Fisher stays upbeat despite injury woes
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.”
Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles will be playing without several key starters against the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday.