Fisher praises Manuel's leadership in Duke win
EJ Manuel was injured just long enough to see some things that needed fixing.
Florida State's junior quarterback knew the Seminoles banged-up offensive line was struggling and he didn't want them to worry about protecting him and his injured shoulder against Duke. So he assured his teammates Saturday that he was mobile enough to buy some extra time.
He delivered on his promise, racking up 301 yards offense passing and running and accounting for four touchdowns in a 41-16.
''When your quarterback comes back and your leader comes back it gives you confidence all the way around, on all phases, on everything you do,'' coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday. ''When you have a definite leader like that ... he gives the team confidence. It affects everybody.''
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Manuel had not started the two previous games due to a separated left shoulder, he ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense.
Protecting him is a priority the rest of the season.
''We've got to keep him healthy and playing well,'' Fisher said.
Florida State's offensive line has been completely reshuffled since its opener. With veterans Andrew Datko and David Spurlock out with injuries, 17-year-old freshman Bobby Hart moved in at right tackle when Zebrie Sanders moved over to Datko's old spot at left tackle. Center Jacob Fahrenkrug and guard Bryan Stork switched position. But they didn't jell in a 35-30 loss at Wake Forest on Oct. 8.
''The main thing for the young guys is to have confidence,'' said Manuel, who added that his shoulder is healed and no longer sore.
The Seminoles (3-3, 1-2 ACC) return home Saturday for the first time in five weeks to host Maryland (2-4, 1-2), which lost a Saturday.
''We don't feel like we're where we want to be,'' Manuel said.
Fisher and the Seminoles received some bad news Monday when it was confirmed that junior defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel is out for the rest of the season with a broken leg and dislocated ankle. McDaniel will have surgery Tuesday.