Monday's Premium Football Notebook

RenegadeReport.com has been catching up with junior linebacker Ernie Sims on a consistent basis the past few weeks. Below is a transcript of the brief but exclusive interview from Monday.

RenegadeReport: You started the game against Duke and played most of the first quarter but sat out the remaining three quarters. Was that just a precautionary move because of the mild concussions you were being limited by at last week's practices?

Ernie Sims: "Well it wasn't really the concussions because I had already sat out for three days during practice. It was kind of the fact that it was Duke and my knee and my ankle were in need of some rest. It was kind of a mixture of all of those factors."

RR: Will you be limited this week in practice in preparation for what should be a physical game against the Terrapins?

ES: "No, not that I know of. I really need the reps in practice because practice makes perfect. You have got to practice to get better."

RR: In your absence against the Blue Devils, Lawrence Timmons got a lot of extra playing time and Geno Hayes was used quite a bit as well. What are your thoughts on the strong play of those two young guys?

ES: "That's the type of thing that you've got to have. When the older guys are out of the game, we need the younger guys to step and play like first teamers and like they are starters. On this defense especially, it's important that everybody be ready to play like because we rotate so much."

RR: You guys lost to the Terrapins last year and it seems that over the course of the last four or so years, FSU has suffered the majority of its losses against teams that were not ranked or heavy underdogs. Is that just a case of teams getting more focused for an opponent the caliber of Florida State or are you guys maybe overlooking them?

ES: "The teams that haven't been winning that much approach their game with Florida State like, "Okay, this is the game that can change our whole season." Every time we play an opponent, they are looking to bring their A-plus-plus game. They feel that beating us is the way to turn their whole season around. I don't think it's the fact that we are overlooking teams but the fact that we are not playing to our full potential. While we are not doing that, those teams are playing to the top of their potential."

LINE CONTINGENCIES

Offensive line coach Mark McHale's heart might have skipped a beat when he saw Ron Lunford laying on the turf in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Duke. FSU can ill afford to lose another lineman.

Turns out "Lucky" Lunford just needed a breather after sprinting downfield to fend off blockers during Antone Smith's 45-yards touchdown run.

"I would have had to check the waiver wires," McHale quipped afterward.

With John Frady out with a shoulder injury and Cornelius Lewis serving a one-game suspension, McHale had to move Lunford – a tackle by trade – into the interior. Right guard Matt Meinrod was lost for the season against Wake Forest.

If the situation arises again, McHale said that right tackle Cory Niblock would return to right guard and Mario Henderson would play on the end.

"That's why I worked these guys they way I did in the spring," McHale said. "But we don't have many more moves we can make."

Dumaka Atkins remains the second-team center behind David Castillo. Behind him is walk-on Phillip Browning.

"We've got one or two moves we can make before we're in trouble," said Bobby Bowden in his weekly conference call.

WEED COMING THROUGH

Though it was meaningless in relation to the outcome of the game, Gary Cisemsia's career-long 49-yard field goal put a smile on Bowden's face.

Cismesia hasn't been needed to kick clutch field goals so far this season. Or kick much at all for that matter. Through seven games, the sophomore is 10-of-13. Cismesia booted five field goals in last year's Duke game alone.

"We have been scoring more touchdowns this year that is why I am not kicking as many field goals," Cismesia said. "I have been warming up just as much on the sidelines and am kicking about the same amount as last year just not as many field goals."

Chip shot misses in close games against Miami and Virginia were somewhat startling given FSU's history with placekickers.

"I don't know if there is anything as frustrating than to drive the ball down in the red zone where you can't score a touchdown and say, ‘let's get out of here with three.' And then miss it. I know that happened three times last year and we lose by three."

"That (49-yarder Saturday)…it was very good that he got that off. I hope it's good for his confidence."

ETC.

With a little help from Virginia Tech, FSU can clinch the Atlantic Division with a win this Saturday against Maryland. VT hosts Boston College on Thursday, whom the Seminoles topped 28-17. Even if FSU slips in one of its final ACC contests against Maryland, N.C. State or Clemson, the Seminoles hold the tie breaker over the Eagles…Maryland starting quarterback Sam Hollenbach is injured. Last year's starter Joel Statham will get the nod Saturday.


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