Monday's Premium Football Notebook

Sophomore linebacker Lawrence Timmons is in an undesirable spot on the depth chart. Listed second at Will behind Ernie Sims, the hard hitter usually has a tough act to follow when he gets into the game.

The South Carolina native has made the most of it by creating a niche on special teams. Relentless on kick and punt coverages, Timmons has been terrorizing returners so far this season.

"My goal every game is to get close to the ball as much as I can and try to make a play and make something happen," Timmons said. "I always want to have my nose on the ball."

Against Syracuse, Timmons sniffed out two forced fumbles, recovering one of them. He was also credited for five tackles.

"He dominated on special teams this week," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "We always let the team vote on the hardest hit in the ballgame and every week it seems like No. 83 is on the board."

"He's a special player that you guys are going to have to look out for the next couple of seasons," defensive end Kamerion Wimbley said. "He's going to do big things."


On astute message board poster pointed out that Xavier Lee (162) threw for almost as many yards as Syracuse starting quarterback Perry Patterson (189) on Saturday – in just ten attempts.

The obvious reason for that was big plays – a 56-yarder to Chris Davis in the second quarter and a 75-yarder to Kenny O'Neal in the fourth.

"It meant a lot for my confidence to get those two plays under my belt," Lee said. "It kind of took a burden off of my shoulders and gave me a sense of accomplishment. Those two guys made plays for me and it was fun to watch. I owe them one."

Lee and Davis combined for perhaps the most thrilling play of the game. Escaping pressure, Lee stepped up into the pocket and showcase his arm strength by lofting a long ball to Davis, who made full extension on the catch.

"I thought about (running)," Lee said. "It's always fun to make people look crazy chasing after me. But then I got a look at Chris and he made a big play, no doubt about it."

The completion set up an FSU field goal that extended the margin to 17-0.

The long gainer to O'Neal later in the contest set the stage for an 11-yard touchdown run by Lamar Lewis. O'Neal broke free on a crossing pattern and looked destined for the end zone until Syracuse safety Shawn Gregory caught up to the California speedster and forced him out of bounds.

"He told me he had 4.2 speed. He looked like he was about five-flat on that one," Lee joked. "I would have been gone if it were me."


The redshirt freshman also shined on kick returns against the Orange, returning a pair of kickoffs for 64 yards. His 39-yarder was the longest this season for the Seminoles. As referenced, his third-career reception was a memorable one.

"When he got here, you could see this guy who could fly but forgot to take the ball with him," Bowden said. "We told him 'Son, you run before you catch the ball.' And he does. He runs so fast, he's already taken off with the ball back (behind him)."

O'Neal, who redshirted last season because he finally arrived on campus days before the season opener, dropped passes against The Citadel and Boston College. He finally got to showcase his speed against Syracuse.

"That was really the first day he began to produce," Bowden said. I think that's what he needed; you need success to build your confidence. I'm hoping he got enough yesterday because what you saw is what you can potentially get."


Brothers A.J. and Derek Nicholson took the field together for the first time as college teammates in the fourth quarter against the Orange. The tandem combined for the last of FSU's seven sacks.

"It was great," the elder Nicholson said. "I came in with the blitz and tried to get away but Derek was there to finish him off."

Visibly excited, the defense huddles around both to celebrate an otherwise meaningless play late in the blowout.

"It was a neat moment," Andrews said.

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