It's been nearly two years since FSU faithful woke up to find Fred Rouse no longer a Nole. "Conduct detrimental to the team" sent him packing to UTEP (Texas El-Paso) where he sat out the 2006 season. So when Fred finally got back on the field, did the nation's top WR out of high school tear up Conference USA?
Not exactly. Fred snagged 25 passes for 379 yards and 2 TDs, one for 76 yards. Where the Tallahassee Lincoln product excelled was as the Miners kickoff return specialist, averaging 21.8 per with a long of 67 yards.
"Fred had to deal with a nagging ankle injury for most of the season which limited his practice time and productivity. He was accepted by his teammates, as far as we know, as was another former Seminole, Lorne Sam. Sam was a great impact player, though he dealt with some injuries of his own, and I know Miners fans are looking for more of the same as Rouse gets healthy in the off-season.
We only got a few flashes of Fred's ability, but there are some guys that you see and you just know -- he's explosive. Fred Rouse is one of those. That ability is something that may have hurt him -- not that he took plays off thinking he was too good; rather, he may have been trying too hard to harness that ability to break every catch or kick return for a touchdown.
UTEP fans are looking forward to seeing Fred be more himself next year. If he shows his body is healed and he goes hard in spring, he'll easily be UTEP's version of T.O. by fall."
Speaking of Sam, the former Nole ended his senior year at UTEP with 42 catches for 589 yards and one TD. Sam actually threw for more TDs than he caught, passing for two scores, but only 144 yards in limited action at QB.
No hard feelings? After transferring in 2006, Rouse told Scout.com, “I was frustrated there (in Tallahassee). I kind of feel the coaches misled me because they were always on me so hard if I did something wrong. Maybe the expectations were too high. I don't know. I always felt I was doing something wrong and I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't have the right attitude and I wasn't humble at all. On top of that, I ran around with the wrong crowd. There is no one to blame but me and I have learned from my mistakes."