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© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2002


Buffs lose QB for season

Buffs lose QB for season

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado quarterback Craig Ochs has decided not to play again this season after his third concussion in the past year.

Ochs hasn't played since he was hurt against San Diego State on Sept. 7. Tests came back normal but Ochs advised coach Gary Barnett on Monday that he won't play the rest of the season.

Ochs, a junior who has started since his freshman year, will apply for a redshirt for this season. He also will withdraw as a student from Colorado and relinquish his athletic scholarship.

In a statement, Ochs said he will reevaluate his options for returning next season.

"I was very surprised," Barnett said. "We totally respect his decision and it was a family decision all the way. He wants to pull himself out and see if he can get himself healthy.

"I don't know that Craig's career is over, but it is for this year. He is stepping away, that's what it is. I think this whole thing has been hard on him because he is such a competitor and he wants to play."

Backup quarterback Robert Hodge has started in Ochs' place. After a poor performance in a 40-3 loss to USC, Hodge helped the Buffs (2-2) upset No. 20 UCLA 31-17 on Saturday.

Six of Colorado's assistant were recruiting Monday. Asked if the staff must now assume that Ochs won't return and that the recruiting emphasis must change accordingly, Barnett said, "I think we probably have to proceed that way."

* * *

GEORGIA TECH: Running back Tony Hollings, who leads Division I-A in rushing and scoring, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.

Also, Hollings was named the ACC's offensive back of the week after rushing for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets' defeat of BYU.

"Any time you lose a back the caliber of Tony Hollings, it certainly affects your team," coach Chan Gailey said. "We're all disappointed for Tony because he had basically come out of nowhere to become the leading rusher in the nation."

With backups Sidney Ford and Gordon Clinkscale injured, Georgia Tech probably will start freshman Ajenavi Eziemefe at tailback Saturday against North Carolina. Georgia Tech hosts Florida State on Nov. 9.

KENTUCKY: Athletic director Mitch Barnhart extended Guy Morriss' contract through the 2007 season.

Morriss took over the program in February 2001 after the abrupt resignation of Hal Mumme amid internal and NCAA investigations into dozens of recruiting violations. The team got a three-year probation, a one-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

Kentucky went 2-9 in Morriss' first season but is off to its best start in 18 years with a nationally televised game at Florida on Saturday.

"We wanted to begin a special week of preparation for our football team with a very special announcement," said Barnhart, who was hired this summer to manage an overhaul of the athletic department.

Morriss originally accepted a one-year, $400,000 contract from former athletic director Larry Ivy.

That deal was extended through the 2005 season several months later by university president Lee Todd, although a performance clause allowed the school or Morriss to void the deal on an annual basis.

MICHIGAN STATE: Receiver Charles Rogers, who bruised his ribs Saturday in a 21-17 loss to Notre Dame, expects to play this weekend against Northwestern.

"If there was a game today, I wouldn't play," Rogers said. "But the good thing about it is we don't play until Saturday."

The game at Spartan Stadium will be the Big Ten opener for both teams.

N.C. STATE: Freshman T.A. McLendon, who ran for 150 yards and had five touchdowns against Texas Tech on Saturday, was named a starter.

"He's just a delight to watch play," coach Chuck Amato said.

Amato said preseason starter Greg Golden will move back to defensive back.

McLendon was to start Saturday, but was late for the team bus.

"It shows you how good he really is," Amato said when asked about McLendon's adjustment from a small high school to big-time college ball in a matter of months. "Bo Jackson played in a I-A league and Herschel Walker played in a I-A league. So, why can't it happen (to T.A.)."

S.C. STATE: Running back Derek Watson was suspended by coach Buddy Pough, a day after his arrest for reckless driving.

"Derek has been suspended from the football team indefinitely," Pough said.

Watson was charged by Richland County (S.C.) sheriff's deputies with driving left of the center line on a secondary road about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Sgt. Chris Cowan. Watson also was charged with driving with a suspended license, a second offense.

Watson is still enrolled, spokesman Bill Hamilton said. Hamilton said Pough did not want to discuss whether Watson would take part in practices or team activities during the suspension.

"I will continue to gather details related to the incident and meet with Derek again before determining a final course of action," Pough said.

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