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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By TIMES WIRES
Published September 2, 2006
No. 7 FLORIDA VS. SOUTHERN MISS, 6 P.M.
Florida isn't opening with a top 10 opponent, but coach Urban Meyer has made it clear to his team that Southern Miss is no pushover. The Golden Eagles, led by longtime coach Jeff Bower, are coming off their 12th consecutive winning season. Florida has several key questions it hopes to get some answers to today, including whether its patched together offensive line is up to par. It'll be tested because Southern Miss loves to blitz; and the receivers will have their hands full with extensive man coverage. The Gators also need to find out if their running game will be productive and if, in their second season, they have better mastered the spread option offense. Meyer also is looking for the kickoff and punt return teams to produce bigger plays this season. But with more than 30 players set to make their college debut, Meyer's biggest worry is making sure his players stay grounded. The veterans have vowed to make sure that's the case. "It's not an easy game," linebacker Brandon Siler said.
SOUTH FLORIDA VS. McNEESE STATE, 7 P.M.
Watch for the USF debut of redshirt freshman Moise Plancher, who will start at running back, taking over for the school's all-time leading rusher, Andre Hall. ... Three players - running back Ricky Ponton, receiver Jackie Chambers and defensive end Josh Julmiste - are expected to miss the game due to a suspension for violating team rules. ... Leavitt said the true freshmen most likely to play are safety Nate Allen, punter Ilia Petrov of Tampa Bay Tech and defensive ends Josh Smiley and Aaron Harris. The Bulls also got good news Thursday when freshman running back Keeley Dorsey was cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse. Receiver Carlton Mitchell of Gaither, who drew praise from coaches in preseason, is likely to redshirt with the rest of the freshman class. ... McNeese State, ranked No. 11 in the Sports Network preseason I-AA poll, starts a redshirt freshman, Derrick Fourroux, at quarterback. The Cowboys have seven I-A transfers on roster. The Bulls have won their past 16 games against I-AA opponents. ... Parking at Raymond James Stadium is $10, up from $7 last year.
VILLANOVA AT UCF, 6 P.M.
Central Florida meets Villanova for the first time, hoping to break a seven-game losing streak in season openers with its first at home since 1999. The Golden Knights should have plenty of confidence as 19 starters return from the defending Conference USA East Division championship team and an 8-5 season, including UCF's first bowl. Kevin Smith returns at running back after earning conference freshman of the year honors for his 1,178 yards and nine touchdowns. Villanova has 16 returning starters from a 4-7 team, including quarterback Marvin Burroughs, who was knocked out of the 2005 opener, a 38-6 loss at Rutgers.
FAMU VS. DELAWARE STATE, 1 P.M. (10 p.m. ESPNU, tape)
Florida A&M begins its second season under coach Rubin Carter at the fourth annual Detroit Football Classic. The Rattlers try to avoid consecutive losses to Delaware State, which won 21-17 last year. FAMU is led by receiver Roosevelt Kiser, a 2005 All-MEAC pick who caught five touchdowns and gained 739 yards. The Hornets are led by quarterback Vashon Winton, the 2005 MEAC rookie of the year who passed for 1,485 yards and eight touchdowns en route to a 7-4 record.
B-CC VS. SOUTHERN, 7 P.M.
Bethune-Cookman opens its season in the 53rd Gateway Classic at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, and it's bringing some added power. Former Florida defensive back Avery Atkins is enrolled at B-CC, practiced all week and is expected to play, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Friday. "He's in school and has been practicing with us the entire week," Wildcats coach Alvin Wyatt told the paper. "It looks like he has not skipped a beat." Southern should have its hands full as it rotates 10 freshmen defensively.
FAU AT NO. 18 CLEMSON, 3:30 P.M.
Florida Atlantic plays the first of five consecutive road games. The Owls return 17 starters who hope to improve on last season's 2-9 record, including 2-5 in the Sun Belt Conference. Clemson returns 15 starters but cornerback C.J. Gaddis is out, serving a one-game suspension for academic reasons. Tigers linebacker Antonio Clay took a temporary leave of absence after his sister died Tuesday in an automobile accident, but he returned to campus Friday and is expected to play.