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Around the State

By Times wires and staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2002


USF lineup just about complete

USF lineup just about complete

TAMPA -- South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said the starting lineup is almost settled for Thursday's season opener against Florida Atlantic.

On offense, quarterback Marquel Blackwell's blocking unit will consist of, from left to right, Derrick Sarosi, Shelly Houston, Alex Herron, Chris Carothers and Levi Newton. Frank Davis backs up both tackle spots and Mark Sopcik is the first reserve at guard and center.

Injuries have muddled the receiving situation, but Hugh Smith, Ryan Hearn and Brian Fisher are the top three at the two inside receiver spots, and Chris Iskra and Elgin Hicks are the starters outside, backed up by Joe Bain. DeAndrew Rubin (hamstring) and Huey Whittaker (knee) will figure prominently outside when healthy, as could Bruce Gipson (ankle) and C.J. Lewis (ribs).

Leavitt said five running backs will play. Clenton Crossley is the starter, backed up by DeJuan Green, Vince Brewer, Billy Henderson and Quinton Callum.

On defense, Chris Daley and Shurron Pierson are the ends, and Greg Walls and Tavares Jurineack are the tackles. Maurice Jones, Kawika Mitchell and Courtney Davenport are the linebackers, and nickelback John Miller replaces Davenport in passing situations.

J.R. Reed and Kevin Verpaele are the safeties, backed up by Miller and Javan Camon. Redshirt freshman D'Juan Brown will start over returning starter Maurice Tucker at one corner, and Ron Hemingway, who Leavitt said "has been having a really good camp," is ahead of Antonio Warren for the other corner.

-- PETE YOUNG

UCF holds Classic

ORLANDO -- Central Florida prepared for Saturday's season opener against Penn State, playing its 90-minute Golden Knight Classic scrimmage in pads. Coach Mike Kruczek had seniors run 37 offensive and 30 defensive drills against a scout team.

The scout team scored a touchdown against varsity. On a drive supposed to result in a field goal, Brandon Marshall caught a long TD pass from Gerry Connell. Several key players sat out, including starting quarterback Ryan Schneider (shoulder). He is expected to practice Monday.

FIU works out kinks

MIAMI -- Coach Don Strock said Florida International was able to "iron out some of the wrinkles" during practice, in preparation for the program's first game, Thursday against St. Francis (N.J.).

"We worked on our substitution patterns, just about every part of our kicking game and signaling from the sidelines and I thought everything went pretty smooth," Strock said.

Freshman defensive back Randy Arnold (strained Achilles' tendon) missed practice. Starting defensive tackle Josh Alexander (knee sprain) returned.

JU holds first scrimmage

JACKSONVILLE -- Freshman quarterback Mike Sturgill completed 8 of 12 passes and rushed for 15 yards in the Dolphins' scrimmage. Junior tailback Emmett Akins of Largo, who rushed for 397 yards last season, rushed five times for 34 yards. Senior guard Donald Mattis (sprained knee) will miss up to six weeks.

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