Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Punishing Position; Fullbacks Dean, Coleman and Surratt Relish the Role of Glorified Lineman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Punishing Position; Fullbacks Dean, Coleman and Surratt Relish the Role of Glorified Lineman

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, The Times-Union

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State junior fullbacks B.J. Dean and James Coleman may share first-team responsibilities, but they share no delusions of grandeur about their station with the Seminoles.

From 1986-1993 fullbacks Dayne Williams, Edgar Bennett and William Floyd shared marquee billing in the Seminoles' offense, producing 61 touchdowns -- 53 on the ground and eight through the air as they combined for 118 receptions.

Coleman, a star tailback at FSU's laboratory school -- Florida High -- remembers the later stages of those days.

"I remember William Floyd was nice," Coleman said. "That was the only time I ever looked at a fullback and said, 'Man, I want to play like he plays.' "

That was then. For Dean, Coleman and freshman Joe Surratt, the now is quite different.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden is only half-joking when he says his fullbacks are merely offensive guards with lower numbers.

"There's something to that, because they have same responsibilities as those offensive linemen in regard to blocking," Bowden said.

It's a role the trio relishes: dishing out as much punishment as possible to open up running lanes for tailbacks Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker.

"You hear Coach Bowden talk about players that have to play a role," said Dean, a converted linebacker. "Me and James have to play a role. We know we're not going to get the ball 12 times a game. We know we're not going to get the ball thrown to us 12 times a game. So playing our role, blocking or pass protecting, is what we have to do to make the team work."

In two seasons, Dean and Coleman have combined for 33 carries for 103 yards and one touchdown, splitting eight receptions. Given FSU's arsenal of offensive playmakers this season, those numbers don't figure to change much, which is just fine with the duo that doesn't mind distributing its combined 500 pounds between opposing linebackers.

"There are not too many fullbacks in the [NFL] that get paid for their running skills," Coleman said. …

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