Freshman step into limelight for Seminoles

Published October 22, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - The multitude of mistakes that proved to be the Seminoles' tipping point in defeat did not rest on the shoulders of their freshmen.

Thanks to a long list of injuries, four freshmen started on a defensive unit that held Boston College to three second-half points.

Defensive tackle Doug "Budd" Thacker, defensive end Kevin McNeil, linebacker Dekoda Watson and rover Myron Rolle got the nod against the ACC's second-ranked offense, and aside from a 1-yard touchdown drive after a FSU turnover in the second quarter, the defense allowed just 10 points.

"The young guys played pretty well," said senior linebacker Buster Davis, the defensive captain. "I'm very happy with the young guys on my team and with a defense that overall has played pretty well.

"We had some slipups, but we were put in some very tough situations. And you know how that goes."

The four totaled 14 tackles. Watson, 6 feet 2 and 225 pounds from Aiken, S.C., led with eight. Rolle, 6-2, 218 pounds from Galloway, N.J., and the only one with multiple starts this season, totaled five.

"It's always good to get out there and play," Thacker said. "I just want to go out there and do what I can to get us the win. I'm here to play for the team."

Thacker, a 6-2, 275-pounder from Sanford, started in place of defensive end-turned-tackle Alex Boston, a junior who was out with a sprained left ankle.

"I was very pleased with what (the freshmen) were able to do," coach Bobby Bowden said. "I thought what (Boston College) would do is take the ball and stick it at us and we might not be able to physically stand up. And they did that some on us. But we did better than I thought."

Keeping his defensive players upright has been hard enough through seven games. Eight starters and second-teamers were unavailable Saturday, including four who started the opener against Miami.

"Personally, I know Budd played an awesome game," said junior defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, who was next to Thacker on the line for the majority of the game. "All the freshman went out there and played exactly like they were supposed to. They played Florida State defense."