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Meyer vague on Thomas, Harris

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 7, 2006


GAINESVILLE - Florida coach Urban Meyer offered a vague statement Wednesday about the status of last year's starting defensive tackles, Marcus Thomas and Steven Harris, for Saturday's game against UCF.

Both missed the Southern Miss game for disciplinary reasons.

"They're officially playing unless they don't play," Meyer said. "Let's see how their behavior is."

However, when asked how big it will be for the two seniors to return Saturday, Meyer spoke as if they'll play.

"It's big," Meyer said. "We need those two guys. We don't have much depth on the defensive line to begin with.

"I thought (reserves Clint McMillan and Javier Estopinan) hung in there. McMillan played like 65 plays. It'll be a nicer rotation now because McMillan got a little better and so did Javier."

INJURY UPDATES: Running back DeShawn Wynn (neck stinger) should be able to play Saturday but practiced without contact Wednesday, Meyer said. ... Receiver Percy Harvin was sick and missed practice but will be ready for UCF, Meyer said.

UF-GEORGIA MEASURES: Georgia and Florida have agreed on measures they hope will cut down on alcohol abuse at their annual game in Jacksonville. The city and both universities plan to establish a "Student Safe Zone" near Jacksonville Landing, where students and others can meet up with missing friends or get services ranging from directions to first aid. The game is Oct. 28.

USF: Status of tackles unclear

TAMPA - Injured tackles Thed Watson and Marc Dile practiced, though coach Jim Leavitt was uncertain with their status for Saturday's game against Florida International.

Dile (left knee) and Watson (left leg) were removed from Saturday's 41-10 win over McNeese State.

"(Wednesday) they didn't look that good," Leavitt said, "but for Saturday, I don't know."

Bleakely's return: A day after being arrested on a DUI charge, senior tight end Will Bleakley returned to practice. Leavitt said he did not want to talk to Bleakley on Wednesday, and reiterated he would not start Saturday.

The likely candidates to start are sophomore Cedric Hill and Missouri Valley College transfer Devin Gordon.

Not coming back: Redshirt freshman running back Moise Plancher will miss the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.

MORE TV: USF's Sept. 23 game at Kansas is no longer listed as a 7 p.m. kickoff because it is being considered for regional telecast. A decision will be made Monday or Tuesday, and although the game could stay at its current time, it most likely will move to a noon kickoff (1 p.m. local) for broadcast on Fox Sports.

Bull Bits: Junior linebacker Ben Moffitt, who broke a bone in his left hand during fall drills and had to play Saturday's game with a cast, had the cast removed. ... Running back Keeley Dorsey switched from No. 21 to 10. ... Walk-on freshman Delbert Alvarado will be the starting punter Saturday.

FSU-Miami: Big ratings night

Florida State's 13-10 victory over Miami on Monday night was ESPN's most-viewed college football game ever.

The game was on ESPN and ESPN2 and drew an average of 6,330,000 households. The 6.9 rating made it the network's second highest-rated college football game behind a 7.7 rating for FSU at Miami on Oct. 8, 1994.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.

Also, the debut of Saturday Night Football for ABC, which featured Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, got a 5.4 rating, the highest of the night for any network.

SEMINOLES DODGE RAIN: FSU coach Bobby Bowden had to delay practice to dodge lightning, then change venue for the rescheduled practice due to rain on Wednesday night.

"We needed to get it in," Bowden said. "We got a lot of rain, which is probably good in case we have to play in this weather."