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The closer to Saturday it gets, the less likely it looks like starting quarterback E.J. Manuel will be able to play after injuring his non-throwing shoulder against Oklahoma.
Florida State has gone through the first three days of preparation for the Clemson Tigers without Manuel, who has been able to only do light conditioning work so far due to a sprained AC joint.
Despite being unable to practice, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been pleased with how Manuel has still helped the team prepare for its conference opener.
"He's been very good, good in leadership and the things he's done with the team," Fisher said of his starter. "(In) meetings and helping them to prepare, and helping Clint (Trickett) be ready if things don't go-He's been very good."
If Manuel is unable to practice on Thursday, Fisher said it wouldn't necessarily rule the redshirt junior out for Saturday.
"There's no doubt he could in a heartbeat," Fisher said of Manuel playing without practicing. "He knows the offense inside and out, and what's going on. He could do it very easily."
Defensive tackle depth pays off during the week
Throughout the preseason, much was made about the depth Florida State had across the board on the defensive line. While it certainly has paid dividends during the first three games of the year, it has also been a big help this week in practice after a particularly physical game against No. 1 Oklahoma.
On Monday defensive tackles, Everett Dawkins, Jacobbi McDaniel, and Moses McCray were all unable to practice with minor injuries. FSU coaches had the luxury of sitting them and allowing them to heal because of the depth.
"We have backups who could be starters everywhere," defensive end Bjoern Werner said. "So it's great to have all this depth that we talked about before the season, because now we need it already with all these injuries. Now it's there time, people can rest a little bit then switch around again. SO it's great to have all this depth."
Dawkins, McDaniel, and McCray all returned to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but knowing that the defense could still function at it highest level during practice without them was a comforting fact.
Last season both McDaniel and Dawkins played through numerous injuries simply because there wasn't' enough depth along the interior for FSU.
"Definitely it feels a lot better knowing that you've got somebody that can come in right behind you and play good," Dawkins said on Wednesday. "It's definitely (better than) last year, I had the messed up finger and all that stuff and still had to play."
Redshirt freshman Defensive tackle Cameron Erving saw an increased number or reps early in the week and said he and the other reserve DTs take pride in being able to step in for the starters when they need it.
"We have great depth. There's not really a fall off at any position, nose or three technique," Erving said. "Coach (Odell) has confidence in all of us. If he puts you in he has confidence, it's just a great thing to have depth, because it's a tough season, long season, physical games right around the corner everywhere."
Homecoming for Dawkins
Before last weeks matchup with the Sooners Dawkins joked he had gotten ticket requests from all over for the big game, a request he couldn't help anyone with.
This week the South Carolina native is in a similar situation. The Byrnes high product is from nearby Spartanburg and said he has close to 50 people hoping to attend Saturday's game against Clemson to see him play.
Dawkins' teammates have helped him out by giving him their extra tickets to a game that he looks forward to every year.
"It's a pretty big game for me," he said before practice on Wednesday. "I'm from right down the road, about an hour away, in the past it's been a big one for me and still is. I've still got (high school teammate Chad Diehl) there, he's still on the team so it's a big big game for me."
Kenny Shaw is still unable to practice, but was able to run around some on Wednesday.
FSU practiced with crowd noise pipped in during much of practice, to help prepare the offense for Death Valley.
Scooter Haggins underwent successful hand surgery on Tuesday and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
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