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Practice, practice, practice

By Compiled from Times wires and correspondents reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 14, 2000


TAMPA -- USF coach Jim Leavitt has put a premium on good practice. After last week's loss to Kentucky he said some weaknesses were exposed that only practice can improve.

Leavitt said the team practiced well on Monday and Tuesday and had a lighter practice Wednesday in pads and shorts, ending on a positive note.

Working on the two-minute drill, Marquel Blackwell drove the offense 80 yards, capped by a nice catch in the corner of the end zone by senior Scott McCready.

"I think (the practices) are more intense this week," Leavitt said. "I think what happened is (the players) realized how much they have to get better after what happened in Kentucky. They understand how good James Madison is. They know that they have to play real well to have a chance to win this game."

James Madison, which USF plays Saturday, is ranked No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA poll and beat the Bulls last season 13-3 by holding) their offense to 148 yards.

-- ALEX LYNCH

No rest on hiatus

CORAL GABLES -- Miami worked out for two hours. The Hurricanes, who have an open date Saturday before opening Big East Conference action on Sept. 23 at West Virginia, were intense and physical throughout the first practice session of the week.

"Today we spent the majority of the practice trying to make ourselves a more efficient, disciplined, tougher, physical team," coach Butch Davis said.

INJURY REPORT: Offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rassouli and defensive back Maurice Sikes have returned after nursing injuries.

-- TIMES WIRES

Red-zone offense needed

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida A&M does not plan on needing to kick five field goals again when it takes on South Carolina State in Jacksonville in the Orange Blossom-Palmetto Classic on Saturday. The Rattlers' inconsistent play inside the 20-yard line cost FAMU several touchdowns in last week's 56-25 win over Morgan State.

"We thought we had some problems in the red zone this past weekend, so we primarily worked on (that) today," coach Billy Joe said. "We almost dedicated the whole practice to that. Playing against a tough team, we need to convert those field goals into touchdowns."

Quarterback Quinn Gray, who had a career high of 390 passing yards last week, said the team should have a better percentage inside the 20 against the Bulldogs.

"Whenever you have a chance to work on something, you're going to get a little bit better, but we'll have to see when Saturday comes," Gray said.

-- JABARI RITCHIE

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