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    Monday, January 08, 2007

    FSU Will Have One Experienced Running Back To Start 2007 Season(Second In A Series)

    With the loss of Lorenzo Booker to graduation, the Noles in 2007 will have one back with experience, Junior Antone Smith. Smith had almost 500 yards rushing and 5 TDs in the 2006 season. He averaged 41.5 yards a game with 5.2 yards a carry average. Smith also had 174 receiving yards in 2006. He was a highly heralded back out of high school who has to pick up the slack and hopefully make an impact for the Noles in 2007.

    The only other running back that had any playing time in 2006 besides Booker and Smith was freshmen Marcus Sims. Sims, the largest of the backs at 6' and 211, played in 5 games and had a total of 16 yards rushing with no TDs. Sims was one of the top prospects in the state coming out of high school. He is the brother of Ernie Sims, an All-ACC linebacker for FSU from 2003-05.

    Another heralded back out of high school is Jamaal Edwards. Edwards has not played much for the Noles and was redshirted in 2005. Edwards has had his playing time limited by injuries and did not play in 2006 but Buster Davis says that Edwards can be the one to watch this upcoming season if he can get some carries. As he says, Edwards has it all.

    It will be interesting to see what will shake out in spring practice and who will be the leading runner among these three talented backs. The Noles are also attempting to sign at least two running backs for the Feb. 7 signing date and as of now do not have a commitment from any running back.

    The 2006 season was a disappointing season for the running game and hopefully the addition of new offensive lines coach Rick Trickett will help the Noles develop a running game by opening up holes on the offensive line.

    Two stats exemplify how bad the running game was in 2006. FSU was dead last in the ACC in 2006 in rush offense, The Noles were also ranked seventh in the ACC in 2006 in third down conversions.So for the Noles and the running game, the only place to go is up. Also long time running backs coach Billy Sexton has resigned and a new running back coach is forthcoming.

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