By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 15, 2002
TALLAHASSEE -- Having lost running backs Greg Jones and Willie Reid and offensive lineman Montrae Holland to injuries, Florida State is faced with losing center Antoine Mirambeau.
Mirambeau injured his knee Sept. 26 against Louisville but has continued to play. He aggravated the injury last weekend against Georgia Tech. Mirambeau spent Thursday with doctors, and his game status will be determined Saturday.
"We don't think it's anything serious, but we'll work him before the ballgame and find out," coach Bobby Bowden said.
If Mirambeau cannot play, sophomore David Castillo will start. If Mirambeau starts, Castillo still will get extended playing time.
MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO: Bowden gave freshman running back Lorenzo Booker a 50-50 chance at playing, depending on how senior Nick Maddox and his backups perform.
"If we ain't moving the ball, then he goes," Bowden said of Booker. "If we are moving it, then we've got to make that decision."
Maddox (sprained ankle) did not practice. He worked out and said he felt good and expects to be healthy Saturday.
WELCOME HOME: Quarterback Adrian McPherson has some extra motivation for beating the Tar Heels, beyond last year's 41-9 loss.
"It was real hard for me to watch that game because we lost, but also because I've got a real good friend that plays at UNC and he was following me up and down the sidelines talking to me the whole game," McPherson said.
McPherson is close to UNC receiver Jawarski Pollack. Both went to Southeast High in Bradenton, but that doesn't stop the two from trash talking.
"I called him two days ago and he told me that (UNC) was going to shock the world," McPherson said.
-- JASON SCHNEIDER
GAINESVILLE -- With No. 1 wide receiver Taylor Jacobs a game-time decision, it's possible cornerback Keiwan Ratliff could play on offense Saturday against South Carolina.
Ratliff was recruited as a wide receiver. Because of depth at that position in 2000, Ratliff moved to cornerback.
This season, offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher had considered using the junior more in the offense. Ratliff has had a chronic sore shoulder, however, and those plans had to be nixed.
Ratliff's role on offense has been limited this season. He caught two passes for 18 yards Saturday against Vanderbilt, when Jacobs did not play.
KICKING QUESTIONS: Coach Ron Zook has not said who will punt. Tampa native Jason Hunter, Sean Morton and Ingle Martin have practiced this week. "I wish I could tell you," Zook said. " ... We've got some things in the kicking game I'd rather not talk about."
-- JILL MARTIN
TAMPA -- South Florida will play its final home game of the season Saturday with high stakes.
USF (7-2) and Bowling Green (8-1), No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, are hoping to receive a bowl bid, but their respective chances will take a big hit with a loss.
Also, the Bulls are looking to extend their 18-game home winning streak, tied for second-longest in the nation with Texas.
"It comes up, usually not from me, but you'll hear the players talk about that," coach Jim Leavitt said. "I really don't think about it. People come up and talk about the streak, and it goes in one ear and out the other."
ADVANTAGE BULLS?: If results against a common opponent are relevant, USF has an edge.
The Bulls beat Northern Illinois 37-6 on Sept. 7, and Bowling Green lost to the Huskies 26-17 last weekend, spoiling the Falcons' bid for a perfect season.
The loss likely cost Bowling Green a shot at playing in the Mid-American Conference title game. UNI would have to lose its last two games for the Falcons to represent the MAC West. -- PETE YOUNG
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