tampabay.com

Coach wants field reserved for bipeds

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published December 30, 2005


FORT LAUDERDALE - When Florida State and Penn State last met in the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno was incensed FSU had Renegade the horse on the sideline.

"That was about the maddest I've ever seen Joe," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "I didn't say anything to him though; I was afraid he'd slap me."

So, Joe. What was the deal?

"When I first started to coach we played Army, and Army used to have a mule, and that darn mule would come up and down the sideline, and they're not house-trained," Paterno said. "And neither are horses. I stepped in something that the mule dropped, so I told the president, "We're not going to let that mule on the field anymore.' "

So in '90, Paterno wasn't happy about the thought of watching where he had to step all game.

"I thought he was going to go tackle the dadgum horse," Bowden said. "I was about to tell him, "Go high, don't go low.' "

"Oh, that damn horse," Paterno said of that moment. "Is he going to be on the field? Is he going to be on the field? I ought to make Bobby ride him. Or at least clean up his dirt."

Don't fret, Joe. Renegade won't be here for Tuesday night's Orange Bowl.

STAYING PUT: FSU redshirt freshman quarterback Xavier Lee reiterated that he has no intentions of transferring, despite constant rumors to the contrary.

"Of course, it's going to go through your mind, but I tried to get it out of my mind and work hard," he said before Thursday's practice. "I'm going to do what I can, do my job and try to earn the (starting) position."

Drew Weatherford, the former Land O'Lakes star and fellow second-year freshman, won the job in August and has held on to it. He surely will enter the offseason as the No. 1, so will Lee really have a shot?

"There's only one way to find out," he said. "That's to work hard and do my job."

WILLIAMS NOT LIKELY: Dazzling Penn State freshman receiver Derrick Williams, who missed the past four games after breaking his left arm, would like to go against FSU but "I doubt really if he'll play," Paterno said.

"He's out there running around, but the doctors are concerned. He had a very severe broken arm, and they are very concerned that if we did something with him, there could be nerve damage," he said. "So I don't think it's worth the kid's future; he has a great future."

Williams had 22 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown, rushed 22 times for 105 yards and three TDs and averaged 21.1 yards on kickoff returns.

NEW DEAL: The Orange Bowl has a new agreement with Dolphins Stadium that will keep its game there for the next eight years, with an option for an additional four. A long-term deal was "essential" in maintaining the bowl's status as a "major player within the bowl system," the game's CEO, Keith Tribble, said. The Bowl Championship Series finale is set to come here in 2009.