Fisher stays up­beat de­spite in­jury woes

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Safid Deen

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE — Coach Jimbo Fisher says he has seen the char­ac­ter of his Flor­ida State foot­ball team start­ing to shine through.

The Semi­noles will need it more than ever af­ter Fisher an­nounced Thurs­day six more play­ers will be lim­ited be­cause of in­jury for Satur­day’s game at Duke.

The most no­table in­jury is to start­ing of­fen­sive line­man Lan­don Dickerson, who will miss the rest of the sea­son and is sched­uled for right an­kle surgery to­day.

Start­ing safety Trey Marshall, who suf­fered a con­cus­sion against Mi­ami last week, and out­side line­backer Ja­cob Pugh, who suf­fered a con­cus­sion in prac­tice Wed­nes­day, will also be out for the Semi­noles (1-3, 1-2 ACC).

Wide re­ceivers Au­den Tate, who leads FSU with four touch­down catches de­spite play­ing with an AC sep­a­ra­tion in his left shoul­der, and Ge­orge Camp­bell (hip) played last week against Mi­ami and re­main ques­tion­able.

“Some­times they come in bunches — you never know when they’re go­ing to come,” Fisher said of his in­jured play­ers Thurs­day be­fore FSU de­parted for Duke (4-2, 1-2, ACC).

“We’ve got plenty of other guys that had big prac­tices, so we’ve ad­justed and set our game plans.”

The Semi­noles, reel­ing from their last-minute loss to the Hur­ri­canes last week that left them 1-3 this sea­son, are start­ing to see the ill ef­fects of their daunt­ing 10-game stretch to end the 2017 sea­son.

Duke will be the fourth op­po­nent FSU will face in as many weeks af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma can­celed FSU’s game against Louisiana Mon­roe and FSU’s game against Mi­ami was resched­uled to the Semi­noles’ bye week.

Af­ter the loss to the Hur­ri­canes, Fisher said his play­ers’ char­ac­ter was on full dis­play dur­ing this week of prac­tice.

“They’re play­ing their tails off, prac­tic­ing their tails off,” Fisher said. “It’s what I ex­pected to see. I didn’t ex­pect to see any­thing else. That’s how they are and that’s how they played last week and that’s how I ex­pected them to play this week.”

Dickerson, a stand­out sopho­more who emerged as a starter last year, suf­fered his sec­ond sea­son-end­ing in­jury in as many years af­ter a torn ACL side­lined him fol­low­ing seven games last sea­son.

Fisher said the Semi­noles will move start­ing left tackle Der­rick Kelly to Dickerson’s po­si­tion at left guard and insert red­shirt fresh­man Josh Ball at left tackle against the Blue Devils. Re­serve of­fen­sive line­man Brock Ru­ble will also be in the mix at guard.

Fisher said se­nior line­backer Ro’Der­rick Hoskins, a for­mer Or­lando Evans High stand­out, is “back in the mix” af­ter miss­ing the last two games with a neck strain. Hoskins, start­ing in­side line­backer Matthew Thomas and sopho­mores Don­tavi­ous Jack­son and Josh Brown will re­place Pugh in the lineup.

The Semi­noles will con­tinue to rely on backup safety Er­mon Lane and sopho­more AJ West­brook to aid start­ing stand­out Der­win James in Marshall’s ab­sence while depend­ing on other play­ers of FSU’s sec­ondary.

Re­serve de­fen­sive tackle Darvin Tay­lor (shoul­der, out) and of­fen­sive line­man Ethan Frith (hand) also will not play against the Blue Devils.

FSU al­ready has lost start­ing quar­ter­back Deon­dre Fran­cois (knee) and red­shirt fresh­man of­fen­sive line­men Baveon John­son (knee) and Jauan Wil­liams (shoul­der) to sea­son-end­ing in­juries.

“In­juries cre­ate ex­pe­ri­ence for younger guys — there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.

The Semi­noles, who need to win five of their last seven games to be­come bowl el­i­gi­ble, as­pire to get back on track af­ter Mi­ami snapped their seven-game win streak in the ri­valry in dra­matic fash­ion.

Fisher hopes his play­ers to sim­ply take a re­laxed ap­proach to the next game in­stead of un­nec­es­sar­ily overex­ert­ing them­selves.

“You can want some­thing too much. You can try too hard. You can put too much pres­sure on your­self that you can’t do some­thing,” Fisher said of his play­ers. “You just have to get them to re­lax, trust them­selves, trust their coach­ing, trust their own eyes, and trust their game and just re­act.”

UCF RE­PORT

CHUCK BUR­TON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jimbo Fisher’s Semi­noles will be play­ing with­out sev­eral key starters against the Duke Blue Devils on Satur­day.

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