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Around the state

By ALEX ABRAMS, DEBI JONES, BRUCE LOWITT and Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 18, 2001


Heat forces Seminoles to have practice indoors

TALLAHASSEE -- Recent cases of heat exhaustion among Florida State players led coach Bobby Bowden to move Friday's evening practice to an indoor facility.

Offensive lineman Montrae Holland and defensive end O.J. Jackson had to be treated for heat exhaustion after participating in a two-hour morning practice with temperatures reaching 92 degrees.

"Today was the hottest day we've had," Bowden said. "It's like being in an oven out there. Most of our kids survived it, and I'm mighty proud of them."

At one point during practice, Bowden interrupted an 11-on-11 drill to give his players an extra five-minute water break. The team took four breaks instead of the scheduled two.

DEFENSE SHINES: Florida State's defense dominated goal-line drills, stopping the offense on the first seven attempts before giving up a score on a pass from quarterback Adrian McPherson to fullback Chad Maeder of Brooksville.

The defense made up for a poor performance in the same drill a day earlier by preventing a touchdown on 7 of 8 possessions.

"Yesterday, the offense won most of it, this time the defense wiped them out," Bowden said. "That's good. I like to see improvement."

FSU will have its first scrimmage at 5 tonight.

RECEIVER NEWS: Wide receivers Atrews Bell, Talman Gardner and P.K. Sam participated in passing routes despite being hampered with mildly strained hamstrings. They sat out contact drills. Raymond Reed, who tried last spring to be a walk-on receiver, was invited to join the team after senior Robert Morgan suffered a season-ending injury.

ANOTHER INJURED: Offensive lineman Otis Duhart had to be carted off the practice field with a right knee sprain. He had an MRI exam in the afternoon but no results were available.

UF searching for CB

GAINESVILLE -- With the second scrimmage of the preseason this afternoon, the Gators defense will try to replace starting cornerback Robert Cromartie, who will be out for the season with a torn right pectoral muscle.

One of those likely to see more playing time in the secondary is sophomore Keiwan Ratliff.

"Naturally when the coach tells you that you are going to get more snaps, you are excited," Ratliff said. "I'm really excited to play, but it's a sad way for me to have to play."

Senior Bennie Alexander has the most experience at corner, starting 25 games, but Marquis Westbrook and Ratliff also will be challenging for the starting job.

"We have got a lot of good DBs, but he will be missed; he was the starter," coach Steve Spurrier said. "It was an unfortunate injury."

Cromartie was injured making a tackle in a scrimmage Wednesday.

Today's scrimmage will be at 3:30 and will be open to the public.

COLON UPDATE: Spurrier said Friday offensive lineman Jonathan Colon should know if he will be eligible this season by Monday.

Colon is waiting word on an ACT score from July.

SHEPPARD SHINES: Even in practice All-America cornerback Lito Sheppard continues to disrupt the offense.

"He is making about an interception every pass drill," Spurrier said. "Just one about every day."

Last season Sheppard had six interceptions and five pass deflections.

USF keeps plugging along

TAMPA -- Coach Jim Leavitt said the Bulls are wearing down but fighting their way through the difficulty of summer practices.

"It's what every team in the country is going through right now," he said. "In the middle of two-a-days, teams start to drag. ... The teams that can battle through it best have the best chance to win."

The team wore full pads for the morning practice, and Leavitt planned for the team to work out in shorts and helmets before a storm wiped out the afternoon session.

"There was too much lightning, and it was going to be light anyway," he said, "so we chose to go right to meetings and get ready for the scrimmage (this) morning."

Miami scrimmages today

CORAL GABLES -- The Hurricanes completed their eighth day of preseason workouts with a 90-minute practice in shorts and shells. They focused on scrimmage situations and positional fundamentals in sunny and hot conditions.

"Things are going well and we're looking forward to (today's) scrimmage," coach Larry Coker said. "We're in pretty good shape physically. We have some bumps and bruises, but nothing that's really of long-term concern."

The Hurricanes will have a situational scrimmage at 9:30 this morning at the Orange Bowl. It will be closed to media and the public.

Kruczek happy with UCF

ORLANDO -- More than a week into two-a-days, coach Mike Kruczek is pleased with what he has seen.

"I think we've gotten a lot accomplished," Kruczek said. "There is still a lot of work to do, but I'm encouraged."

Injuries to several key players, including five starters, have given some of the younger players the opportunity to get playing time in practice.

"We've had a chance to look at a lot of young kids, a lot of freshmen, simply because of the injury factor here," Kruczek said.

Kruczek will get another look at his team in a scrimmage at 8:15 this morning.

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