By BRUCE LOWITT, DEBI JONES and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 11, 2001
TAMPA -- South Florida's practice Friday started with heat so intense that at one point coach Jim Leavitt had his players going through noncontact drills without helmets. The afternoon workout began at the soccer stadium after lightning chased the team from the football fields, and it ended in a downpour.
Still, Leavitt said, the Bulls managed to go through alignments for each special-teams unit. "This was by no means a wasted day of practice. ... It wasn't what we wanted, but it's what we had. We went with what we had, and the team battled through it."
The players worked out in the morning on what Leavitt said felt like the week's hottest day. When they arrived at their fields at 3:45 p.m. to resume practice, they were greeted by two lightning bolts. Leavitt moved the team 500 yards to the soccer stadium, whose roof extends from the bleachers, offering some protection, but not from the rain.
A storm dumped 2-3 inches of rain on the players in a 15-minute stretch.
GAINESVILLE -- Florida quarterback competition got started without much excitement as the Gators had their first full-team practice.
Friday was the first time sophomores Rex Grossman and Brock Berlin had the chance to practice with coach Steve Spurrier.
Berlin and Grossman are competing for the starting job even though Grossman started the last eight games last season.
"I was excited. I was extremely excited. I love playing football and it's football season," Grossman said. "People here sit around and watch boring exhibition football games. That should tell you something."
INJURY NOTE: Defensive tackle Ian Scott left practice because of asthma. He left accompanied by two trainers. ... Offensive guard Tommy Moody pulled out of some drills with a cramp.
ORLANDO -- UCF coach Mike Kruczek was happy with the effort when the team was in just helmets and shorts Thursday, and he was equally happy with what he saw when his players added shoulder pads Friday morning.
The team made up for lost time by including what was planned for Thursday's session, which was canceled by a storm. The squad was chased off by lightning halfway through the two-hour session.
"The tempo was good," Kruczek said after the morning session. "I thought the execution was exemplary considering that they had only been out one day."
CORAL GABLES -- Coach Larry Coker said he was pleased with the first day of work as the Hurricanes completed their first day of practices with the full team.
"While we're certainly not in game shape at this point, I was very pleased with our players today both for their fitness and their approach to things," Coker said. "I thought the receivers and the defensive line really stood out today. The receivers made more plays today in seven-on-seven drills than they did in the entire spring practice."
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