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Gators looking for a fast start

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- After losing four games last season, including two at home in the Swamp, the Gators are looking forward to working on some of the problems they had in last season's opener.

The Gators face Ball State, which did not win a game last season and ranked 13th in total offense and 12th in defense in the Mid-American Conference.

"Ball State is a team that obviously struggled last year, but they got a lot of seniors coming back," coach Steve Spurrier said. "We talked a little bit (Monday) with our team, and we didn't play well last year. We're going to try to play better and sort of regain the attitude of coming into the Swamp and playing."

INJURY UPDATE: Out for Saturday's game are wide receiver Elgin Hick (left hip), running back Chuck Marks (right knee), defensive tackle Chris Reynolds (left foot), Ernest Smith (left foot) and Zac Zedalis (left knee). Questionable are wide receiver O.J. Small (left quad), cornerback Robert Cromartie (left ankle), defensive lineman Bobby Williams (both hamstrings) and linebacker Dwight Jackson (left knee).

-- DEBI JONES

Bulls seek to fill RJS

TAMPA -- South Florida officials are putting together a marketing campaign they hope will help fill Raymond James Stadium for the Bulls' opener Saturday night.

Officials announced Tuesday that several special events are being planned for the 7 p.m. opener against Jacksonville State, the Bulls' final opening game as a Division I-AA school.

"We see this as one of our pivotal games," associate athletic director Lee Roy Selmon said.

Selmon said that because this is a transition year from I-AA to I-A, and because he identifies with the team because he was a player, he is trying to create an unforgettable environment for the players Saturday. USF officials are trying to encourage fans to make the Bulls part of their Labor Day celebration.

"The game happens to fall on the Labor Day weekend, and families are planning their family activities," Selmon said. "Now we're going to our community and asking them to join with us and make that evening special."

Army paratroopers will parachute the game ball into the stadium, where it will be presented to USF president Judy Genshaft. The post-game activities will include a laser light show.

'

- ANTONYA ENGLISHKickers continue to battle

TALLAHASSEE -- Coach Bobby Bowden announced that the three placekickers will continue to compete for the starting job during practice.

Bowden said that whichever kicker looks the best during practice will start against Georgia Tech on Sept. 9.

"We're just going to keep working them and see what happens," Bowden said. "If nobody looks a whole lot better, than we're just going to go with (Matt) Munyon and chalk (Saturday's game) up as experience."

Munyon, a freshman, appeared nervous against Brigham Young in his first start for the Seminoles. The former walk-on misfired on field-goal attempts from 34 and 27 yards and an extra point.

Freshman Brett Cimorelli, who has been out with a pulled groin, did some kicking during practice.

GRAND THEFT CART: Bowden was forced to do without his prized golf cart after it was stolen from Doak Campbell Stadium last weekend. The 70-year-old coach has relied on the golf cart to get around practice for the past several years.

INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Brett Williams returned to practice after reinjuring his left ankle Saturday.

- ALEX ABRAMS

Poor workout irks coach

ORLANDO -- Central Florida practiced in full pads for the first time this season but was unable to impress coach Mike Kruczek with its performance.

"(Practice) wasn't as good as it could have been," he said. "I don't know what it was. I guess we're still trying to perfect what we're doing; that's about all I can say."

The Golden Knights received some good news when backup running back Corey Baker returned to practice after suffering a deep right thigh bruise Monday.

- DAVID MARSTERS

Focus now on opening foe

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida A&M is putting the finishing touches on its preseason preparation. Coaches, who announced depth charts Tuesday, have shifted the focus of practices from conditioning and roster selection to the Saturday opener at Delaware State.

"We can't afford to go up to Delaware State and lose and expect to be (MEAC) conference champions," coach Billy Joe said. "That would really put us in a big hole as far as the championship race, so hopefully, our young and new ballplayers are ready to play well enough to get a victory."

FAMU prepared for the Hornets' defensive and offensive schemes in the workout. It was the first time this season the starters scrimmaged against each other.

- JABARI RITCHIE

Coach sees club at ready

CORAL GABLES -- Miami held a two-hour, non-contact practice at the Greentree Practice Field.

"We're about as ready as we can be for the opener," coach Butch Davis said. "I think our people have looked at enough film to know everything they need to know. It will just be a matter of blocking and tackling and executing."

The Hurricanes open the season at 7:30 Thursday night against McNeese State at the Orange Bowl.

- TIMES WIRES

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