Freshmen Domination

One thing is for sure about the 2005 Florida State football team. The abundance of talented youth dotting the roster is downright scary – particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

While players like linebackers Derek Nicholson and Lawrence Timmons and the plethora of young guns on the defensive line have shed some light on what the positive future of Mickey Andrews' unit looks like, it has been the guys on the other side of the ball that have coaches and fans giddy with lofty expectations.

And it's not just redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford – who currently leads all freshman signal callers nationally with 1,878 total passing yards – who has turned heads as wide receiver Greg Carr deserves his own recognition.

After nabbing six catches for 95 yards and three scores Saturday, the Reddick native trails only Warrick Dunn for the FSU record for scores by a freshman. Carr now has eight while the current Atlanta Falcon posted 10 in 1993.

The 6-foot-6 athlete has made the art of the jump ball a thing of beauty, just ask his fellow classmate.

"Greg is a playmaker," freshman wide receiver Rod Owens said. "Anytime that ball goes up, you never know what's going to happen but with him, nine times out of ten he's going to come down with the ball."

"Greg Carr's been doing it all year," coach Bobby Bowden added with a laugh after the game.

But while Weatherford and Carr are now on the verge of breaking records through their respective season-long strong performances, guys like Owens and true freshman tailback Antone Smith have just shown flashes in limited action this season.

Saturday, Smith gave the nation a whole clip of highlights while Owens made the Sportscenter reels after turning what looked to be a minimal gain into a 26-yard pitch and catch from Weatherford after shaking two defenders.

The drive in which Owens made the special play, was capped by a one-yard Smith touchdown scamper and featured all of its positive plays being made by true freshmen.

"In order to prove yourself, you've got to get on the field," Owens said. "If you don't get on the field, nobody's going to be able to tell what you can do for the team. You can go out there and do it in practice but it means something completely different to do it in a game."

And getting on the field is something that the shifty yet powerful Smith did.

A highly touted runner out of high school last year, Smith had yet to see significant action this season and entered Saturday's ballgame with just 14 touches for 54 yards and one score in three games.

Seven runs for 76 yards and two scores later, the 5-foot-9 speedster was the Tribe's leading rusher against the Blue Devils after FSU's dynamic veteran duo of Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker struggled to get anything going on the ground.

"We were determined to get (Antone) in the game," Bowden said. "I didn't think that our other tailbacks were running very well. I felt like they were dancing too much and trying to pick their way through the line too much. We were determined to get him in the ballgame more and we felt like we would be able to tonight and he responded.

"Antone, it's the first time he has seen action in an ACC ballgame and he showed you tonight why we signed him last year."

With contributions from redshirt freshman quarterback Xavier Lee (10-of-17 for 100 yards and three runs for 42 yards) and true freshman wide receiver Richard Goodman (two catches for 11 yards), the offense appears to be good to go for years to come.

"I think this is one of the best freshman classes to come through here," Smith said. "One of these years we are going to win a national championship."


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