Thursday's Premium Football Notebook

Preparing to enjoy the benefits of a bye-week, the Seminoles practiced for the final time before having Friday through Monday off. Unfortunately, mother nature didn't allow any enjoyment as the players were forced indoors Thursday afternoon after just nine periods.


Senior wide receiver Willie Reid – who has missed the past two ballgames with a knee injury – is expected to be good-to-go for the Seminoles when the Syracuse Orange come to town October 1st.

In Reid's absence, De'Cody Fagg has filled in brilliantly at the starting wide receiver spot opposite Chris Davis. At Reid's other position, however, the verdict is still out as freshman Fred Rouse has been both electrifying and troublesome at the punt return position.

According to defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, who also oversees the punt return game, expect Reid to step back into the starting role of when he returns.

"Willie is our punt returner when he gets well," Andrews said. "I mean the guy broke Deion's school record. I don't think he's third team just because he got hurt. Fred is kind of like a balloon. You turn it loose in the air and it goes everywhere. We kind of like a little more structure in our returns. He doesn't fair catch one where he has a helmet go through his backbone. Then he fair catches one where there wasn't a guy within 20 yards of him. He's still learning. He's very talented. Leon is talented. But so is Willie. I'll be happy to get him back."


Fifth-year senior rover Kyler Hall is used to being on the field for the Seminoles.

Against Boston College last Saturday though, Hall had to simply get used to being on the turf of Memorial Stadium for so long. The Live Oak native wound up taking part in 90 plays by game's end.

"I was more tired in the first half than in the second half," Hall said. "When A.J. (Nicholson) got the (first interception that he returned for a touchdown) I ran down there like a crazy person. I was tired and we had to go back out. They had a long drive that next series so I really couldn't get my legs underneath me until the second half."


A mere afterthought on the national scene to begin the season, youthful Florida State is beginning to catch some notice with a 3-0 start that includes a pair of victories over ranked foes Miami and Boston College.

After starting out at No. 14 in the Associated Press poll, the Seminoles are up to No. 6 in the AP rankings and No. 7 in the USA Today coaches poll.

There's chance that FSU could move closer to the top spot with No. 3 LSU (Tennessee) and No. 4 Virginia Tech (Georgia Tech) each facing considerable tests over the weekend. No. 1 USC (at Oregon) and No. 5 Florida (at Kentucky) are also in action; No. 2 Texas is idle.

"It makes you excited about what's happening. We're trying to get mystique back," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

"I've talked to my kids about it. People say - and rightfully so - that Florida State has lost their mystique. Whatever that is, I'd like to get it back and that requires winning. So what do these young guys mean? It might mean you're getting that quality back that helped you dominate during the '90s."

The young guys that Bowden refers to are the 39 freshmen in his roster. Bowden said he can't recall ever using so many underclassmen in prominent roles.

"The only thing you worry about is inconsistency," Bowden said. "So far we've taken a chance that they wouldn't freeze. Some have and some haven't."

Bowden's veterans say they're not surprised by the unexpected success.

"I said the same thing over the summer," tailback Leon Washington said. "Once we get out there and play, people will be shocked. It's almost like a storybook (scenario) with all the guys we lost this summer.

"We're enjoying it right now. The main thing we can do is not get content or satisfied. There's a lot we can improve on. By the end of the season we can be pretty darn good."

Butkus Award candidate A.J. Nicholson agrees.

"We never saw ourselves as the No. 14 team. We saw ourselves as the No. 1 team," he said. "The game is not is not played in the newspaper or by what he says or she says. You have to go out there every play and play with heart and we've done that."


Another game, another tough team from the Northeast.

Washington said that he's expecting next Saturday's contest opposite Syracuse to mirror the BC game.

"They have a different kind of athlete up there…big and physical," he said. "I would imagine that it's going to be the same way with Syracuse. It'll be a hard fought game again."

Washington said that he and Lorenzo Booker are going to tinker a little with their running styles that they'll be more prepared to attack a bigger defense this time around.

"Those lineman make a little difficult on our zone running scheme because they are not as fast," he said. "We tended to overjump our zone (against BC). You have to slow your tempo down. The outside runs we are kind of struggling put we have had some good runs up the middle. It'll come."

Considered an all-America candidate entering the season by some, Washington is ready for the time when opposing defenses start to respect the passing attack and back some men out of the box.

"Hopefully it's getting close to that because I'm ready to start running the ball again. It's seems like forever since I was running. I haven't run for 100 yards yet this season."


"That was a beautiful sign. Some of the most successful teams we've had around here were teams that did something like that. That was a good sign" – Bowden on the goal line stand against BC

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