Carter, several others battling for PR duties

One of the most interesting storylines thus far in Florida State's preseason practice session has been the competition at punt return. As of Tuesday, five players were fighting for the right to be called FSU's punt returner and the battle is expected to continue.

He isn't talked about very much when the Florida State offense is referenced in regards to changes from last season, but Willie Reid is going to be sorely missed in the garnet and gold.

Reid was a do-it-all type of player for the Seminoles throughout his four-year career and was one of the go-to guys at wide receiver in 2005. Not taking anything away from his offensive prowess though, it's his absence at punt returner that arguably hurts the most.

Now, with preseason practice in full swing, FSU coaches have the daunting task of replacing a player that could be considered one of the greatest special teamers in Seminole history. And replacing the now-Pittsburgh Steeler likely won't be a one-person job.

"You want a guy like Chris Davis that you know can do it. That's what we are looking for going in (to the season)," FSU graduate assistant James Colzie told "We want Chris Davis to solidify the job but he has had two opportunities (in the past) to do it and he hasn't done it yet. We are hoping he does it this year but we've got Tony Carter and we've got about three freshmen that are going to surprise some people. Hopefully they get the opportunity but the bottom line is that it's Chris Davis' job to lose."

Davis inability -- for whatever reason -- to establish himself as the clear leader when it comes to earning the return duties likely means the battle will continue until the end of the preseason late this month.

And as mentioned, the list of players working into the rotation includes Carter, true freshmen Patrick Robinson, Damon McDaniel and Preston Parker, and, as of Tuesday, sophomore Richard Goodman.

"It's something that I am looking forward to competing for," said McDaniel, who scored six touchdowns on returns in high school. "The spot is open and I am trying to be the guy that gets to do it."

And while the thought of the freshmen and Goodman at punt return is intriguing because of their athletic ability and the degree of mystery surrounding them, Carter's presence is exciting in it's own right but a bit surprising.

As the Tribe's top cover-corner, Carter's value to Mickey Andrews's defense may seem too important to risk injury on special teams -- especially after he has battled with a shoulder ailment throughout the past year. But to Carter, who says the shoulder feels "great," the chance to do something he did so well in the prep ranks is too good to pass up.

"The opportunity is there so I am going for it," Carter said. "I talked to Coach Andrews about it and he said if you can catch it and run it than you can do it. I am trying to prove to him that I can actually do it ... I never did it here (before) because I was so overwhelmed and getting used to Mickey so now I am used to it and it's not so bad."

If Carter can win the job by unseating Davis and holding off the other players in competition, it will mark a return to the way punt return duties used to be handled in year's past.

"That's the way it use to always be. It use to always be a cornerback," said Colzie, who was a cornerback that also served as a punt returner when he was a sophomore at FSU. "I don't want to say that (Coach Andrews) trusts them more but I think he wants the corner to be the guy.

"The corner is usually the most athletic and explosive guy on the field so you want a guy like that who can make things happen and get some touchdowns."

Patrick Robinson and Damon McDaniel

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