Running Back Roundtable

When spring practices began for the Florida State football team, one of the things Coach Bowden wanted to focus on was the improvement of the running game. When Lorenzo Booker decided to return for his senior season, it was a decision that would have a positive effect on the younger backs.

Booker struggled at times last season partly due to an offensive line depleted by injuries. With highly recruited newcomers Russell Ball joining the team and the return of Antone Smith and Jamaal Edwards, the Seminoles have reasons to be excited about the future. Renegade finds out the latest on the running back situation from the people who would know best.

Head Coach Bobby Bowden

Q: How has the running game been coming along?

A: "It is coming. We are making progress there is no doubt about it." Bowden said. "Sometimes I wish we could just run the ball every down just to see what we can do. All the backs have been doing some good things. It has been encouraging. We have gotten some good work there and have stayed healthy."

Q: After seeing how the backs have performed, especially with Antone Smith, have you been reassured that you will have a good core unit for the season?

A: "Antone is doing as good as I had hoped. Booker is doing as well as I hoped. (Jamaal) Edwards gives us more of a power runner. (Russell) Ball has been the surprise to me because I see some talent there. If he stays healthy, he can wiggle. He is tougher than I thought because he has been taking some pretty good hits. (Pat) Davis is a walk on and he is just as tough as they get."

Running Backs Coach Billy Sexton

Q: How do you feel about how the backs have played so far this spring?

A: "There have been some big plays by the backs this spring." Sexton said. "Antoine has really broken out and is averaging 8-yards a carry and Booker is averaging around 6- yards a carry. I think the offensive line has done a really nice job with the tight end creating some holes. I am not completely satisfied with their performance but it is nice to break one every scrimmage."

Q: What kind of affect has Lorenzo Booker returning for his senior season had on the younger running backs?

A: "He (Booker) is not only performing well in spring, but he gives a lot of insight to those guys about what we are doing. He is a very mature guy and he helps them a lot on the reads and the pass protection."

Lorenzo Booker

Q: As the lone senior running back what have you been trying to teach the younger players?

A: "You have to hold your own weight and obviously it is a team sport but there is a little cockiness in the running backs today." Booker said. "You go to do your part. You just want to make sure the guys are working hard and they understand that they are going to be a humongous part to our success."

Q: What needs to happen for the backs to have a better season then last year?

A: "Obviously we did not get the touches we wanted last year. The progression was not the same and neither was the win to loss ratio. We have got a big job and just along as the younger guys understand that we will be fine."

Q: Who has impressed you the most this spring?

A: "Antone (Smith) looks like he has been here three years and so does Jamaal (Edwards) but Jamaal has been three years and Antone has only been here one. This is his first spring and he looks like me and Leon (Washington) usually looks."

Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season?

A: "I am excited because to have a guy that is going to be switching off with me that there will not be a drop off. I think that is one of the things Florida State prides itself in. Other programs have two running backs but none of them are usually as productive as the other and I think Antone is going to do a great job."

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