuff. I believe that we are all going to be ready to go against them (Miami)."
Injuries frustrate Coach Andrews
With all-America cornerback Antonio Cromartie sidelined for the season with a knee injury, the play of the secondary will be critical to the Noles' success in 2005. For the past few days, however, safety Roger Williams and cornerbacks J.R. Bryant and Trevor Ford have missed practice time with minor injuries, something that has hindered the progress of an already shaky unit.
"The guys who are out there (healthy) are making plays and making progress," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "The guys that have been injured are missing out. Randy (Oravetz) told us the other day in a staff meeting that this guy or that guy is not going be out there and we have to live with it. You don't get better watching, you get better playing and we have to get those guys back out there."
Even with several players missing time, the play of safety Pat Watkins – who had been demoted to the second team early in the fall – has impressed Andrews and as some may already know; that is a difficult task.
"Pat had a great scrimmage Tuesday," Andrews said. "He was very dominating and he made plays and that's all you can ask for."
LORENZO READY TO BOOK RECIEVING YARDS
Tailback Lorenzo Booker's elusiveness and potential as a pass catcher are well-documented. If all goes to plan, the latter will be utlized substantially more than in the past.
"I'm going to catch the ball a lot more this year," Booker said. "I'm excited about that and I'm excited about how were going to do it."
Staple routes for tailbacks in most offenses include flares and screens. Without tipping anyone's hand, Booker said that his responsibilties would go beyond that.
"I didn't just want to catch the ball behind the line. That was something thatI felt we could have worked on a little more in practice (last year) so when they were throwing the ball to me it wouldn't seem so foreign.
"Whether I get the ball first or not, the goal is getting into the secondary."
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