Fisher expects Auden Tate, Matthew Thomas to return against Wake Forest

Ryan S. Clark, Lead Beat Writer
Warchant

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Gene Williams/Warchant

Florida State should have linebacker Matthew Thomas and receiver Auden Tate available for Saturday's game against Wake Forest, coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters Thursday.

Thomas, a redshirt senior, sustained a back injury in last Saturday's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State. Fisher said Thomas, who led the Seminoles in tackles last season, was an active participant through the entire week of practice.

Although Fisher was firm about Thomas' status, he was a little more apprehensive about Tate.

Fisher has listed Tate as "day-to-day" this week as he recovers from a shoulder injury. After catching a pass late in the third quarter, Tate fell hard on his shoulder and never returned.

"Auden practiced a little bit, did some things Tuesday. Practiced a little bit yesterday, practiced today," Fisher said. "As of right now, I'm going to still say day-to-day, questionable because of guys like that but right now, he practiced today and did everything right."

Tate's return would be welcomed as the Seminoles (0-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) seek to find some rhythm on offense against the Demon Deacons (4-0, 1-0 ACC). FSU's offense has only mustered two offensive touchdowns and both were caught by Tate.

He leads the Seminoles with 11 receptions for 179 yards. Tate is one of two receivers with 10 or more catches with sophomore Keith Gavin being the other. He's also one of two receivers with more than 100 yards, joining George Gampbell who has 106 yards.

Fisher reiterated the team has also used the week to develop its younger receivers while gradually working Tate back into the fold.

Getting Tate back becomes a priority given true freshman quarterback James Blackman is making his second career start and first on the road.

The same applies for getting Thomas back on the field

Several items led to FSU's depth taking a hit at linebacker against N.C. State. Senior Jacob Pugh was ejected for targeting while Thomas left the game with an injury.

Fisher said Pugh, who will miss the first half Saturday, took reps but they also found ways to work in the team's younger linebackers. He also said sophomore Dontavious Jackson was also able to practice this week.

Jackson, who has been on the mend since the last few weeks of preseason camp, has not featured for the Seminoles this season.

"D-Jack's had a good week this week," Fisher said of Jackson. "He practiced better. Had been sick, then got hurt and was out there for about three weeks right before the first game and never was healthy. ... He's getting back in shape and hopefully, he'll get back and get some reps in there too."

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