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By DEBI JONES and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 1, 2001
NEW ORLEANS -- Miami coach Butch Davis denied a report Sunday that he would head to Cleveland this week for exploratory talks with Browns president Carmen Policy.
"That was news to me," Davis said. "That was a shock. I didn't even know they fired the coach. I know Bernie Kosar owns a piece of the team, but other than that, I don't know anybody."
The Browns have not made a decision on coach Chris Palmer's future, but ESPN reported that Davis will meet with Policy on Wednesday.
Davis said he was getting close to signing a new contract with the Hurricanes.
"If we just had some time to sit down and meet ... " Davis said. "Things are getting real, real close. There's like maybe one issue still left. Probably if we didn't have a bowl game and if I wasn't recruiting, it would already be done."
GATORS WANT MOMENTUM: The Florida offense doesn't take long to conduct business on the field.
The Gators are known for using momentum to carry them down field. THey have 258 first downs and 58 touchdowns.
"That's the way it's gone this year," coach Steve Spurrier said. "We've either hit two or three in a row or missed real quick. We've been fortunate that when we have made our drives, we've scored touchdowns. We've not had like two or three first downs and then punt. Once we get a drive going, something good has happened. Hopefully that will continue."
"We have the potential to score on every play," quarterback Rex Grossman said. "Sometimes we get going into a rhythm and feel like we can score at any time. We get some momentum and a few big gains, you feel better, and everyone just plays better."
CARROLL MOVES TO BACKUP: With junior Robert Gillespie out because of a knee injury, senior tailback Bo Carroll will move in to back up Earnest Graham.
TEEVENS ROOTS FOR KING: New Orleans is more than the home of the Sugar Bowl for UF wide receivers and tight ends coach Buddy Teevens.
Teevens coached at Tulane from 1992-96 and coached Bucs quarterback Shaun King. Teevens said he would take time out Sunday to watch the Bucs-Eagles playoff game.
"We'll be pulling for him," Teevens said. "He is another Tulane guy on the field. It'll be fun to watch him play."
FLORIDA INJURY UPDATE: Gillespie (right knee) and safety Daryl Dixon (left ankle) are questionable. Offensive lineman Max Starks (left knee) is doubtful.
PEARSON'S GOOD NEWS: For Florida offensive tackle Mike Pearson, the Christmas holidays were more than a break from football. The sophomore proposed to his girlfriend of four years on Christmas Day. Melissa Merrill accepted.
"I made her a little picture album to put together of pictures of the two of us, and I made a big sign that said 'Will You Marry Me?' and had my mom take a picture of it," Pearson said. "I put that picture in the album."