Thursday's Premium Football Notebook

Freshman linebacker Derek Nicholson – younger brother of senior weakside linebacker A.J. Nicholson – had everyone talking about his game when he was in high school. His strong performance on the gridiron every Friday night earned him a four-star ranking by and more than a handful of scholarship offers from the country's top college programs.

Now as a collegiate middle linebacker, Derek is already making waves in his first season. The Winston Salem, NC native is currently fifth on the team in total tackles despite his reserve role.

"He's very focused, Derek is very focused," linebackers coach Kevin Steele told "He knows that he's not being redshirted now so he doesn't want to waste his year even though he knows that there's older guys that are pretty good players in front of him. He is preparing himself every week as though he is a starter.

While having an older brother – who just so happens to be considered one of the better players at his position in the country – on the team may have its key advantages, Steele says that Derek does things his own way.

"I know it's nice for him to have his brother on the team but Derek is his own person," Steele said. "That's just Derek's make-up."

In addition to the younger Nicholson, freshman Geno Hayes has seen action as well. According to Steele, expect the youngsters to keep receiving playing time.

"All of the young ones can play," Steele said. "We just need to keep working them in there and getting them much needed experience."


Coaches piped simulated crowd noise into Doak Campbell Stadium during practice Thursday evening in preparation for its first road game of the season Saturday at Boston College.

A sellout crowd is expected Saturday night at Alumni Stadium, which has a capacity of 44,500.

"I don't think it's anything we can't handle," tailback Leon Washington said. "It mainly affects the receivers. They have to make sure to run the route that is communicated to them."

Florida State's players, coaches and athletic staff will leave for Boston via charter Friday morning.

"We did well with the noise today, I thought," Weatherford said. "(Against Miami) obviously everyone quieted down a little bit when we got the ball so the biggest thing we will have to adjust to is the continuous noise."

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