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Ailing Weinke in doubt to play against Miami

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 3, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke's disappointment and frustration were as evident as the walking boot hugging his otherwise bare, ailing left foot.

Although he said the sprained ligaments in his midfoot, injured Thursday against Maryland, felt better, Weinke confessed Monday afternoon that he hadn't improved as much as he had hoped after 72 hours of ice treatments and electrical stimuli.

"Right now, I can't put pressure on it; I can't stand on it," said Weinke, who didn't practice. "It's obviously not as good as I thought it was going to be. ... If we played today, I wouldn't be playing. That's all I can say."

That's ominous enough for FSU fans.

The Seminoles, who overtook Nebraska on Sunday for the top spot in the Associated Press poll, face their toughest test to date -- and perhaps all season given the location -- against No. 7 Miami on Saturday in the Orange Bowl. FSU plays Clemson and Florida in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles haven't lost since 1991.

Senior backup Marcus Outzen practiced with the first-team offense Monday, and he likely will do so again today. Freshman Chris Rix figures to be Outzen's backup if Weinke can't play, offensive coordinator Mark Richt said. The coaches want to redshirt junior Jared Jones to ensure he would have two more years of eligibility.

"We can win with Outzen," Richt said adamantly. "We're definitely not throwing in the towel if Weinke can't play."

Richt remains optimistic that Weinke, one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy and the undisputed team leader, will be able to play this weekend.

"I just don't know how long he'll play or how effectively he'll play," Richt said. "Just because a bone's not broken doesn't mean a guy can get out there and perform. How many sprained ankles have kept guys out for weeks at a time? It's hard to say how he'll react."

As a senior in his third year as the starter, the 28-year-old Weinke said he doesn't need a week's worth of snaps at practice to be ready. He plans to watch more film to recognize Miami's defensive strengths and weaknesses.

Still, he said he would like at least two days of practice.

He may not get that much.

"But I don't know what my situation is," he said. "I'm not going to go out there if it doesn't feel good or if it doesn't help me prepare for the game and it makes it worse. My goal is to play on Saturday and, again, we're just going day-by-day with it."

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