May 20, 2004 - by
Florida State Football Position Analysis: Running Backs

May 20, 2004

The departure of a three-year starter at running back from any program is difficult to overcome, but FSU’s practice of playing a lot of players at each position should pay dividends during this transition. Greg Jones literally left big shoes to fill, but Seminole coaches are excited about the versatility that Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker bring to the offense.

Bobby Bowden’s appreciation for junior Leon Washington has been no secret as he has called him perhaps the most valuable player on the team. Washington starred primarily on special teams as a freshman and established himself as one of the nation’s top return specialists as a sophomore last year. He also managed to finish second among all FSU rushers with 387 yards on 74 carries (5.2 yards per carry). He will enter the fall listed at first team tailback and with the complete confidence of the FSU coaching staff. Sure-handed as a receiver and a surprisingly effective runner between the tackles, Washington should excel with more opportunities.

Sophomore Lorenzo Booker is also sure to see a lot of action at tailback and his game has been described by experts as polished. Certainly his 334 yards gained on 62 carries a year ago were enough to convince FSU fans that getting him the ball was a good idea. Booker also managed 10 catches for 86 yards out of the backfield and his open field elusiveness leads to big plays. He got the bulk of the work this spring as Washington was out with an injury, and the two should play complimentary roles in exhausting a defense in 2004.

Depth is an issue at tailback with walk-on Marlon Napier the only other returning player listed at the position entering the fall drills. The incoming freshman class will supply Jamaal Edwards (6-0, 202) and Lamar Lewis (5-9, 188) who could see playing time if injuries play a part.

Depth is not an issue at fullback where juniors B.J. Dean and James Coleman shared starting honors a year ago. Dean will enter the fall listed at first team and he has proven he can produce in the big games. Coleman came on strong as a sophomore last year and won playing time with his blocking skills on the practice field. Both are reliable veterans at the position. Sophomore Torrance Washington missed all of last year with an injury and he will use the preseason to reestablish himself and push for playing time. Junior Chad Canfield played on most special teams and saw limited playing time at fullback last year, but he has the ability and mentality to play the position.

35 B.J. Dean 5-11 258 JR
36 James Coleman 6-0 245 JR
20 Torrance Washington 6-1 241 SO
49 Chad Canfield 5-10 236 JR

3 Leon Washington 5-9 202 JR
28 Lorenzo Booker 5-11 187 SO
22 Marlon Napier 5-9 211 SR

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