This & That

Greg Jones is out for the year with a torn knee. Stanford Samuels is back. Adrian McPherson's performance turns heads. Finally, the Seminoles' defense plays well in a game's second half. And, yep, B.J. Ward blocks yet another kick. Click here to read the latest news. "The past couple of games it seemed like they were kicking away from me," Ward said. "I blocked it and got into his head and from then on he was trying to kick it around me."

Florida State tailback Greg Jones knew his right knee didn't feel right Sunday. He had injured the knee 24 hours earlier at Wake Forest.

On Monday, Jones received the bad news: The leading rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.

An MRI on Monday showed that Jones tore his anterior cruciate ligament and injured his medial collateral ligament in the Seminoles' win over Wake Forest on Saturday, team trainer Randy Oravetz said.

"Looking at it (on Saturday), we just had a bad feeling," Oravetz said.

The 240-pound junior tailback from Beaufort, S.C., averaged 104.2 yards a game, running for 938 yards and eight touchdowns. The 17th-ranked Seminoles (6-3, 5-0 ACC) travel to Georgia Tech (6-3, 3-3) this weekend.

"It's not good," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said Monday. "It's such a shame he was having such a good year. That's football, I guess."

QUESTIONS ABOUND: Of course, FSU fans were howling Monday, wondering why Jones reentered the game after coming out with a sore right knee in the first half. Jones left for good when his knee buckled on a run up the middle in the second half.

Additionally, sveral FSU players said Monday the playing surface at Wake Forest was unsafe and contributed to Jones' injury. FSU suffered a rash of injuries in its previous trip to Winston-Salem, a 35-6 FSU win in 2000 that was marred by injuries to four tailbacks, including a torn ACL for Jeff Chaney and Jones' ankle sprain.

"The grass up there gives very easily," fellow tailback Nick Maddox said.

"Anytime you have a small injury, you could definitely tear that thing up if you keep on going. Greg's the kind of guy that wants to keep on fighting to the end. I don't blame him for wanting to get out there and play, because that's exactly what I would have done. Those field conditions are among the worst to play with when you have an injury like that."

Jones' injury comes at an inopportune time for the Seminoles, who start a difficult final stretch that includes road games against Georgia Tech and N.C. State and a home visit from resurgent Florida.

"It's getting down to crunch time now," linebacker Kendyll Pope said. "These last four games that we've got are very, very crucial."

CAPABLE REPLACEMENT: Jones' injury is the second major change in Florida State's starting offensive backfield in the past week. Quarterback Adrian McPherson made his first start in Saturday's win after his promotion to starter over Chris Rix last week following consecutive losses.

Jones will be replaced by senior Nick Maddox, who had 122 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Seminoles' 34-21 victory over the Demon Deacons. Maddox has gained 444 yards this season, averaging 6.4 yards a carry. Willie Reid moves up to No. 2 at tailback.

"I've started before so I know what it takes," said Maddox, who started 10 of Florida State's 11 regular-season games last year. "I know the do's and don'ts. I'm just going to try and build on the legacy Greg has left."

Maddox has run for 1,063 yards and seven touchdowns in his career, and has served as a change-of-pace from Jones' power running style.

"Nick is more versatile than Greg in things that he can do, catching passes, running routes, going deep, things like that," Bowden said. "Greg gives you that 240-pounder that can take it up in there and break tackles, where Nick has to evade."

Jones' 1,917 yards are 10th on Florida State's career list and he's in a four-way tie in the school's record books with 16 rushing touchdowns.

The Seminoles are well-stocked in their backfield. Behind Maddox, redshirt freshman Willie Reid, a former prep player of the year in Georgia, gets elevated into a bigger role. Leon Washington, a true freshman who has been a star on punt and kickoff returns, will become the No.3 tailback.

"You lose the pounder (Jones), but Nick's been mighty productive every time he's come in," Bowden said. "And Willie is capable of that, too."

HEALING INJURIES: In addition to Jones, offensive guard Montrae Holland might be out indefinitely with an ankle injury. He will have an MRI exam today. At the very least, the injury is a high-ankle sprain, which can take weeks to heal. Matt Heinz, who replaced Holland during Saturday's game, likely will be the starter.

"He did well, but he blew a couple techniques that allowed a linebacker free on the runner," Bowden said. "Typical mistakes of an inexperienced player."

Receiver Talman Gardner is nursing a mild ankle sprain, but will be able to play. In addition, receiver P.K. Sam, sidelined the past two games with an hamstring injury, practiced without pain or limitation Monday and is ready to go. Defensive end Eric Moore also practiced Monday and might be close to getting cleared to play after his appendectomy that occurred before the Miami game.

SAMUELS BACK: Cornerback Stanford Samuels met with Bowden and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and returned to practice Monday following his one-game suspension.

"He will be reinstated (for Saturday's game) as long as he does what he's supposed to do," Bowden said.

As reported last week, Malcom Tatum walked off the practice field last Tuesday, telling teammates he had quit the team.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Bowden says McPherson and Rix, who did not play Saturday after starting 20 consecutive games at FSU, give the Seminoles two quality quarterbacks.

"I thought he rose to the occasion, never panicked, never backed off, and did some real good things," Bowden said. "Again, Chris Rix - I want him to stay in the fight and keep battling, learn from this himself. The way I approach it, what did I find out? I found out we've got two good quarterbacks."

SOLID EFFORT: Forgotten amid the excitement surrounding McPherson's performance, the Seminoles' oft-maligned defense recorded a second-half shutout Saturday. After surrendering 115 yards on 17 plays as Wake Forest jumped to a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter, the unit allowed just 83 yards in the second half.

"We took our package that we had going into the game and made it real basic, and cut it down and just went out there and executed," senior defensive end Alonzo Jackson said. "It was all about man on man then. (Coaches) gave everybody a little less responsobility and put it more on the individual making plays."

BLOCK THAT KICK: B.J. Ward registered his team-high fourth block of the season against the Demon Deacs. Ward's block of a Matt Wisnasky field-goal attempt prevented Wake Forest from pushing its advantage to 17-0 in the first half.

"The past couple of games it seemed like they were kicking away from me," Ward said. "I blocked it and got into his head and from then on he was trying to kick it around me. If I can get a kicker to do that every time, I think we will be alright as far as special teams go."


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