- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Senior Chris Thompson has looked sharp during Florida State's fall practice, and, 11 months after breaking two bones in his back, he continues to get the majority of the first-team reps.
While Thompson appears set to hold the nominal role of starter at tailback, sophomore James Wilder Jr. believes it'll be running-back-by-committee throughout the season for FSU.
"I think [the coaches] are going to keep us on the field, everybody," Wilder said. "We're going to be a team that rotates."
Wilder, who had 35 carries last season, said the rotation at tailback should be an advantage for a Seminoles running game that struggled badly at times in 2011 -- particularly down the stretch. Florida State finished with fewer than 65 rushing yards in three of its final four games last season.
"We'll have fresh legs like we've barely been playing," Wilder said. "I think it'll be great, and toward midseason I think we'll be fresh and it'll help our team towards the end of the season."
The varying skill sets of FSU's three tailbacks should make for an interesting mix, too.
The 6-foot-2 Wilder said he's likely to be the team's top short-yardage and goal-line option going into the season, while Thompson and Devonta Freeman should excel on first and second down and in passing situations.
But Wilder said FSU is focused on ensuring personnel won't dictate play calling.
"We try to not set it up like, oh, Wilder's in so he's going to run it up the middle," he said. "The defense will think I'm a power back, but I'll go out on a wheel route. Or Chris is the smallest guy, and they'll think he's going to run the stretch, but we'll give him a draw up the middle. And Freeman -- well, you can do anything with Freeman. We all have different skills sets but we want to set it up where we're comfortable in different situations."
Stork, Watson return: Right tackle Menelik Watson returned to practice Tuesday after missing two straight days with a stinger near his shoulder, but Daniel Glauser took the bulk of the reps with the first-team offense.
Before the injury, Watson had been working exclusively with the No. 1 unit for nearly a week, with Glauser largely relegated to the second-team offense. But the setback for Watson gave Glauser a chance to step up, and Jimbo Fisher said Monday he still considered the job an open competition between the two junior college transfers.
Meanwhile, center Bryan Stork was back at work, too. He sat out Monday's practice with a minor neck injury, but he appeared at full go during early workouts Tuesday. Austin Barron did take several reps with the first-team offense during walk-throughs, however.
Extra points: Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is still sporting a knee brace after sitting out three practices with a minor injury last week, but he was back to full contact work Tuesday. With Anthony McCloud's availability for Week 1 in question, and Jacobbi McDaniel expected to redshirt, Goldman could be in line for significant playing time against Murray State. ... Wide receiver Marvin Bracy continues to improve after a nagging hamstring injury. Fisher said his workload has increased each day for the past week. ... Defensive backs Terrence Brooks, Colin Blake and Keelin Smith were all in non-contact jerseys, but all participated in workouts.
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