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Florida State football pleasantly surprised with performance of young offensive line

TALLAHASSEE — If you had suggested to Florida State coach Bobby Bowden in August that his young offensive line would pave the way for one of the nation's best running attacks, his response would have been simple:

"No way," he said.

But the Seminoles' 266 yards on the ground in Saturday's 41-27 win against Clemson marked their fourth game of eclipsing 200 this season. They went for 290 against Western Carolina, 259 against Colorado and 310 against Miami.

For the season, they're averaging 205.2. That's the most since they averaged 222.8 in 1995. And that's with a redshirt sophomore at C (Ryan McMahon), a sophomore at LG (Rodney Hudson) and true freshmen at LT (Andrew Datko), RG (David Spurlock) and RT (Zebrie Sanders).

Typically, such youngsters don't have the physical maturity to move the pile, but line coach Rick Trickett relies on quickness.

"He wants to jump you before you can jump him," Bowden said Sunday morning, likening the linemen to boxers who may lack the haymaker but can jab an opponent into submission. "Now, pass blocking's a little bit different; they're bull rushing. I got to stand right in front of him and if he's big and strong, he can bull rush me and he doesn't have to worry about my quickness. We've improved in that area."

REMEMBER WHEN … : There was a time Bowden wouldn't be celebrating seven wins — "It'd been a disaster," he said — but not after his team has gone 7-6 in consecutive years.

"We hope we can go ahead," he said, "but you can only look at one game at a time. That's as old as it can be, but you better concentrate on (Boston College). Don't you dare think about Maryland. Don't you dare think about Wake Forest. Don't you dare think about anybody else. Just BC. That's what we'll try to do this week."

MR. SMITH GOES TO THE END ZONE: Senior TB Antone Smith, despite nursing sore ribs, scored two more rushing touchdowns to give him 13 this season, tying Greg Allen (1983) and Warrick Dunn (1995) for fourth on the school's single-season list. FB Dayne Williams (15 in 1987) is next for Smith. Allen holds the record with 20 (in 1982) followed by Amp Lee (16 in 1990).

END OF A STREAK: Senior WR Greg Carr didn't have a catch, ending a string of 30 games in which he has played that he had at least one. He did block well and turned defensive back on a play when he broke up a potential interception.

TWO FIRSTS IN ONE PLAY: Junior DE Markus White not only had his first career sack, he forced his first fumble at the same time.

POLL POSITION: FSU moved up to No. 20, its fourth straight week in the AP poll.

THE LAST WORD: "Wouldn't it be something? That'd be the highest (honor) of all." — Bowden on the possibility of S Myron Rolle winning a Rhodes Scholarship.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

>>up next

Miami: vs. Virginia Tech, 7:30 Thursday, ESPN

USF: vs. Rutgers, noon Saturday, Ch. 28

UF: vs. South Carolina, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 10

FSU: vs. Boston College, 8 Saturday, Ch. 28

Florida State football pleasantly surprised with performance of young offensive line 11/09/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 9, 2008 11:54pm]

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