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August 18, 2002
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Starter is starting to impress his coach
Brad Johnson's efforts at QB against Jacksonville elicit glowing praise from the Bucs' Jon Gruden.

Handling the heat becomes a priority
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Everyone knows about the Bucs' poor record in cold weather, but Jon Gruden is more concerned about beating the heat.

Falloff by the running game is a concern for Gruden
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Whether by design or not, the Bucs passing game came to life Friday night in a 20-0 win against the Jaguars. But it seems the running game, the same running game that ground up 182 yards against the Dolphins Monday, barely had a pulse.

Southern Fryed
This is a weekly update by Times NFL writer Darrell Fry on the Bucs' new opponents in the NFC South.

John Romano
New season, new questions about how to ride A-Train
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- His game is unlike any other in the NFL. This is the best you can say of Mike Alstott. And perhaps the worst.

Deja vu: Rays 1 out away, so far away
ROYALS 7, RAYS 3 (12): For second night Esteban Yan gives up HR in ninth. This time he loses closer job.

Sosa's turnaround is 'encouraging'
ST. PETERSBURG -- What a difference a few days can make.

Rays tales
HIGHER POWER: Desperate times can make for strange couplings -- such as an angel and a Devil (Ray). During a recent autograph session, a fan gave Andy Sheets a baseball angel pin, which he decided to stick on his batting practice cap.

Mary Jo Melone
In the face of depression, a Ray's search for healing
I'm no sportswriter, but Russ Johnson's story hit home hard.

College football
art Two for 1
With 650 wins and four national titles, FSU's Bobby Bowden and Penn State's Joe Paterno will enter coaching immortality side by side. But who will be on top? Story

Talking victories? Think of Gagliardi
Talk of coaching records should always include John Gagliardi.

UF's Williams ill from heat
GAINESVILLE -- Sophomore offensive tackle Bobby Williams was rushed from the field on a cart after suffering a heat-related illness during Florida's first scrimmage of the season Saturday.

Clemson DT Eason's heart tests negative
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson defensive tackle Nick Eason is expected back at practice after tests regarding a possible heart ailment turned up negative, the school said Saturday.

Hubert Mizell
Receivers run pattern of conceit, stupidity
What's going on with NFL receivers? Terrell Owens is arrogant and goofy. Remember his Lone Star degradation? San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci was openly angry and obviously embarrassed. I'm only sorry noted Texas butt-kicker Chuck Norris wasn't at that Cowboys game.

Superb round comes Justin time
Justin Leonard masters wintry conditions to set up a terrific chance at his 2nd major title.

Beem, confident in his knowledge of golf's rule book, avoids penalty
CHASKA, Minn. -- There it was, right on national television, for every armchair rules official to see: Rich Beem, sweeping the line of his putt on the 15th green with his hat, a two-stroke penalty according to all those who could dial in fast enough.

'One of the best shots I ever hit,' says Woods
A 202-yard fairway bunker shot over tall trees from a bad lie turns certain bogey into incredible birdie.

Wind gusts cause stir at LPGA event
VAUDREUIL-DORION, Quebec -- Catriona Matthew, a model of consistency, shot her third straight 2-under-par 70 to take the third-round lead Saturday in the LPGA's Canadian Women's Open.

Et cetera
In brief
Rivals to meet in Arena final

Fewer arbitration cases this year
NHL players and teams appear more determined to strike deals and avoid the divisiveness that is a part of salary arbitration.

L.A. makes West final a 4th year
LOS ANGELES -- The Sparks disposed of Seattle and advanced to the Western Conference final a fourth consecutive year. Lisa Leslie scored 23 as Los Angeles won 69-59 Saturday to sweep the first-round playoff series in two games.

More labor meetings, but key issues are avoided
NEW YORK -- A day after players set an Aug. 30 strike date, negotiators met twice on Saturday to discuss issues not related to the central economic differences.

Gonzalez can appreciate Ripken
At a time when players miss weeks for the slightest injury, Luis Gonzalez took pride in and has gained respect for his everyday durability.

D'backs slam Cubs in 9th
CHICAGO -- Seeing Erubiel Durazo break a tie with a grand slam in the ninth was bad enough for fans at Wrigley Field.

Rodriguez: homers 40, 41 and 42
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alex Rodriguez wasn't thinking about being in last place or the possibility of another strike. He just kept hitting the ball hard.

Soriano reaches 30-30 milestone
SEATTLE -- The Yankees' Alfonso Soriano became the only second baseman in history to post a 30-30 season when he homered in the seventh inning during Saturday's 8-3 victory against the Mariners.

Around the NFC
BEARS: Jon Hilbert helped his cause Friday against the Rams, converting his first field-goal try of the preseason from 33 yards.

Broncos' Davis to retire
DENVER -- Injury-plagued running back Terrell Davis decided to retire after seven seasons rather than go through another round of rehabilitation, his agent said Saturday.

Around the AFC
BRONCOS: The team will pay for all damages associated with a prank in the players' dormitory at the University of Northern Colorado.

Browns vow to continue searching
The Browns say they aren't done punishing fans involved in that wild bottle-throwing incident during a December game last season.

Reversal of fortune for Evernham mates
Bill Elliott is in title contention while Jeremy Mayfield struggles.

Waltrip holds off challenge from Bodine
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michael Waltrip held off a strong challenge from Todd Bodine before pulling away in the Busch Grand National race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Rule change irks non-GM camps
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- When NASCAR decided to give aerodynamic aid to Chevrolets and Pontiacs, the sanctioning body promised to re-evaluate the decision after today's Pepsi 400.

Little League
Tampa Bay falls short 5-3
Tampa Bay's dream of a Little League World Series will have to remain just that. Netherlands withstood a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to beat Tampa Bay 5-3 in the final of the Junior softball tournament Saturday in Kirkland, Wash.

10 pressing questions
The high school football season begins in less than three weeks. Leading up to preseason games, the Times will answer 10 pressing questions facing Pinellas schools.

Birds lead way to fishing riches
Go out at low tide and notice the individual characteristics of each wading or diving bird. Learning their names and habits will enhance your ability as an angler.

Daily fishing report
Fishing for barracuda offers many of the same thrills as fishing far offshore for exotic species, without the time and expense. Great barracuda are found on artificial reefs and wrecks in this area. Many of the higher profile ledges harbor larger ones.

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