Florida State starters ailing as Citadel suspends cut-blocking OL

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Playing FCS programs is a way of life for most major football programs, which often treat the matchups against overmatched opponents like an NFL preseason game.

No. 1-rated Florida State was expected to run over The Citadel last week as a result but, in the end, found the score closer (37-12) than expected and the injury list much longer than head coach Jimbo Fisher wanted.

As it turns out, that was by design on the part of the Bulldogs and at least one player is paying the price. On Tuesday, the school suspended guard Victor Hill after he posted on social media that the offensive line had planned to go for the knees of Seminoles defensive linemen and contribute to the opposing injury list.

"After speaking at length on multiple occasions with Victor and careful review of video footage of our game from this past Saturday night, I have found no purposeful intent to injure from Victor or by any other member of our football program," Citadel head coach Mike Houston said in a statement. "In the eight months that I have been the head football coach at The Citadel, I have observed Victor up to this point to be a morally good person. I do not condone his statement or what was implied by his words."

The Bulldogs run the triple-option on offense and their propensity to cut-block was a talking point heading into last Saturday's game.

Florida State's starting defensive tackles Eddie Goldman and Nile Lawrence-Stample -- both potential NFL draft picks down the road -- and backup Justin Shanks all suffered lower-leg injuries in the game. Fisher told reporters after practice on Tuesday that all three were listed as day-to-day and sat out of practice.

"I felt like they were playing a little dirty, taking cheap shots," defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. told the Tallahassee Democrat. "You know, doing little high-lows, things like that.

"Every option team does it. They love to cut. They do cut work just like a quarterback does a five-step drop. That's what they were taught to do. I don't necessarily think they were taught to do high-lows. But they did it numerous times. I didn't feel like the ref was calling that."

Based on last week's game, it's probably safe to say that The Citadel won't be appearing on Florida State's schedule in the near future.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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