Thursday's Premium Football Notebook

The No. 8 Florida State Seminoles completed game preparations Thursday with a 15-period practice in shirts and shorts. FSU takes on NC State Saturday in what will be the final home contest of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. but get to Doak Campbell Stadium early as the Seminole seniors are set to be honored before their final game ever in Tallahassee.

FORD BACK JUST IN TIME

Redshirt freshman DB Trevor Ford, who missed the previous four ballgames with a neck and shoulder injury, is slated to be back in the lineup for the Seminoles Saturday.

His return couldn't have come at a better time as FSU will be without the services of their most experienced corner, Gerard Ross, who is out with a knee injury.

Had Ford not been able to go, the Seminole secondary would have consisted of only two healthy players and a battered Tony Carter, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury sustained against the Terrapins last weekend.

"It's not that different because (before the injury) I was pretty active out there in the rotation we had going and at practice (while he was hurt)," Ford said of his return. "Coming back for a game of this amplitude?it's good to come back for something like this."

Sophomore J.R. Bryant, who will start opposite Carter, is the lone sophomore of FSU's young quarter available against the Wolfpack as the three other players are all freshmen.

Ford will back up Bryant on the boundary side while true freshman Michael Ray Garvin will serve as the No. 2 field corner behind Carter.

SMITH NOT JUST FOR RELIEF

With starting tailback Leon Washington (ankle) out for Saturday's game, Lorenzo Booker will get his first start of the season, and, it was assumed, his most action of the year as well.

That may not be the case, however, as freshman Antone Smith is expecting to be used in a rotation much like the one Seminole coaches have employed with the Booker-Washington combination all season long.

"I haven't been told a lot about it, I am just looking forward to it," Smith said of the rotation. "I had a meeting with the running backs coach today and talked about my assignments and everything. We just went over that to make sure I am real sharp on that come Saturday. We don't want a busted play nowhere."

While Booker and Washington both practice with the No. 1 offense throughout the week, the injury to No. 3 has given Smith the opportunity to get his first taste of reps with the ones.

"(It's) not been too much different, just more reps," Smith said. "There are more reps with offense ones and the No. 2 offense. It's a lot more reps. I am learning everything and picking up everything. It's going to come along good, hopefully."

With the most action of his career slated for a game that carries championship game implications, butterflies in the stomach of a true freshman athlete would be considered quite normal.

The confident, yet humble Smith is far from any normal athlete, however.

"I am always calm, it's who I am," Smith said as he was all smiles after practice. "At the beginning of the season I probably wouldn't have wanted this because I wasn't pretty sure of all my assignments but right now I am very sure of my assignment, so I am ready."


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