Freshmen starters everywhere in loss to BC

Florida State leads the conference in freshmen played with 17 and Saturday night there were quite a few of them in the starting lineup.

Florida State's special uniforms weren't the only thing new on the field Saturday. The freshmen faces in the starting defensive lineup were just as fresh as the all-black duds.

Because of injuries and lack of depth, the Seminoles boasted four true-freshman defensive starters in the loss to Boston College. Three of those first-year players were earning the first starts of their respective careers.

And it likely won't be their last starts this season either.

Two players, defensive tackle Budd Thacker and defensive end Kevin McNeil, weren't even expected to see the field in their first season in Tallahassee.

Thacker was a likely candidate to redshirt and McNeil was a late qualifier and missed all of preseason practices and the first three games of the season. Linebacker Dekoda Watson was the other new starter but he had seen significant action this season. Rover Myron Rolle, a starter for most of the season, was the other.

"It's always good to get out there and play," Thacker said. "I just want to get out there and play. I want to help the team get a ‘W.' I am here to play for the team and that's what I am here for."

Thacker and McNeil helped lead a defensive line that held - maybe even surprisingly – Boston College's power running game to just 60 yards on 32 attempts. Entering the game, the Eagles were averaging 121.8 yards per contest.

"I was very pleased with what the (defense) was able to do because I thought that (Boston College) would take the ball and stick it at us," FSU coach Bobby Bowden. "We might not physically be able to stand up. They did that on us some but we did better than I thought."

When we substitute on defense," Bowden continued, "we're not playing with second-teamers. We're playing with third-teamers."

And therein lies the rub for a reeling Seminoles team that leads the conference in freshman played with 17 and has all but been eliminated from defending its ACC title.

With so many former starters hobbled by injuries and others out for the season, the fresh faces will be counted on to play like veterans. With three losses in late October, the rest of the year may serve the purpose of not only salvaging a season but also preparing for future ones.

"They played their tails off tonight," senior linebacker Buster Davis said about the freshmen. "We need them to keep doing that."


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