Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU to Start without Starters; Spring Football Drills Begin Tuesday with 10 Veteran Players on Sideline

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU to Start without Starters; Spring Football Drills Begin Tuesday with 10 Veteran Players on Sideline

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, The Times-Union

TALLAHASSEE -- With 10 returning offensive starters, Florida State has all the parts necessary to be one of the nation's most prolific units next fall. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, many of those parts are broken or on the mend following corrective surgeries, and won't be available when FSU opens spring practice Tuesday.

Six starters and five veteran backups battling for playing time will be on the sidelines for most or all of the 15-day spring schedule, which will culminate with the April 3 spring game.

Also out of action? The playing surface at Doak Campbell Stadium, which is being reconstructed to alleviate drainage problems. That means the spring game will be played at Gene Cox Stadium.

It's not exactly the ideal backdrop to get a lot done, according to offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden.

"The one thing you'd like to get done by having all healthy bodies is just good consistent performances out there each scrimmage," Bowden said. "It's not going to change the fact that we're still going to go out there and strive to have good, consistent scrimmages. The reality is you're not going to have a lot of starters."

Unable to use the spring to sharpen an offensive unit that had its share of inconsistent moments, Bowden said he will place a great emphasis on individual improvement.

"Where it's going to affect is when we scrimmage; when we try to put a team together," said Bowden, who will be without starting tackles Alex Barron and Ray Willis, center David Castillo and tailback Leon Washington. "It's going to make drills a lot more important, when we work more individual stuff -- wide receivers against [defensive backs], backs against linebackers, [offensive] line against [defensive] line. We're just going to have to get a lot more out of those drills."

Washington, expected to succeed Greg Jones as the starter, underwent foot surgery three weeks ago. That means Lorenzo Booker is the only scholarship tailback healthy enough to compete in spring drills.

Bowden realized he would have to make alternative plans in order to get the most of the spring sessions when he saw the whopping number of players unable to participate in the offseason conditioning drills. …

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