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Tampa's Bunkley back on field for FSU after eligibility scare
Published August 16, 2005
TALLAHASSEE - Between the fall's first two-a-day practices, Florida State's defensive line finally got some good news when the Seminoles announced that tackle Brodrick Bunkley was cleared to practice Monday evening.
Stepping into the void left by first-round pick Travis Johnson , Bunkley, rated the No.9 defensive tackle in the country by the Sporting News coming into this season, toed the line of academic ineligibility for several months after the 2004 season.
A former Chamberlain High standout, Bunkley recorded 12 tackles and a sack last season in 10 games.
"Everything's good," Bunkley said. "I'm ready to get out on the field. I'm in decent shape; I'm not where I'd like to be, but I have a lot of time to do a lot of running."
Clifton Dickson , slated as the starting defensive tackle opposite Bunkley, was ruled ineligible June 7 and will not play this season.
"We will have to wait for all the grades to be posted, which could be another two weeks," coach Bobby Bowden said. "It will be good to have him back out at practice because we are so thin at that position. Bunkley brings you three years of experience."
PRACTICE REPORT: In the morning session, the first-team offense ran in a touchdown on all four chances against the second team defense in goal-line drills, and the No.1 defense stopped the second-string offense all four times.
"The (No.1 offense) should be getting better," Bowden said. "Is that good? Are you an offensive coach or a defensive coach? Defense doesn't like it and the offense does. Now when the (No.2 offense) went in there, the first defense made every stop. The first defense made every stop and the first offense made every opportunity. Maybe that's good."
ETC.: Monday evening's practice was called off because of lightning. The team held meetings instead. ... The Seminoles will begin two-a-days today.
-D.C. REEVES, Times correspondent
USF: Verpaele iffy after injury
TAMPA - USF might have to open against Penn State without starting free safety Danny Verpaele , who injured a foot in practice Saturday.
Verpaele, a sophomore from Merritt Island who started seven games and had 57 tackles last fall, was on crutches Monday night with a cast on his left ankle. Coach Jim Leavitt said the injury's severity wasn't known.
"He hurt his foot, but we don't know how serious," said Leavitt, whose team opens its season Sept.3. "It might be just a sprain, but might not be also. We don't know for sure."
The Bulls don't have an experienced backup at safety. Verpaele's backup on the depth chart is redshirt freshman Louis Gachette , who switched from quarterback midway through spring practice. Another redshirt freshman, Carlton Williams , has safety size at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and is listed as USF's top nickel defensive back. None of USF's reserve safeties had more than eight tackles last season.
SECOND TRY: Receiver Pat Carter , who was expected to transfer to South Florida until he surprisingly showed up at Florida last week, was back at USF on Monday, visiting practice with his father, John .
Leavitt spoke cordially with the Carters outside for several minutes after practice, then met with both in his office for about a half-hour. Leavitt declined to comment on whether he'll accept Carter back into the program after his decision to leave for Florida last week. Carter changed his mind and left the Gators after less than a week in Gainesville.
Before meeting with Leavitt, the former Lakewood star said he was interested in playing for the Bulls and didn't expect to still have the scholarship he gave up about a month ago. That said, he said he also was waiting to hear back from Auburn, Notre Dame and "a few junior colleges" before he would decide where he would play this fall.
"I'm not asking him for a scholarship," Carter said. "I want to see about the enrollment process, and I'm still trying to hear back from other schools as well."
THIS AND THAT: Senior defensive end Jason Allen , granted a sixth year of eligibility for this fall, worked out with USF's linebackers and could see time at strongside linebacker, the position he started his Bulls career at, co-defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. ... Fullback Dan Puckett , a freshman walk-on from Dixie Hollins, has left the team after one week of practice. Puckett, who cited a heavy courseload in his first semester for his decision, said he hopes to try to walk on again in the spring.
- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer
UF: Coach rips second team
GAINESVILLE - Florida coach Urban Meyer was not happy with his team after practice Monday.
Although Meyer said he wasn't worried about his first team, he ripped his second team's performance heading into today's first fall scrimmage.
"If you saw that trash out there today, that was the twos," Meyer said. "We've got a lot of problems with our backups."
Meyer said the backups are going to scrimmage for a long time today. He said the offense especially isn't clicking.
"The ones aren't doing bad, the twos; it's not football," he said. "I'm not sure what I'm watching when I watch the twos out there right now."
Freshmen receivers also drew Meyer's ire after they had a "bad, bad day." But that wasn't Meyer's biggest worry.
"Offensive line is probably the No.1 area of concern," he said. "It's nonfunctional right now, the No.2, just completely nonfunctional."
INJURIES APLENTY: Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas sat out his third practice in a row with back soreness. Meyer said he'll be held out of today's scrimmage but probably could play if it were a game.
Walk-on receiver John Curtis , who has impressed Meyer this fall, twisted a knee during a tackling drill before contact in morning practice.
"I haven't got the official word yet, but he might need a knee surgery in the future, which is a shame because he's doing a good job," Meyer said.
Linebacker Todd McCullough , who could start this season, also sat out with an injured knee, but Meyer said it was just swollen and probably isn't serious. Reserve quarterback Gavin Dickey , who has been practicing mostly at receiver, has a hip flexor.
Also, starting cornerback Dee Webb , who has had a viral infection, got dehydrated and had to be taken to the hospital Monday morning. He had three pints of intravenous fluid pumped into him, Meyer said, and returned for late practice.
-IAN FISHER, Times correspondent
UM: Shoulder sidelines lineman
CORAL GABLES - Miami offensive lineman Derrick Morse will miss Miami's Sept.5 opener at Florida State with a sprained left shoulder.
Morse, who started the final six games last season, was hurt in practice last week. Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said he doesn't expect Morse to need surgery, just time to heal.
Coker also announced a switch in the depth chart at middle linebacker. Senior Leon Williams , who entered camp atop the depth chart, has been overtaken for now by Romeo Davis .
Davis had 15 tackles in 10 games, two of them starts, as a freshman. Williams, one of 12 semifinalists in 2004 for the Butkus Award given to college football's top linebacker, had 56 tackles last season, including a career-high 14 against Virginia Tech.
Coker is generally pleased with the way camp has gone, yet his willingness to shake things up shows that the Hurricanes aren't where he necessarily wants them to be.
"A lot of things can be done better on both sides," Coker said.