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Gator coaches spend bye week critiquing calls

By ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 28, 2002

GAINESVILLE -- With fifth-ranked Georgia next on its schedule, the Florida coaching staff spent the off week taking a hard look at itself.

Coach Ron Zook said Sunday he and the staff examined everything that has gone well for the Gators this season -- and all the things that have not.

"We did a study this week," Zook said. "We felt it was important that we go back and we look at some plays that we've given up. ... We've gone back and said, 'What do we do best on offense, what do we do best on defense and what do we do best in the kicking game?' And those are the things we want to make sure we expound on."

Florida (5-3, 3-2 SEC) faces Georgia (8-0, 5-0) at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.

The Gators, ranked eighth nationally in pass defense (157.75 yards), will be challenged by Georgia's two-quarterback system featuring David Greene and D.J. Shockley. They combined for a school-record six TD passes and 353 yards against Kentucky Saturday.

"I think the 1-2 combination of the quarterbacks was impressive and it will definitely be a challenge for our defense," Zook said.

* * *

HEALING TIME: The week off gave several players time to heal, including quarterback Rex Grossman, who sprained his right knee in the Oct.12 loss to LSU and played with a brace in the Oct.19 win over Auburn. Running back Earnest Graham is nursing a "bummed up" ankle, Zook said, and safety Todd Johnson (bruised thigh) and defensive end Marcus Oquendo-Johnson (ankle) missed the Auburn game. All are expected to play Saturday. Georgia coach Mark Richt said junior tailback Musa Smith (thumb) will play Saturday, but offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb (knee) and receiver Fred Gibson (thumb) are questionable.

Around the nation

AP POLL: Notre Dame rose two to No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 and got its first No.1 vote since 1997. The Fighting Irish beat Florida State 34-24 Saturday, dropping the Seminoles from 11th to 18th.

The top three didn't change: Miami, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech. The Irish moved past two other undefeated teams, bumping Ohio State to sixth. Georgia remained at No. 5.

The Hurricanes lost two first-place votes and the Sooners picked up one for 14. Rounding out the Top 10 are Texas, Washington State, Iowa and N.C. State. Iowa is in the Top 10 for the first time since 1991.

CLARETT INJURY: Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett should be able to play against Minnesota on Saturday after reinjuring his shoulder in the 13-7 win over Penn State.

OVC RECORDS: Murray State's Brian Bivens was named special-teams player of the week in the Ohio Valley Conference after setting two conference records. Bivens' first punt Saturday against Southeast Missouri traveled 90 yards, a school and conference record. The senior followed with a 57-yard punt, averaging a conference record 73.5 yards in the 38-31 win.

COMPLETED GAME: Richmond beat host Rhode Island 26-0 Sunday, completing a game that was suspended at halftime Saturday because the field was flooded by a sudden storm.

Late Saturday

FAMU 34, NORFOLK STATE 31: Reggie Hayes threw a 25-yard TD pass to Maurice Demps with 2:20 left to lift the visiting Rattlers. Hayes' winning pass came two minutes after Anthony Owens returned a kickoff 88 yards to put the Spartans up 31-27. Casey Printers completed 27-of-44 for 299 yards and three TDs for Florida A&M.

WASHINGTON ST. 21, ARIZONA 13: Jason Gesser became the career leader in total offense for the visiting Cougars. He completed 20-of-36 for 275 yards, including a 16-yard TD pass to Devard Darling, who transferred from FSU. Gesser topped Jack Thompson's school record for total offense and moved past Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf into second on the career passing list -- 228 yards behind Thompson's 7,818.

ARIZONA ST. 27, WASHINGTON 16: Defensive end Terrell Suggs had 41/4 sacks as the Sun Devils shut down the nation's third-best passing offense. Washington quarterback Cody Pickett's string of 300-yard games ended at seven as he was limited to 210 yards. Suggs has 171/2 sacks this season, tying Syracuse's Dwight Freeney (2001) for most in the nation.

-- Information from Times wires used in this report.

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