Wednesday's Premium Football Notebook

Missing from the Seminoles' last two ballgames has been senior Leon Washington, who has had to nurse a bum ankle. Thanks to a bye this weekend, Washington (along with the plethora of other injured 'Noles) has the opportunity to gradually get back into the flow of things while recuperating his injury.

As of Wednesday, everything is being taken one step at a time but progress is being made.

"I didn't go all the way with the team today," Washington said. "But tomorrow I expect to be with the team the whole time. Progress is going good right now."

"I feel a lot better," he added. "I'm not on any medication or anything right now. I'm just going on strength of pure heart."

The Tribe will undoubtedly benefit from the on-field skill provided by Washington but it is also his leadership qualities that will be re-welcomed with open arms upon his return.

Also, who better than to have in the lineup than an athlete who has made it a point of performing his best against the Orange and Blue.

"The main thing is leadership," Washington said when questioned about what he brings most to the table. "(Lorenzo) Booker has done a great job running the ball…just basically helping guys keep their composure and make some big plays. I am known as the 'Gator Killer' so hopefully I can get back and help our team."


Q: What's the biggest thing to do after having two disappointing offensive games in a row?

A: It's pretty much just trying to stay focused and don't give up on what we've been doing. Just cause what we have been doing hasn't been going as well, early in the season it was going good. We've just got to work a little harder and get more determined on what we've got to do.

Q: How are all you freshmen handling the recent adversity?

A: It kind of affects me just like it would a senior. I look at it like nothing is promised so I just got to make plays whenever I can because I never know what could happen. Just losing, it's hard but once it's over there's nothing you can do about it. I am looking forward to the next game.

Q: How different are cornerbacks playing you now?

A: Twenty yards off. I call it punt coverage.

Q: Drew (Weatherford) is not getting any time to throw it down the field so how is that affecting you?

A: I mean, it kind of affects me a lot because most deep balls, the quarterback has to take at least five steps. He's kind of not being able to get those five steps and it's making it harder. It kind of affects me just as well because that's kind of what I am know for; the deep ball.

Q: What are the veteran receivers telling you about the game in Gainesville?

A: They just tell us they are going to expect a lot out of us but me, I'm from that area so I've been to a Florida game and I know about the atmosphere. I know how loud it can get.


Offensive line coach Mark McHale's message to his battered group of linemen Wednesday was that they'll get through this trial because there's no other option.

McHale's also starting to run out of options himself.

As injuries continue to mount, McHale is shifting players and looking to walk-ons to fill reserve roles.

With T Cory Niblock out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury he suffered on the final play of Saturday's loss to Clemson, Ron Lunford will move up to the starting left tackle. Lunford has played both guard and tackle in the past and says there a lot of similarities between the two positions.

"It's a big deal, but it's nothing I haven't done before," said Lunford.

McHale's biggest concern, though, is with his back-up center. Redshirt freshman Dumaka Atkins has been battling a groin injury for the past three weeks. If Atkins isn't healthy in time for the game against Florida on Nov. 26, walk-on Cory Brookins will work behind starter David Castillo.

Because of injuries and a lack of depth, healthy offensive linemen aren't getting their accustomed rest.

McHale said he plans to get T Mario Henderson in for a few snaps to help ease the load on Lunford.


Florida State is getting mixed news on the injury front concerning two of its key players.

RB Leon Washington has been able to go on a limited basis at practice this week and should be fine for the Gators.

"Progress is going good," said Washington.

The status of DE Kamerion Wimbley is still uncertain, though Bowden cautioned, "I don't think he'll be (ready)."


Despite a 7-3 record, and growing concern about the team's immediate future, Florida State is right back in a National Title hunt, albeit for a previous championship.

Assistant Police Chief Tom Longo announced Wednesday that the Florida State University Police recovered one of two Waterford Crystal footballs belonging to the 1993 and 1999 National Championships stolen June 23, 2004 from locked cases within the Moore Athletic Center.

"We have recovered one of the missing footballs, and we have one suspect in custody in connection with our ongoing investigation," Longo said. "It is still an open investigation and for that reason we are not going to release any of the details regarding our efforts to recover the second Waterford crystal football."

Florida State has since replaced the stolen trophies. Should the Seminoles recover the other Waterford Crystal, Bowden said he has plans for the extras.

"I guess I'll order two more rings," said Bowden.


A heralded quarterback that was considering joining the Seminoles will be gunning for a current one Friday night in high school playoff action. St. Augustine Nease signal caller Tim Tebow is 360 yards short of breaking Xavier Lee's state record for career passing yards.

Lee says there's no hard feelings.

"Records were made to broken," said Lee, the 2003 Mr. Football and FSU's current backup quarterback. "I wish him the best going after it. My time in high school is over. Right now it's his time ans I hope he's having fun with it."

Lee threw for 9,083 yards and 98 touchdown passes in his career at Daytona Beach Seabreeze.

Tebow - the top-rated quarterback prospect in the nation according to - leads Nease against New Smyrna Beach Friday night in the second round of the 3A State playoffs. The coveted talent will play at either Florida or Alabama at the next level.

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