Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACC NOTEBOOK; Manuel Latest Backup to Deliver for 'Noles

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACC NOTEBOOK; Manuel Latest Backup to Deliver for 'Noles

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Despite all of the criticisms leveled in recent years at Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, he proved last week that he and his offensive staffs have had an uncanny knack for getting a young quarterback ready for a big game in emergency circumstances.

When starter and likely All-ACC quarterback Christian Ponder injured his shoulder making a tackle Nov. 7 against Clemson, the Seminoles had to get redshirt freshman EJ Manuel ready for last week's game at Wake Forest. Manuel responded by completing 15-of-20 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 45 yards and another score in FSU's 41-28 victory.

The performance was reminiscent of two other situations in the past:

- In 1993, the year FSU won its first national championship, Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward did not play at Maryland because of an injured shoulder.

Danny Kanell came off the bench and threw for 341 yards and five touchdown passes in a 49-20 victory.

- An injury to Chris Weinke in 1998 forced Marcus Outzen into service.

In his second start, Outzen threw for 167 yards and one touchdown as the Seminoles beat Florida 23-12 to earn a spot in the first BCS national championship game.

Bowden said there are two reasons players have a good chance for success in those scenarios. First, second-team quarterbacks at FSU get an equal number of repetitions in practice as the first-team quarterbacks.

"He [the backup] has been handling the ball and throwing the ball just as much as the other one," Bowden said Wednesday during the weekly ACC coaches teleconference.

And second, Bowden said opposing teams don't have much film of the backup to study.

"The other team doesn't know what he can do," Bowden said.

"They haven't seen him. It's like the rookie pitcher who starts his first major-league game and throws a shutout. …

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