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September 30, 2008

ASI Insider: Piurowski's return big for offense

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Piurowski happy to be back (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

Watching and waiting got old for Florida State tight end Caz Piurowski. After a four-game suspension, he wanted to get out and do. On Saturday, he got out and did -- and led the Seminoles in receiving yards in his first game back.

"I didn't know I did that until after the game," Piurowski said. "I guess that's the first time a tight end's done that in a while, I'd imagine. It's pretty neat for that to happen."

Piurowski was one of several FSU football players who had to wait until the Colorado game to see action, part of their punishment for their part in the athletic department's academic misconduct situation. The team couldn't have been happier that Piurowski, the Seminoles' most experienced tight end, was back on the field.

And Piurowski couldn't have been happier to contribute rather than watch from the stands.

"It felt great," he said. "I was pumped up in the locker room, just being able to travel with the team. It's a great feeling to do everything, go to meetings and stuff.

"Usually, they're not too fun," Piurowski added, "but it was a thrill in being a part of everything we did."

Piurowski made the most of his first game back, catching three passes for 33 yards. Quarterback Christian Ponder found Piurowski in crucial situations, as two of his three catches went for first downs.

"I feel like we do have a good connection," Piurowski said of Ponder. "We've worked all through the summer and we're friends off the field. We knew going into the game that the tight ends would be open on some routes, on third downs and some crucial situations."

Former roommates now opponents (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

Corey Surrency and Kanye Farquharson have a lot in common. They both grew up in South Florida. Neither played high school football, but both got a second chance through El Camino Community College and earned Division I scholarships.

Now they'll face off this Saturday, when Surrency's Seminoles play Farquharson's Miami Hurricanes.

Surrency and Farquharson both know what it's like to sacrifice for their dreams. The two shared a one-bedroom apartment with several others while they attended El Camino. But Surrency said he'd never trade that experience.

"That was the funnest time of my life," Surrency said, "being in California, meeting some dudes I never met before and becoming like brothers.

"We keep in contact on the phone and stuff like that," Surrency continued. "Now we're playing Division I football and that's great."

The two still talk to each other on the phone and offer good-natured trash talking. And both could be big targets this Saturday. Farquharson is the Hurricanes' top receiver, while Surrency, though quiet in the last two games, began his FSU career with a bang.

But both of them know that it was those years at El Camino that allow them to stand on opposite sides of the field this weekend.

"If I see him in the middle of warm-ups, I might go over and talk to him and say, 'Remember when we were at El Camino in Murdock Stadium doing this and doing that?'" he said. "It's something we can look back on and laugh about."

Ty Jones healthy and ready (By Gene Williams, Warchant.com)

One of Florida State's best kept secrets on offensive may finally be revealed this weekend.

Freshman running back Ty Jones was the talk of preseason practice and he promptly showed his ability in FSU's first game. On his second carry against Western Carolina, the former two-star recruit from Tampa Middleton High School broke off a nifty 24-yard run. Unfortunately on that same run Jones sprained his left ankle and he hasn't seen the field since.

With his ankle on the mend, he was all set to return to the lineup against Colorado last weekend but shortly before pregame warm-ups began to feel ill.

"I was feeling kind of sick so that was my setback," Jones told Warchant.com. "I wasn't feeling too well, it was my stomach. I think it was something I ate."

With a good day of practice on Tuesday, Jones has now been taking part in the regular practice routine for over a week and says his ankle is 85 to 90 percent recovered. With his illness behind him and his ankle nearly fully recovered the 5-foot-11, 215-pound back expects to be back on the field for Saturday's game against Miami.

"It's going to be a big game for me," Jones said. "It's going to be fun to get out there and play and it will be exciting for me."

Jones and the rest of the Seminole backs will have a difficult task as Miami ranks seventh nationally against the run giving up just 65 yards a game on the ground. Meanwhile, FSU ranks in the top 20 running the ball and have racked up an average of 212 yards a game on the ground. So it should be strength versus strength this Saturday.

"It's going to be real important (to establish the running game)," Jones said. "That's what is going to be our game because there's going to be a lot of blitzing going on but we'll still have to get the running game going."

Coley one of few that will miss the Orange Bowl (By Ira Schoffel, Osceola)

James Coley is only in his first year on the Seminoles' coaching staff, but he has a unique perspective on the Florida State-Miami rivalry.

Coley grew up in Little Havana, just two blocks from the Orange Bowl. As a youth, he made extra cash by parking cars on game days and sometimes selling chairbacks inside the stadium.

Though he was there week in and week out, Coley said there was nothing like the Saturdays when Florida State would come to town.

"You could just sense it in the air," he said.

Coley and his friends could also sense it in their wallets.

"FSU was the money-maker," he said. "There were so many cars to park. We were all excited in the neighborhood, because we were able to make some money."

Though many Florida State fans are delighted that UM's games are now played in the more comfortable (and clean) Dolphins Stadium, Coley can't help but miss the old Orange Bowl.

In his younger years, he and friends would sneak in to play pick-up football games. As a quarterback at Miami High, he played his home games there. As Florida International's offensive coordinator last season, he helped lead the Panthers to a victory there against North Texas - it was the last college football game played in the Orange Bowl.

"That was my childhood," Coley said. "I walked outside, and there was the Orange Bowl. Just the thought of it not being there ..."

Though Saturday's game between the Seminoles and Hurricanes figures to be as intense as always on the field, Coley said he can't help but think that some of the aura of the game will be lost.

"With regard to the sport itself - these two teams playing - it takes nothing away," Coley said. "Their coaches are going to have their team fired up to play us. And we're going to have our guys in the right mental state to go play them.

"But with regard to the environment, I don't care what anybody says - there is nothing like the Orange Bowl."

Notables

* Moses McCray said following Tuesday's practice that he completely participated and will be available against Miami.

* Stat of the week: Miami's starting offensive line averages 321 pounds per player - Florida State's starting OL is more than 40 pound lighter per player with a 279.6 pound average.

* Patrick Robinson (back) and Tony Carter (groin) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.

* Toddrick Verdell, Dekoda Watson, and Korey Mangum all practiced in blue non-contact jerseys.

* Richard Goodman said that he still plans to play rather than take a redshirt this season.

* Center A.J. Ganguzza, who was injured in the season opener, practiced for the first time on Tuesday since his injury and was wearing a brace.

Practice Highlights: (FSU press release):

* Jermaine Thomas and Antone Smith turned in impressive runs during inside drills and the defensive highlight was a big hit by Everette Brown.

* In 1-on-1 E.J. Manuel connected with Greg Carr, Cameron Wade, Avis Commack, Rod Owens and Louis Givens. Defensively Korey Mangum, Ochuko Jenije and A.J. Alexander all broke up passes.

* When 1-on-1 moved into red zone, Bert Reed and Commack hauled in TD passes while Jenije and Commack broke up passes.

* In 7-on-7 Christian Ponder completed a couple passes each to Carr and Caz Piurowski and also connected with Taiwan Easterling. For the defense Kendall Smith and Derek Nicholson broke up passes and Roosevelt Lawson had a strip.

* While 7-on-7 was going on, the lines worked against one another on the upper field. Brown dominated with three sacks while Budd Thacker, Kevin McNeil, Moses McCray and Justin Mincey all got to the QB as well. Ryan McMahon had a good drill winning four battles, Rodney Hudson won two and Jacob Stanley, Brandon Davis and David Spurlock all got a win as well.

* In the final drill (11-on-11) Ponder hit Carr on a deep ball. Defensively Myron Rolle had a tackle for loss. Markus White had a QB pressure as did Paul Griffin. Neefy Moffett had a QB pressure and he batted down a pass at the line.


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