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September 29, 2005

Thursday's football notebook

Florida State senior safety Pat Watkins said he hopes a little rest on Friday will give him a chance to play on Saturday.

Watkins, FSU's third-leading tackler, bruised his left shoulder at the very end of Wednesday's practice. He returned to practice on Thursday but was held out of contact work.

"It's a real bad bruise," Watkins said on Thursday. "There's nothing I can do but wait until it goes away.

"If we had a game tonight, I probably wouldn't play. But we've still got two days left."

FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said he will "wait and see" how Watkins reacts to rest and treatment before deciding how much to play him. If Watkins is unable to play, redshirt sophomore Roger Williams would start.

Williams was actually ahead of Watkins on the depth chart during the first half of preseason practices until he injured a hamstring.

Andrews said he thinks Williams is close to returning to his previous form.

"Roger is not totally back to where he was before he got hurt, but he's getting there. He's very close," Andrews said. "This could be the game that puts him back to where he needs to be."

Punt return job undecided

Senior receiver Willie Reid has not played since injuring his knee during a punt return in the first half of the Miami game on Sept. 5.

He is expected to play against Syracuse, but Andrews said he is not sure if Reid will resume the starting job as the team's punt returner.

"I won't know until warm-ups to see how Willie does," Andrews said. "He's our No. 1 punt returner when he's well. If he's healthy enough and if he feels confident, then he'll do it."

In Reid's absence, freshman Fred Rouse has handled the majority of punts. He leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 11.8 yards-per-return average.

Respect for the Orange

Andrews, who normally fills in for FSU coach Bobby Bowden on Thursdays in the post-practice interviews with the media, said the Syracuse offense that the Seminoles will face on Saturday reminds him of Boston College's.

"Their offenses are similar in some ways -- even personnel," Andrews said. "A big, strong, fast running back. They don't make silly mistakes. Not a lot of penalties. Don't turn the ball over much. Some of their offensive plays are similar, at least what they've shown in the first three games."

Andrews also tipped his hat to how Syracuse has held on to the ball this season.

"Syracuse is a very sound team," Andrews said. "They've only had two turnovers all year long. They have not given up a single fumble. Our goal is to create at least three turnovers and that's an area where we haven't been good enough for us to be successful."

McClure steps up on special teams
(By Pat Flynn)

After blocking a total of three punts last year, Florida State has already blocked two punts and tackled The Citadel punter before he could get an attempt off.

The most recent block came at a crucial point in the game against 17th-ranked Boston College by way of redshirt freshman rover Darius McClure.

FSU held a 21-17 lead over the Eagles when McClure knifed his way through the line to block the punt, which set up a Lorenzo Booker touchdown run that iced the game.

"I just fired off the line and stayed low to block the punt," McClure said. "It felt real good to make a big play in a big game."

McClure said the Seminoles have spent a lot of time working on special teams this year, and it is showing.

"We stressed winning every game on special teams this year," McClure said. "I feel like we have."

When asked why he didn't return the loose ball for a touchdown, the Alabama native laughed and said, "I tried to, but I just fell on it."

Video diary

Senior guard Matt Meinrod spent part of the week with a handheld video camera documenting behind-the-scenes action for ABC Sports, which will use the footage as part of its pre-game show for the Syracuse broadcast.

Meinrod toted the camera with him to the team dining hall, offensive line meetings, one of his classes and to the locker room. He also had his girlfriend record him getting a pedicure at a Tallahassee nail salon.

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