Just Give 'Em the Ball

While the Seminoles relied almost primarily on a running game that features talented veterans Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker in the season-opening victory against the Hurricanes by choice and relied on the passing game against The Citadel to get the young quarterbacks and receivers much needed experience by choice in game two, the Tribe took to the air against Boston College by necessity in game three.

The Eagles were able to eliminate any threat of an FSU rushing attack by stacking eight or sometimes nine players in the box. With the rushing game ineffective, redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford was forced to go to the air and the successful rest is history.

But while some would naturally begin to worry that the Seminoles will no longer be able to utilize the collective explosiveness of its dynamic rushing duo, that hasn't been the case as both playmakers have grabbed several receptions out of the backfield.

"We really don't care how we get the ball," Booker said. "It's just about taking advantage of our opportunities. Really, it's not because they are not calling enough (rushing) plays but when you go three-and-out it's hard to get the ball. In the Boston College game we went three-and-out and they ate up a lot of clock so we didn't start to get productive until the end. I just think that whatever way we get the ball – especially in space – it doesn't matter whether it be running or receiving."

The fact that Booker (8) and Washington (6) rank third and fifth, respectively, in number of receptions thus far this season is no coincidence.

"I try to look for them in the passing game," Weatherford said. "There are times that I would think about running it but you'd rather get the ball into the hands of those guys. They both have the ability to make special things happen."

The mentality of Weatherford to get the ball into the hands of FSU's stable of gifted athletes in the backfield has been viewed as a welcome change from season's past by Seminole fans, coaches and players alike; just ask Booker.

"It's great, it's much different," Booker said. "He understands that him in the open field and us in the open field…you would rather have us. That's what I was saying at the beginning of the year; he understands that his playmakers are around him and it's much better for us to get in the open field. I think that's going to be one of the things that comes in to factor and gives us more wins this season."

Despite the fact that the Seminole offensive coaches and quarterback will continue to utilize all the players possible in the passing game, generating a successful rushing attack is still vital and will only help FSU's young receivers.

According to Weatherford, expect Washington and Booker – who have a combined 49 rushes for 254 yards – to keep getting handoffs.

"Having two great running backs, you have to keep giving them a chance," Weatherford said. "They'll eventually break one."

"We are going to get (the running game) straightened out as the season goes on," Washington added. "As long as we can keep getting the balls into the playmakers hands, though, we will be fine."


Nole Digest Top Stories