Gators TE out; CB expected back

By Times wire
Published August 23, 2005

GAINESVILLE - Tight end Markell Thompson wore a cast on his broken ankle Monday. Coach Urban Meyer said Thompson, carted off the field Saturday, will be immobile for six weeks and return in about eight weeks, after rehab.

Starting cornerback Dee Webb , also injured Saturday, has a separated shoulder. He is expected to play in the Sept.3 opener against Wyoming.

"Dee Webb is doing good," Meyer said. "He's running ... we're keeping him out of drills just because if he falls he can't protect himself. The word that I've been told is as he gets stronger we'll be able to get him more involved in the drills."

Cornerback Reggie Nelson missed practice with a lingering staph infection.

Linebacker Todd McCullough was limited with a knee injury and linebacker Billy Latsko didn't practice because of a lingering groin injury.

Meyer said he will work Latsko and linebacker Eric Rutledge at tight end because of the loss of Thompson.

Latsko and Rutledge played fullback last season, but that position doesn't exist in Meyer's offense, so they were converted to linebackers.

"We talked about whether it would be an offensive lineman, whether it'd be a Latsko or a Rutledge to help us in our short-yardage stuff," Meyer said. "We're taking all those things into consideration."

- IAN FISHER, Times correspondent

FSU: Focus on freshmen

TALLAHASSEE - Freshmen have a lot to learn besides the ins and outs of Seminoles football. And just two weeks before the showdown with No.9 Miami, the youngsters got a little more orientation after the morning session of the day's practices.

Doug Mannhiemer , a Tallahassee lawyer and external member of the FSU Commission on the Future, explained the tradition of the Sod Cemetery, which contains chunks of turf from some of the school's biggest wins.

Meantime, the freshman class has impressed a coach who has seen 30 such groups before. "These young guys are pretty dang good," coach Bobby Bowden said.

He has historically eased his underclassmen into playing time, especially quarterbacks, but roster hurdles have forced his hand.

"The reason is the 85 (player) limit," Bowden said. "All it takes is a couple of injuries and all of a sudden they've gotta play."

T. BOWDEN SPEAKS: Terry Bowden will be the guest speaker for the Pinellas County Seminole Boosters kickoff meeting on Aug.30 at Derby Lane's Plaza Sports Bar in St. Petersburg. A social begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (727) 544-6653 or visit pinellasnoles.com.

- D.C. REEVES, Times correspondent

UM: Aiming at FSU

CORAL GABLES - The Hurricanes were back at practice and preparing for a scrimmage tonight in the Orange Bowl using 25-second clocks, assistants in the coaching booths and Atlantic Coast Conference officials.

"We've done some work (on FSU, the opening opponent Sept.5)," said coach Larry Coker . "We're really working a lot on us, but a lot of us is FSU. They are a lot like us from the standpoint that they can run. Schematically, we'll do a lot more after Wednesday."

NOTES: Offensive lineman Tyler McMeans (arm) returned to practice. ... Right guard Tony Tella (ankle) did not practice but was doing rehabilitative exercises. ... Receivers Sinorice Moss and Darnell Jenkins were dressed but did not practice. Their injuries are not thought to be serious. ... Former Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh (1987-88) attended practice.


UCF: It's two-deep time

ORLANDO - The Golden Knights held an intense two-hour practice before the start of afternoon classes. "With the first day of school, normally the players have so many things they are thinking about, so I wanted to get their attention right away and we did," said coach George O'Leary . "We had a good practice this morning."

Today could be critical for several players as the team holds its final scrimmage of the preseason. O'Leary said he will set the two-deep roster and scout teams after the scrimmage.


Nation: New pollsters

USF official Lee Roy Selmon , Terry Bradshaw , Lou Holtz , Steve Largent and Anthony Munoz are among 114 voters in the new Harris Interactive College Football Poll that the Bowl Championship Series will use to determine teams in the four major bowls, including the national title game. The panel includes former college players, coaches and administrators, plus some media members.

CARSON-NEWMAN: Former Tennessee receiver James Banks has enrolled at the Division II school. He was dismissed from UT last season after being suspended several times for a variety of incidents.

PITTSBURGH: Receiver Greg Lee , a Biletnikoff Award candidate, is getting closer to making a complete return from a right shoulder injury suffered just two days into training camp.