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Injuries along Florida State Seminoles' offensive line gave young players a chance to play

ORLANDO — One of the most injury-plagued offensive lines Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher can remember could be evident during Thursday's Champs Sports Bowl, where four true freshmen could start for the Seminoles.

"It was just one of those years," Fisher said. "In the end, it gave a lot of young guys time to develop and play."

Austin Barron could start at center, joining T Bobby Hart, G Josue Matias and G Tre Jackson. Fisher said some offensive packages could have eight freshmen.

Another freshman who could get snaps is former Plant star RB James Wilder, who took reps with the starters at times Monday. He could bolster a unit that's without senior Jermaine Thomas, who is academically ineligible.

REED FEELING BETTER: Bert Reed's college career seemed over when he injured his hamstring a few weeks ago. He said he's not 100 percent healthy but has healed enough to run and move well this week.

"I feel way close," the 5-foot-10 senior receiver said.

Reed is one of the most prolific receivers in school history, ranking fourth in career catches (169) and yards (2,004).

Fisher said this month that Reed would likely miss the matchup with Notre Dame, but Reed has progressed faster than trainers expected.

IRISH USING 2 QBS: Notre Dame plans to keep using two quarterbacks — sophomores Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix — against FSU.

Rees has started 11 games and is listed first on the Fighting Irish depth chart after passing for 2,708 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season.

Coach Brian Kelly said Hendrix (four games, 225 passing yards) will also see time after starting the second half and throwing his first career TD in the regular-season finale at Stanford.

"We're going to play them both and see how it goes," Kelly said.

PUBLIC APPEARANCES: The teams spent Tuesday morning at a charity outing at Give Kids the World Village, a 70-acre resort in Kissimmee for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Players gave children ice cream, danced and played checkers with the kids and their families.

"It gives back to the kids who are less fortunate," FSU QB EJ Manuel said, "and families that are going through things that we haven't gone through."

Other bowl week excursions included a shopping spree at Best Buy and Notre Dame's trip to Universal Studios.

Injuries along Florida State Seminoles' offensive line gave young players a chance to play 12/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:58pm]
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