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FSU Seminoles' Christian Ponder balances pass, run

Quarterback Christian Ponder, looking to pass against Georgia Tech, says his sore ribs are feeling better.

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Quarterback Christian Ponder, looking to pass against Georgia Tech, says his sore ribs are feeling better.

TALLAHASSEE — You might have noticed that Florida State redshirt sophomore QB Christian Ponder of late hasn't been running the ball as often as he did earlier in the season.

What gives?

Well, he confessed that his battered ribs (which had been downplayed as a non-issue) were a factor and that he prudently avoided extra contact.

He and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said Monday that Ponder is feeling much better now entering Saturday's game against Clemson. But also in play was Ponder's desire to stay in the pocket longer.

"I just have to find the right balance between staying in there and escaping," he said. "My legs got us out of some situations earlier in the season, so it's definitely one of my stronger aspects. I definitely need to bring that back a little more and learn to use it when it's the right time to use it."

TOMMY WON'T ATTEND: Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said he won't attend the Tigers' game Saturday at Florida State. It will mark the first time in 10 seasons the game won't feature a coaching battle between Tommy and his father, FSU's Bobby Bowden. Tommy Bowden stepped down under pressure on Oct. 13.

The leaderboard: After returning one kickoff 64 yards last weekend against Georgia Tech, CB Michael Ray Garvin, an All-American sprinter, leads the nation in kickoff returns with an average of 34.2 yards. That's just ahead of Akron's Bryan Williams (32.31), Clemson's C.J. Spiller (31.9) and UCF's Joe Burnett (31.58).

"I feel real good with him back there," Bobby Bowden said. "I like him because he's a north-south runner. If he can find a crease, he's got a chance of going all the way."

Garvin left the Georgia Tech game early after suffering a concussion on kickoff coverage, but said Monday night he is feeling fine and expects to play Saturday.

Unseen but not unappreciated: Fisher said fifth-year QB Drew Weatherford, the former Land O'Lakes star who started much of the last three seasons, remains a vital contributor by signaling in plays, mentoring the other QBs and serving as a sounding board for him. "We talked about it (Monday by happenstance)," Fisher said. "How I really admire how he's handled this whole situation."

Time set: The Seminoles' home game against Boston College on Nov. 15 starts at 8 p.m. (Ch. 28).

UM: Harris honored

CORAL GABLES — Hurricanes QB Jacory Harris was named ACC rookie of the week after leading a rally at Virginia.

Spiller was offensive back of the week, and Wake Forest had three winners: DL Boo Robinson, DB Alphonso Smith and PK Shane Popham.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

>>up next

FSU: vs. Clemson, 3:30

Saturday, Ch. 28

UF: at Vanderbilt, 8 Saturday, ESPN2

Miami: vs. Virginia Tech, 7:30 Nov. 13, ESPN

USF: vs. Rutgers, noon, Nov. 15

FSU Seminoles' Christian Ponder balances pass, run 11/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 5:25pm]
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