Bulls prepare for extra noise with Penn State looming

By Times staff writers, Associated Press
Published August 31, 2005

TAMPA - With USF's opener against Penn State on Saturday, coach Jim Leavitt and offensive coordinator Rod Smith aren't worried about their offense or the 100,000-plus fans who will attend.

Monday, Leavitt and Smith initiated a hand signal offense, but have also been working every starter and backup.

"Another good practice," Leavitt said after Tuesday's 21/2-hour "light" practice. "Everybody worked hard."

Everybody included freshman Carlton Hill, still seeing many reps on first team at wide receiver.

"(Carlton) will play at receiver," Leavitt said. "How much he'll play at quarterback, I couldn't tell you."

Smith, however, lists four other receivers over sophomore Johnny Peyton, besides Hill: Amarri Jackson, Jackie Chambers, S.J. Green and Cedric Hill. "(Carlton) is one of our most talented athletes out here," Smith said. "He's still learning what's going on (at wide receiver). There's a chance of him playing quarterback and that chance hinges on how our other quarterbacks do and how we're doing in (that) game."

Penn State coach Joe Paterno, in his 40th season opener as head coach, said during a teleconference Tuesday that he is not taking USF lightly.

"South Florida is a really good football team," Paterno said. "Their tailback is a great player. Their linebacker can really run. ... We're going to have to score a lot of points to win the game."

TV: Saturday's game, to be televised nationally on ESPNU and locally on Ch. 28, has been picked up for regional network broadcast in Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre and Johnstown/Altoona in Pennsylvania; New Orleans; Tulsa, Okla.; Waco, Texas; and Sacramento, Calif.

- MIKE CAMUNAS, Times correspondent, and GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer

UF: questions remain

GAINESVILLE - The Gators are still looking for a fifth wide receiver. Not to mention a running back, a backup quarterback and a starting kicker.

With Saturday's opener against Wyoming approaching, coach Urban Meyer had not announced winners of those position battles Tuesday.

But the receiver and the running back battles revolve around the perimeter game, Meyer said.

One receiver that has left an impression with his blocking is junior Kenneth Tookes.

"He's a pretty good blocker and that's a big part of what we do too," Meyer said. "We run a lot of perimeter plays. Our first year at Utah, we weren't very good on the edge and we weren't a strong perimeter run team. The second year, I thought we were as good as anybody in the country on perimeter blocking."

Meyer said the Gators won't be that way this year, but Tookes gives them a solid blocker.

At tailback, Meyer said the most important thing after holding on to the ball is also perimeter blocking.

Meyer said he was surprised by freshman Kestahn Moore.

"Kestahn Moore keeps on coming," Meyer said. "He's one of those every play guys."

ETC: Meyer cleared up some questions about which receivers will play Saturday. Freshman David Nelson will not play, Meyer said, and freshman Nyan Boateng, who didn't play his senior year of high school because of an injury, might play but not a lot. Also, redshirt freshman Michael McIntosh might play but won't be the fifth receiver.

- IAN FISHER, Times correspondent

FSU: underdog role

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State enters preparation for Monday's opener against Miami as an underdog but that fact seemed to be expected around the practice field.

"They've won the last few games, so we should be the underdog," senior A.J. Nicholson said. "You know what, I kind of like that role right now. That no one really believes in us but we believe in ourselves. We'll see what happens."

Nicholson led the defense with 88 tackles last season and was ranked the No. 6 outside linebacker in the nation by the Sporting News. However, he is also 0-4 against Miami - three regular season losses and one in the 2004 Orange Bowl.

LEE RETURNS: Quarterback Xavier Lee returned to practice. He sat out the final scrimmage of preseason camp Friday with soreness in his throwing shoulder, and he played just seven snaps in the scrimmage before that.

That opened the door for Drew Weatherford, who threw for more than 700 yards in those two scrimmages and has all but locked up the starting job. Bowden has not announced a starter.

- D.C. REEVES, Times correspondent and the ASSOCIATED PRESS