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October 11, 2008

ASI Insider: Jones has a lot to overcome

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Overcoming an illness (By Gene Williams, Warchant.com)

He's only been on campus for a few months, but Ty Jones has been through a lot already.

After being one of the biggest surprises of two-a-day practices, the former two-star running back sprained his ankle on just his second carry in FSU's season opener. Jones' ankle is now healthy but a childhood illness has flared up and impaired his ability to return to the form that had the coaches buzzing in the preseason.

Jones suffers from Type 1 diabetes which has become a major issue for him over the past couple months.

"It's real tough," Jones told Warchant.com. "With practice, I have to do it and it's kind of hard. It's killing me but I've got to make it through. The trainers have been on my back about it and I'm doing pretty good now."

It got so bad a couple weeks ago that Jones, who reported to FSU this summer at 210 pounds, saw his weight drop to 185 pounds, the lightest he's been since his freshman year in high school. He has since put five pounds back on his 5-foot-11 frame but he admits he still has a ways to go.

The former Tampa (FL) Middleton standout points to his change in lifestyle and diet since he moved to Tallahassee this past summer as the cause for his diabetes flaring up.

"I think that's part of the issue because back home my grandma had nice meals for me," Jones said. "Up here when I have dinner and stuff sometimes I don't eat the right food and that hurt me a lot."

After weeks of seeing his weight drop and battling fatigue, Jones says he is back on the right track thanks to the help of trainers, the team nutritionist and a dietitian.

"I've been eating better and working out. That's going to help me," he said. "I feel a whole lot better right now. I just have to eat right, keep up with my diet and keep up with my diabetes."

Fortunately for Jones he doesn't have to look far to seek advice on his illness. Head coach Bowden was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2001 and the two recently had a conversation about the illness they have in common.

"He just told me I have to keeping doing things right or I could lose my leg or get my toes amputated and stuff like that," Jones said. "That scared me a lot so I'm going to make sure I keep up with it."

Despite still being in recovery mode, Jones has been taking part in practice and expects to be ready to play in next Thursday's NC State game.

The American Diabetes Association defines type 1 diabetes: "(T)he body does not produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. Complications of diabetes may include heart and kidney disease and eye damage if it is not properly treated on a daily basis."

OL meeting its goals (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden has said that his young offensive line -- the Seminoles are slated to start two sophomores, one redshirt freshman and two true freshmen against North Carolina State -- has exceeded his expectations.

Sophomore guard Rodney Hudson feels the line is meeting its own expectations. Playing for a position coach like Rick Trickett doesn't allow for setting the bar low.

"You always set your goals high," Hudson said. "You don't look at anything like, 'We can do this because we're young,' or accept anything as a disability. We expect to do good. We look at these young guys and see a lot of potential. They have to step up early and play, so it's all for the better."

The line, which doesn't feature a single junior or senior in its N.C. State two-deep roster, was considered in the preseason to be FSU's weak link. Yet the group is paving the way for the Seminoles' best offensive performance in years, especially in the running game.

Entering the weekend, the Seminoles ranked 15th nationally in rushing offense, averaging nearly 226 yards per game. This, after finishing last season ranked 91st in rushing. Hudson, a preseason All-ACC lineman and twice named ACC lineman of the week this season, said one key to effective run blocking is better technique -- a quicker first step and the ability to put his helmet in the right spot.

There's another aspect just as important, if not moreso: The desire to kick the tail of the defender in front of him.

"It's probably more of that, because you have to think, 'You ain't getting my ballcarrier," he said. "Then again, you have to use technique to get that block."

Hudson said he can't pick one young lineman out of the group as one who has matured the most. As tough as it is to jump right into the rotation as a first-year player, he feels all of them have improved greatly.

"I wouldn't really single out one of them, because all of them are doing well," he said. "It's really hard when you first get here and you're automatically second team or first team, just by default, because you don't have that many guys. But all of them have come a long way."

Richardson back in the fold (By Corey Dowlar, Warchant.com)

Coming into the season, D'Vontrey Richardson was firmly entrenched as the second team quarterback behind Christian Ponder. Unfortunately for the redshirt sophomore signal-caller, he missed some practice and as a result fell to third string on the depth chart.

Now the dual-threat quarterback is back and working hard in practice.

"It has been good," Richardson said. "I'm just trying to get out there and focus - trying to compete."

With the recent success of Ponder on the field, the coaches have not rushed Richardson back. Instead, it has been a gradual process of getting re-acclimated.

"I am fine now," Richardson said. "I am ready to get back into things. Hopefully, they are going to try to slide me in there and get me back into the hang of things.

"It's Christian and Drew (Weatherford), and whenever they need a breather or something, they will slide me in there and get me comfortable again."

The last time the Seminoles traveled to Raleigh on a Thursday night, the outcome wasn't what they hoped for. Richardson explained that if the team remains focused, they should be able to take care of business this time around.

"We have to be more prepared," he said. "We have to go out there and play our game. We're not going to worry about the fans like we did at Miami. If we do that, we will be just fine."

Notables

* Bobby Bowden said Patrick Robinson, who missed the last game with an injury, was back at practice and looked good.

* Dekoda Watson, Tony Carter, Michael Ray Garvin, Patrick Robinson and Benjamin Lampkin practiced in blue non-contact jerseys.

* FSU is scheduled to complete a rare Sunday practice tomorrow afternoon.


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