Wednesday's Premium Football Notebook

The No. 11 Seminoles practiced for 18 periods in full pads Wednesday as this weekend's ACC matchup with Duke draws closer. Freshman wide receiver Fred Rouse – who missed Monday and Tuesday's practice – was back at the field with his teammates. The Tallahassee native has been instructed to not speak to the media until next week while he serves his one game suspension.

INJURY UPDATE

Junior linebacker Ernie Sims was seen wearing a blue non-contact jersey at practice today and it wasn't because coaches were afraid he was going to hurt his fellow teammates.

Instead, the Tallahassee native has been battling with an ailment that has become all too familiar: concussions.

In fact, depending on how the rest of the week plays out, Seminole coaches may elect to rest the bruising tackler for the Duke game.

"Ernie has had several concussions this year, but not bad," coach Bobby Bowden said. "In other words, he could play. But we wouldn't dare play him if it was a risk. I think he's making an improvement and this week he might be questionable."

In addition to Sims, cornerback Trevor Ford is still battling with a pinched nerve while it looks like defensive end Darrell Burston will be ready to go against the Blue Devils.

"Trevor still has not practiced," Bowden said. "I don't think he is ready."

PLAN AT GUARD

Right guard Cornelius Lewis' one-game suspension coupled with the previous loss of RG Matt Meinrod has left the Seminoles relatively thin at that position for Duke on Saturday.

It's also sent offensive line coach Mark McHale to the drawing board to design a back-up plan.

Tackle Ron Lunford will shift behind RG John Frady, who made the move from center to guard after Meinrod was injured in the 41-24 win over Wake Forest on October 8.

Lunford played guard last season, but was relocated to the outside of the line by McHale during spring practice. If anything were to happen to starting LG Jacky Claude, McHale said that Frady would swap positions and Lunford would move up.

Playing the first game at his new position last weekend against Virginia, Frady performed up to McHale's standards.

"He had two pressures on the last series and the next to last series," said McHale. "Other than those two plays, he did pretty good."

GOOD MOVE FOR O'NEAL:

Kenny O'Neal said switching to split end, a move that offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden and he settled upon earlier in the week, will likely result in him seeing more man-to-man, and press coverage.

"I like the short side better," said O'Neal. "Wherever (I'm) put I'm going to see what I can do, but I feel (split end) is a better fit for me."

DUKE'S CHALLENGES:

Small stadium. Seats half-empty. An atmosphere that could lull a raging bull to sleep.

Welcome to Duke.

Although it may be completely juxtaposed to the situation that Florida State faced when it traveled to Virginia, the pacifying ambiance of Wallace Wade Stadium presents its own unique obstacles.

"All you can do is tell them about that, so when they walk up they're not surprised," said Bowden. "I don't think it would make one bit of difference to our kids. Naturally, they rather play before a lot of people."


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