Training Camp Report

FSU is looking for players to help fill the void left by injuries at receiver and the defensive line. Also, the injured, such as receiver Craphonso Thorpe (pictured), are hoping to return as soon as possible as the third-ranked Seminoles continue preparations for their season-opener against Iowa State in less than two weeks. We have quotes from Thorpe, coach Odell Haggins, Adrian McPherson, Anquan Boldin, Talman Gardner and others. Update from FSU's second practice included.

Craphonso Thorpe left big toe has been, well, a big pain. The talented wide receiver has been sidelined since late last week with a sprained left toe. Monday morning wasn't any different. Thorpe tossed a football up in the air and caught it while his Florida State teammates banged away at each other in drills.

"It is (frustrating)," Thorpe said.

"It's hard to sit out here and watch everyone practice and you can't get involved. It's one of those things if where if you rush back you could end up getting hurt worse. So you don't have any choice but to sit there and be patient. I am rehabbing four, five, six times a day. Trying to do everything I can to hurry up and get back. It's a slow process – it feels like it's taking forever."

With injuries to Thorpe and Anquan Boldin (left knee MCL sprain), offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden suddenly finds himself thin at wide receiver. As promised, he placed blue non-contact jerseys on Talman Gardner, Robert Morgan, who continues to recover from offseason knee surgery, and P.K. Sam. Others such as Chauncey Stovall, who continues to learn the system, Joey Kaleikini, Dominic Robinson and Travis Smith participated in drills.

"He wanted to protect the starters, with Anquan going down I think it kind of scared all the coaches," Gardner said.

"They figured putting us in blue jerseys will cut down the injuries. We can still get our timing down, it's just the defense can't come up on us. It's pretty good. We have a couple of people down (with injuries), so we need guys like Dominic Robinson to step up and try to fill those positions. We will be okay. He (Stovall) just has to pick up the speed, Florida State football is a little faster for him right now but he's catching on pretty good."

Boldin's injury showed the Seminoles that others must be prepared to contribute, as third-ranked FSU opens its season in less than two weeks against Iowa State. The same thing could be said for FSU's defense, which also has been stunned by injury.

Starting noseguard Jeff Womble will miss at least a month with a Grade-2 MCL sprain, while reserve Travis Johnson aggravated his surgically repaired ankle in Saturday's scrimmage. Starting tackle Darnell Docket sat out the morning practice as he continues to practice once-a-day following offseason Achilles tendon surgery.

Monday's starters along the interior for 11-on-11 drills were senior Tony Benford and sophomore Brian Ross. Benford has 59 career tackles in three previous seasons, while Ross played in just three games last season and had four tackles. Redshirt freshman Donnie Carter and true freshman Broderick Bunkley also are available. Walk-on Mike Shaw, who was solid in spring drills, also is injured (ankle).

"I have to learn a little nose(guard)," said Benford, who normally backs up Dockett.

"He (defensive tackle coach Odell Haggins) called me a swing man – I have to play both (noseguard and tackle). I am trying to take that responsibility on, being a older guy. I don't know what he is going to do. I have to learn both. Everyone has to be as versatile as possible. It's going to be hard for the young guys, the sooner he can the better. As far as the older guys, I think we should be able to take on that responsibility to be versatile."

"I am just trying to figure out who is going to be healthy and who is not going to be healthy," Haggins said following Monday's second practice.

"The only thing I can do now is to see who's going to be healthy for the first game. I have a plan in my mind, but I don't want to say anything yet until everything unfolds. I am going to go with what I got. I am going to do the best I got with what I got. Every little bit is going to help."

Ditto at receiver.

Thorpe, who finished second on the team last season as a freshman with 852 all-purpose yards, just might be the Seminoles' best deep threat. A graceful speedster, Thorpe can also return kickoffs, falling just 22 yards short of breaking the FSU record for kickoff return yardage in a season a year ago. Thorpe ranked seventh in the ACC among kick returners, averaging 21.6 yards on 26 kickoff returns (561). He also finished fifth among receivers with 15 catches for 286 yards and one score.

Thorpe has spent most days rehabbing his injury with ice and stem. He is hopeful of returning to practice by Wednesday but even that's not a guarantee. Recent X-rays on Thorpe's toe were negative.

"I am still feeling a little pain in my (left) big toe," Thorpe said.

"(I am) trying to strengthen it. Working on moving it. Because right now it's hard to move it.. As a receiver, I can't push off my toe to even run. Once I get running, it's not bad because I can land on different parts of my foot to run. But it's just that initial first four or five steps, just pushing off and trying to started, it's excruciating pain. It's kind of day-by-day. I would like to get back no later than Wednesday – that's what I've been telling myself – but I have to be patient. If it's not ready by Wednesday, there's no sense rushing myself."

Boldin, of course, also realizes has needs to be patient after surviving last Saturday's scrimmage scare. Boldin suffered a Grade-1 MCL sprain to his surgically repaired left knee. A Monday morning MRI was negative. Boldin was injured when teammate Nick Maddox rolled into him following an interception.

"I didn't know what to expect or what to think," Boldin said of his initial reaction. "I was kind of frustrated, feeling like I had gotten back to where I wanted to be, and this happened. I didn't know what was growing through my mind. But I feel pretty good."

FSU's defense experienced a far different feeling Monday morning. The unit was dominated by the offense in goal-line drills. In fact, the second-team offense scored four times on four plays against the first-team defense. Overall, the offense scored six of eight times.

While the offense hurried off the field following conditioning drills, the defense stayed behind for a dose of double-trouble – the staff doubled the unit's conditioning drills. Linebacker Michael Boulware was overcome by heat (hyperventilating) and carted off towards the end of the session. He is fine, though he did not practice Monday night.

A bushed Kendyll Pope says the Seminoles need to remain focused as two-a-days grind into their second week.

"Everybody is banged up," Pope said.

"This is the last week of two-a-days – only the strong survive. We have to come out here and fight. Everyone is hurting. We are nicked and banged up. We started off okay, but then we got to the goal line and we weren't good – that's when the fatigue factor kicks in. We just have to turn it up another notch. We are all hurting, but only the strong survive this week. We have to come back out here in the morning and redeem ourselves."

No. 2 quarterback Adrian McPherson, meanwhile, also is eager to return after suffering a Grade-1 left ankle sprain in Saturday's scrimmage. Fabian Walker worked with the second-team offense Monday morning. McPherson, who underwent an X-ray as a precautionary measure, was injured when defensive end Alonzo Jackson sacked him despite wearing a green non-contact jersey.

McPherson said he doesn't blame Jackson.

"It's a part of football," McPherson said. ‘He's just doing his job. Things happen. I feel like things happen for reasons. Right now, I'm a bit disappointed that I can't be out there participating, but I understand that it's a part of the game and accidents happen."

Like Boldin, McPherson also had apprehension about his injury.

"Most definitely. When it happened, I heard it pop, so I was thinking maybe I had broken something, but I wasn't sure," McPherson said. ‘I'm just grateful it's only an ankle sprain. Like I said, I'm rehabbing it and looking forward to getting back out here. They said maybe a week, maybe a couple of weeks. It just depends on how the rehab goes. I'm just doing a lot of stem right now. Hopefully, I will be only out a week. ..."

UPDATE: X-rays on reserve center David Castillo's right ankle were negative. Castillo, however, did suffer a severe ankle sprain. He is on crutches and in a boot...Long snapper Myles Hodish who was on the team last year, watched practice in his street clothes. He is expected to be joining the team again.


Nole Digest Top Stories