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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Backup Lee impresses in stint against Duke
By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published October 27, 2005
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said the biggest plus about playing a team like Duke is that it usually affords him the opportunity to give a lot of players valuable game experience.
Case in point: Heralded redshirt freshman quarterback Xavier Lee.
After not getting in against Virginia, Lee not only played about two quarters last weekend, but he got in when there was a bit of suspense. FSU led 14-0 when Lee came into the game in the waning minutes of the opening quarter.
He completed 10 of 17 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns and rushed three times for 42 yards.
"I feel good," Lee said after FSU's 55-24 win. "I've got a lot more confidence, and I was glad I got to go out there for a few more series than normal."
Bowden said: "I thought he did a real good job. He got some good experience, but the thing about it is, ( Drew) Weatherford's not going backward."
That means that barring an injury or a bevy of miscues, don't look for Bowden to pull the former Land O'Lakes star from any close game as he expects the last four (Maryland, North Carolina State, Clemson and Florida) to be.
"He's finding the open receiver; that's the most important thing," Bowden said of Weatherford. "He'll sit in that pocket as long as he can and then he finds that open guy. He's just playing so much better than I thought he would at this stage of the game."
A GOOD SIGN: Sophomore kicker Gary Cismesia, who has had some inconsistency in his brief career, hit both of his field goals last week, one a career-long 49-yarder.
"That was very good and I hope it's good for his confidence," Bowden said. "I don't know if there's anything more frustrating than to get the ball and drive it and get down in the red zone and say you can't score a touchdown, at least let's get out of here with three, and then miss it."
FSU missed three attempts (41, 52 and 45 yards) in last year's 20-17 loss at Maryland.
A BID FOR TIME: Freshman tailback Antone Smith's dazzling performance Saturday, seven carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yard score on which he broke five tackles, might just have earned a bit more playing time, Bowden said.
LEAGUE FIRST: In cross country, it's gratifying to win a league title, but you don't want to compromise your chances at an NCAA region, the ticket to the NCAA championships. But even if he wanted to, FSU coach Bob Braman knows he won't be able to hold his guys back Monday at the ACC championship meet in Tallahassee.
The men's team, which never has won the meet, finished second to perennial power North Carolina State by a single point. That cost FSU the "triple crown;" the FSU men won both the indoor and outdoor track and field league championships. This year, Virginia seems to be the major challenger.
"All I can do is keep their training proper so we don't run out of gas, but there's no way I could try to check down their emotions," Braman said. "They're going to be sky high to try to win this one."
STRONG FINISH: The soccer team (15-2-0), ranked No. 5 by SoccerBuzz, closes out the regular season Saturday at Clemson looking for a seventh straight ACC win. Other than North Carolina, no team has won as many consecutive ACC games since 1995.
"I guess it kind of is (a surprise)," first-year coach Mark Krikorian said of a team that had lost most of its veteran goal scorers through graduation or transfer and has relied a large group of international players he brought with him.
Well, maybe not anymore. FSU (7-2-0 in the league) could match its best ACC finish (second in 2003); it's tied for second with Virginia, which owns the head-to-head tiebreaker, heading into next week's ACC Tournament.