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Florida State Seminoles coaches mixing, matching on offensive line

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Coming into this season, Florida State's inordinate stability along the offensive line was viewed as one of the team's greatest strengths.

Senior LG Rodney Hudson, junior LT Andrew Datko, redshirt senior C Ryan McMahon, junior RG David Spurlock and junior RT Zebrie Sanders were mainstays together in 2008 and 2009.

But that quintet has been together for just four games (Samford and Oklahoma to start the year then Miami and Boston College) as injuries have forced the Seminole coaches to mix and match this season.

And that continued Saturday against Maryland.

Redshirt freshman Henry Orelus was promoted after a solid week of practice and started at right guard in place of former Plant High standout Rhonne Sanderson, a third-year sophomore who started against North Carolina and Clemson.

Orelus started twice at left tackle (BYU and Wake Forest) and once at right tackle (Virginia) this season.

Sanderson had been playing well but struggled mightily against Clemson. One miscue led to a chop block call that nearly derailed what proved to be the Seminoles' last-minute winning drive.

With 2:21 left in the opening half against the Terrapins, redshirt freshman RG Bryan Stork, out the past two games (illness), took over for Orelus, who had a false start penalty on the previous series.

Ironman: McMahon, who began his FSU career as a defensive lineman, started his 50th straight game, matching the Seminoles record held by CB Tony Carter (2005-08). McMahon already set the mark for most starts by an offensive lineman, surpassing the 45 of Lewis Tyre (1992-95).

Man in the middle: Sophomore DT Anthony McCloud, a junior college transfer, started his fourth consecutive game — a sign of how well he has been adjusting.

"He's physical, can run, can change direction," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He's 305 pounds. He's learning to use his hands, can dominate those inside guys, not only block but move you; just throw you away and make the play.

"If he keeps developing — he's got to keep developing — he's got a chance to be a really, really good player because he's got such natural strength and competitiveness."

So what else is new?: Maryland opened the scoring with a short field goal Saturday. That marked the fifth straight game the Seminoles' opponent scored first.

One for the books: With his first catch on the opening series, redshirt junior WR Bert Reed moved into a tie with his position coach, Lawrence Dawsey, and former star Rhett Dawson for 11th on the FSU career reception list with 128. The catch? A 3-yard loss. Reed's next catch went for 17 yards. He finished with six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Special uniforms: Maryland wore specially designed black-and-camouflage uniforms that included the logo for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides support for injured military members and their families. The uniforms replaced the players' last names with the words Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country or Service.

Florida State Seminoles coaches mixing, matching on offensive line 11/20/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 21, 2010 12:14am]
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