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Elbow sidelines talented tailback

Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published August 31, 2003

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Sophomore Leon Washington, one of Florida State's most versatile offensive threats, left in the first quarter Saturday with an elbow injury.

Washington, who started at tailback and returns kicks and punts, fielded a punt at FSU's 30 and was quickly cut down by redshirt freshman Daunte Fields. Washington did not return, but said he dislocated his right elbow and estimated he would be out 1-2 weeks.

In the opening eight minutes Washington had one rush for 27 yards that set up a touchdown, a reception for 11 yards and one kickoff return for 13 yards.

NICE DEBUT I: FSU redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Davis, the former St. Petersburg Catholic standout who missed last season after injuring a knee, had his first reception, a 13-yard gain, in the second quarter.

LEADERSHIP ROLE: Though senior linebacker Michael Boulware is the defensive captain, senior defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was asked to address the team Friday night. Boulware, who would rather his actions inspire others, calls the loquacious Dockett the "heart" of the defense.

NICE DEPUT II: Former Shorecrest Prep star Jesse Stein, named the Seminoles' starting punter Thursday, kicked his first punt in an FSU jersey 46 yards and his second 48.

UNIFORM CHANGE: For the first time since the 1991 regular-season finale and seventh time in the Bobby Bowden era, the Seminoles wore white pants. Why? In the spring the seniors requested the fashion statement, perhaps unaware of or unconcerned with history.

FSU was 3-3 the previous times in white pants, and those included some famous games, or infamous depending on your perspective: a 13-7 Sugar Bowl win against Auburn on Jan.2, 1989; a season-opening loss to Southern Mississippi on Sept.2, 1989; a 14-9 loss at Florida on Nov.30, 1991; and a 24-21 win at Clemson on Sept.17, 1988, the game decided on the quintessential Bowden trick play, the "Puntrooskie."

NUMBERS GAME: FSU has won 14 straight season-opening games, dating to a loss to Southern Mississippi and quarterback Brett Favre in 1989 in Jacksonville.

LOCAL HERO: Former Plant City tailback Chad Scott returned to the field for North Carolina after sitting out last season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

"He's added another dimension to our team," UNC coach John Bunting said of Scott, who played two years at Kentucky. "He's quick. He's explosive. He gives us another fast running back who can go in and play in any personnel grouping we want to put him in...He's a unique player."

CLASS REUNION: FSU freshman linebacker Ernie Sims, one of the most heralded recruits in the nation, had a chance to see his former North Florida Christian High teammate and friend, UNC freshman quarterback Roger Heinz. Heinz is the younger brother of injured FSU offensive lineman Matt Heinz, whose mother, Mary, understandably had some divided loyalties. The front of her shirt was Carolina blue, the back FSU garnet and gold.

SIX THE HARD WAY: FSU starting center David Castillo, who has endured multiple injuries in his first three season, received a sixth year of eligibility. That means he could be a three-year starter for the Seminoles.

LONG NIGHT: The Seminoles were in for a longer-than-usual return to Tallahassee after the game. In accordance with stricter air travel rules, the players couldn't just get on their airplane. They had to go through a makeshift security screening on the taxiway. With a traveling party of about 150, officials expected that to take about an hour longer than normal. The players were warned not to carry any metal on board, which would slow up the process. That meant no CD players or headphones. Fun ride, huh?

- BRIAN LANDMAN and Times wires

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