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College football briefs

By Compiled by Times staff, correspondents and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 26, 2000

Defensive end okay to play

TAMPA -- South Florida coach Jim Leavitt got an unexpected bonus Friday: defensive end Tommy Hunter, a signee in 1999, was declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Hunter, out of Wakulla, was ineligible last season but retook and passed his college entrance exam. The clearinghouse delayed declaring him eligible because it had issues with one of his high school core courses. Leavitt did not expect Hunter to be able to play for the Bulls until next season.

"I told him he had a scholarship (with USF) until he's 80," Leavitt said.

INJURY REPORT: Center Joey Sipp (hamstring) returned to practice and is expected to start his school-record 34th straight game. Meanwhile, reserve tight end Casey Cobb has a torn knee ligament and will be out 7-10 weeks. ROSTER NOTES: With Jay Mize uncertain for the opener against Jacksonville State on Sept. 2 because of a herniated disc in his neck, senior Anthony Henry is working at free safety. If Mize is not available, Henry will move back from cornerback and either senior Edwin Green, freshman Kenny Robinson or freshman J.R. Reed could start. ... Leavitt said senior quarterback Mike Usry is playing well enough to earn the No. 2 spot behind Marquel Blackwell, but freshman Kevin Patullo still is in the hunt.

FOR THE FANS: Fan Appreciation Day begins at 11 today on the practice fields, where USF will open the final half-hour of practice. Players and coaches will be available for autographs and photos.

- Sharon Ginn

Skipping scrimmage

DAYTONA BEACH -- The annual Maroon and Gold scrimmage is today. But a lot of starters will sit out, including quarterback Pa'tell Troutman, wide receiver Antonio Stanley, center Daron Herndon and free safety Rashean Mathis.

Backup quarterback Allen Suber of Tampa Catholic is expected to see playing time.

NO MORE TWOS: B-CC ended two-a-day practices Thursday, and players had Friday morning off before hitting the field. Coach Alvin Wyatt said the Wildcats still have much work to do. "By Thursday, we should be ready to go," Wyatt said. "We haven't had too many full practices with our starters."

- Times wires

Rattlers get ready

TALLAHASSEE -- Heavy thunderstorms canceled Florida A&M's plans for a light practice, but the Rattlers did what they could to prepare for their Sept. 2 opener at Delaware State.

FAMU, which held two team meetings, will hold a final preseason scrimmage today.

"There are several things that we're trying to accomplish," coach Billy Joe said of the scrimmage, which will be closed to the public. "We want to take a really good look at some new concepts that we have installed for the game against Delaware State, we want to make an evaluation of our personnel and we'd like to make an assessment of special down-and-distance situations.

"We want it to be as gamelike as possible. We will have a full cadre of officials here, the clock will be running and the coaches will be in the press box. We want it to have the feel of a game. That's why we're having it at noon. We play Delaware State at 12."

- Jabari Ritchie

Miami finding answers

CORAL GABLES -- Miami will take today off, then practice Sunday in preparation for the opener Thursday against McNeese State. Coach Butch Davis has spent time plugging minor holes. "In some areas where we've had question marks, I think we're close to finding some answers," Davis said. "I feel real good about Chris Harvey and Joe Fantigrassi as deep snappers. Ivan Mercer's done some really good things at tight end. Jeremy Shockey is out of his cast (ankle injury) and we hope he'll be able to play some Thursday."

- Times wires

Around the nation

MARYLAND: LaMont Jordan, the NCAA's active rushing leader, completed his academic requirements and is eligible to practice.

NEW MEXICO: A Miami Air Boeing 727 that was to fly the team to Lubbock, Texas, for tonight's opener against Texas Tech developed mechanical problems en route to Albuquerque but landed safely.

TENNESSEE: Coach Phil Fulmer named sophomore Joey Mathews the starting quarterback for the season opener Sept. 2 against Southern Miss.

EDDIE ROBINSON CLASSIC: Wisconsin hosts Virginia on Aug. 25, 2001, the Classic foundation said.

JUCO ON PROBATION: Northwest Mississippi Community College was hit with a one-year probation for violating the starting practice date for fall drills. Sanctions from the National Junior College Athletic Association might strip Northwest of its preseason No. 1 ranking.

- Times wires

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