USF sits trio for two games

By GREG AUMAN and Times wires
Published August 27, 2006

TAMPA - Three USF football players who entered fall drills as projected starters have been suspended for at least two games due to an unspecified violation of team rules.

Sophomore running back Ricky Ponton, junior receiver Jackie Chambers and sophomore defensive end Josh Julmiste will not play in USF's season opener Saturday against McNeese State, nor in the Sept. 9 game against Florida International.

Ponton entered fall drills as the only running back with significant college experience, having rushed for 373 yards as Andre Hall's top backup last year. Ponton has not been mentioned among the top four or five running backs in recent weeks, though coaches had attributed his drop to a hamstring injury.

Chambers, who had 21 catches for 290 yards as a sophomore and tied for the Big East lead in punt return average, also was not mentioned among the top four receivers, though he is recovering from knee surgery in the spring. Julmiste, the most experienced returning defensive end, was competing for a second-string position.

Julmiste has had off-field problems before. He had to withdraw from USF in the fall of 2004 when he and two teammates were accused of removing $4,000 in property from a former teammate's dormitory room. No criminal charges were filed, and Julmiste re-enrolled in January 2005 and played sparingly last season, totaling eight tackles.

Raring to go: Quarterback Grant Gregory and receiver Amp Hill haven't played football since 2004, so neither is about to let recent injuries hold them out of the season opener.

"I redshirted at Indiana, then I came here and had a sit-out year. I'm ready to get on the field," said Gregory, who threw in practice Saturday, one week after he separated his non-throwing shoulder and injured the thumb on his throwing hand. "I'll be good to go for Saturday. They're not keeping me off the field any more."

Hill sprained his ankle in the same scrimmage and was on crutches Monday, but he expects to return to practice in the next few days and said he'll play against McNeese State.

"I'm dying to be out there," said Hill, who has played sparingly in three college seasons because of a major knee injury he suffered as a freshman at LSU in August 2003. "I haven't played a game in a long time."

QB UPDATE: As the Fan Appreciation Day crowd watched, redshirt freshman Matt Grothe ran the two-minute drill but was unable to find the end zone in two drives, one ending in an interception by junior Trae Williams.

Senior Pat Julmiste did not participate due to back spasms but said the injury isn't anything that would keep him out of a game.

- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer

Miami: Coker suspends Moore indefinitely

CORAL GABLES - Senior wide receiver Ryan Moore has been suspended indefinitely for violation of an unspecified team policy, coach Larry Coker said.

Moore was suspended for the Peach Bowl last season, then suspended again for the first two games of this year because of previous violations of team rules.

"Not that he won't return, but pending some action, I have made that suspension due to a violation of team policy," Coker said. "And we'll see as this thing progresses."

Coker said he will re-evaluate Moore's status and may reinstate him later in the season.

Coker suspended three other players, including projected starting running back Tyrone Moss, earlier this summer because of other team rule violations.


Florida: Meyer says local pair to get playing time

GAINESVILLE - A day after praising this year's recruiting class, Gators coach Urban Meyer has figured out which freshmen receivers are going to play this year.

Not surprisingly, Percy Harvin and former Hillsborough High star Jarred Fayson are going to get playing time.

Clearwater Central Catholic's Riley Cooper also will play, Meyer said. "He's a big guy," Meyer said. "He's real fast for his size, and he provides a bit of toughness, which we need at that position."

Meyer praised the whole freshman class, saying that their work ethic is much better than last year's class.

"The older guys will tell you last year's class, for some reason, came in with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and expected things that they didn't deserve," Meyer said. "This class came in and said, 'I'm going to go to work.' We were very clear with them when we recruited them that there are no promises made and you get a chance to go play in the finest stadium in college football. Shut the mouth and go earn it."

ETC: Backup quarterback Tim Tebow missed practice with a 103-degree temperature. Meyer said at least eight other players have been sick. ... Safety Bryan Thomas (neck), from Zephyrhills High, is getting close to being ready, Meyer said. ... Receiver Louis Murphy, from Lakewood High, slightly pulled a hamstring and will be a game-time decision for the Saturday opener against Southern Miss.

- IAN FISHER, Times correspondent

FSU: Clock work

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State used its final practice of the preseason to brush up on the NCAA's new clock rules geared to speed up the game.

"Substituting (quickly) has become a big must," coach Bobby Bowden said.

Florida State will not have the luxury of working out the kinks against a lesser opponent.

Florida State opens its season Sept. 4 against rival Miami.

The team will take today and Monday off for the first day of classes.


FAMU: Fan Day on tap

The Rattlers finished training camp in Tallahassee with a closed situational format scrimmage. FAMU, which plays Delaware State on Saturday, will have Fan Day from 2-4 p.m. today in the Band Rehearsal Hall.