By Times staff writers
Published September 1, 2004
TALLAHASSEE - With the threat of a major hurricane striking this weekend, Florida State and Miami officials, with ACC commissioner John Swofford and ABC, are discussing contingency plans about rescheduling the Labor Day game.
"We all have only one goal and that's to keep people out of harm's way," FSU athletic director Dave Hart said Tuesday. "If the game's moved, the game's moved. The game is just that; it's a game. It's not people losing lives and being devastated by a terrible storm."
Some possible makeup dates, if necessary, would include Sept. 9 or Sept. 11.
Hart and Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who will be talking twice a day, said the decision will not solely be based on where the hurricane makes landfall.
"I think in some people's minds, they're erroneously thinking, "Well gee, if it doesn't hit Miami everything is fine," Hart said. "And that is not the case. The concerns transcend a specific target or path of the hurricane. It's far more complex than that."
THORPE REGAINING FORM: Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe, back from a pair of season-ending fractures in November, is close to his top form of a year ago.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said Thorpe has not lost the speed that took him to ACC sprinting titles in 2003 as a member of the track team, but his football fitness had been lagging until recently.
"The thing I want him to do is get back to practice tempo and practice effort that he had last year," Bowden said. "Having all that time off, he's lost some football shape. He can go out there and run fast, but when you put pads on and go out there for 21/2 hours and practice hard, it's really tough, especially because of the position he plays.
"(At flanker) you're sprinting all day long, and it's easy to give in to that fatigue. He was doing that early on, but I think the last two or three days his intensity level has picked up."
- BRIAN LANDMAN, Times staff writer
- ZACHARY SPAIN, Times correspondent
UF: Fresh faces expected
GAINESVILLE - Since he took over as UF coach, Ron Zook has shown he is not afraid to play his freshmen. He has used first-year players in big games, crucial moments and toward the end of lopsided victories.
This season will be no different. Zook expects several freshmen to play against Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.
With Brandon Siler, who could replace the suspended Channing Crowder as starting middle linebacker, Zook said that he expects safeties Tony Joiner and Kyle Jackson, linebacker Javier Estopinan and possibly defensive lineman Derrick Harvey all to contribute on defense Saturday.
On offense, linemen Drew Miller and Phil Trautwein, running back Markus Mansonand tight end Tate Casey will all get playing time, and, if he can recover from a nagging ankle injury, tight end Dane Guthrie could see the field as well.
STORMY WEATHER: The University Athletic Association said it will continue to monitor the latest weather information about Hurricane Frances.
If Saturday's game is canceled, the decision will not come before Thursday. The UAA has until Friday morning, when the Blue Raiders are scheduled to depart for Gainesville, to cancel the game. Both teams are scheduled to have bye weeks Oct. 16, which could make rescheduling convenient.
- BRIAN SHAFFER, Times Correspondent
USF: Freshmen returners likely to start
TAMPA - Redshirt freshmen Trae Williams and J.B. Garris are set to be USF's primary kickoff return specialists for Monday's season opener against Pittsburgh.
"I'd say if we went tomorrow, it'd probably be those two guys," said offensive coordinator Mike Hobbie, who coaches the kickoff return unit. "They've got speed and they can make people miss. It's a new group of returners, but they're athletic. They've got moves."
Both are listed as starters on USF's latest depth chart. Garris, an East Bay graduate, is listed as the team's starting Y receiver; Williams, a Durant grad, is listed ahead of redshirt freshman Mike Jenkins in a closely contested battle at left cornerback.
HE'S THE GUY: Coach Jim Leavitt said sophomore quarterback Pat Julmiste is his opening-day starter, but continued to praise senior Ronnie Banks. Julmiste isn't worried about being replaced as much as he was last year.
"I'm not looking over my shoulder," Julmiste said. "Last year there were times where I knew if I messed up I'd probably get snatched out of the game. Now I stay focused, and if I stay consistent and do what I have to do, I don't have to look over my shoulder."
IN THE FOLD: Running back Chad Simpson of Miami has not been cleared by the NCAA, and the two-week window that allows him to practice without clearance ends Thursday. Leavitt said Simpson has told him he'll stay in school and pay his way this year, joining the program as a scholarship nonqualifier in 2005, much like Armwood's Jarriett Buie.
- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer
UM: Poll spurs 'Canes
Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle said he and teammates are using the media to their advantage. Despite beating FSU five straight times, media have FSU ahead of Miami in the Associated Press poll and the preseason ACC poll.
"There's no doubt in my mind we're the No. 1 team in the nation right now," he said. "Being they have ranked Florida State above us, that's just crazy. That's going to take care of itself; I know it's going to take care of itself come Sept. 6."