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Injuries have coach weighing backfield options

Published October 25, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Coach Bobby Bowden likely will be fretting about the state of his offense until he reads the injury report.

Tailback Leon Washington (separated right shoulder) and receivers Craphonso Thorpe (bruised ribs) and Chauncey Stovall (strained right hamstring) were hurt during Saturday's win at Wake Forest, and their availability would alter the depth chart dramatically.

"It's usually about Monday before you really find out the extent of them," Bowden said Sunday.

Let's play out some possibilities.

What if the Seminoles have to travel to Maryland, a team that's struggling offensively but has been stout defensively, without Washington, the team's leading rusher (689 yards, 6.9 average and six touchdowns)?

"Normally, what you'd do is put Willie Reid back there," Bowden said.

Not this time. Reid, who has been slowed by hamstring and groin injuries but played well against Virginia then came up with a huge punt return and 20-yard touchdown catch against the Demon Deacons, could be pressed into a starting spot at receiver if Stovall can't go.

Look for freshman tailbacks Jamaal Edwards and Lamar Lewis , who have combined for 13 rushes in mopup duty, to back up Lorenzo Booker.

"They would have to play whether they're ready or not," Bowden said.

What if the Seminoles are without Thorpe and Stovall, who have 26 and 25 catches, respectively (almost 40 percent of the team total), for 657 yards (48 percent) and five touchdowns (71 percent)? That's not to mention Lorne Sam , who has a stress fracture in his foot and is limited in practice and games.

Well, Reid and Dominic Robinson would have to do even more than they did Saturday, and that's saying something. Robinson had four catches for 81 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown and a key third-down reception that sustained FSU's winning drive.

"We're ridiculously deep at wide receiver," Robinson said. "We're pretty banged up ... but we're just so deep, I don't see how we could possibly not fill that void. We've got guys who not only are potentially good, but guys who have done it."

Look for Chris Davis , the former St. Petersburg Catholic star, and freshman De'Cody Fagg to see a few more throws come their way if Thorpe and/or Stovall are out.

INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Paul Irons sprained his right ankle and linebacker Marcello Church , the former Lakewood High star, bruised his chest in Saturday's game.

SPEAKING OF IRONS ... : Although FSU coaches granted Irons permission to attend today's swearing in of his mother, Paulette , as a civil court judge in New Orleans, he will miss it. Judge Irons said her son wanted to be in Tallahassee in time for the late afternoon practice, which meant he would have had to leave the ceremony early, and the plane ticket was expensive.

"He can watch the tape," she said.

BOWDEN'S LAST WORD: "We just as easily could be 7-0 right now as we are 6-1. And we could just as easily be probably 5-2 or 4-3 as we are right now. ... I think we probably should feel very fortunate our record's as good as it is under the circumstances because it could have been the other way.'"

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