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Freshman QBs get their shots

By Compiled from Times staff, correspondent and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 4, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- The talk surrounding Florida's two freshmen quarterbacks may finally be justified this weekend as senior quarterback Jesse Palmer most likely will miss Saturday's game.

Coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that redshirt freshman Rex Grossman will take the place of Palmer, who is out with a sprained ankle. Freshman Brock Berlin also is expected to see significant playing time against Louisiana State.

"Whether we need to rotate them or not, we'll see how it goes," Spurrier said. "Basically, we need to give Rex a good chance. If Rex can play extremely well, and he did play very well the other day, then we need to give him a chance to see what he can do."

Palmer did not dress out or practice in drills Tuesday afternoon.

AUBURN CHANGE: Ch. 10 will televise the Florida-Auburn game Oct. 14, with the 1 p.m. kickoff rescheduled for 3:30.

- DEBI JONES

Weinke throws a bit during practice

TALLAHASSEE -- Quarterback Chris Weinke did some passing during the first 20 minutes. He wore a special shoe on his left foot to prevent further injury. Weinke, who has thrown for 1,478 yards and 12 touchdowns through five games this season, did not take any snaps. Backup quarterback Marcus Outzen continued to work with the first-team offense in preparation for Saturday's game against No. 7 Miami.

After practice, Weinke said the left ankle he injured against Maryland was showing signs of improvement.

"I felt a lot better than I did yesterday," Weinke said. "I was able to throw from the shotgun, but I haven't tested it yet from any dropping back."

-- ALEX ABRAMS

Injuries force youth movement

TAMPA -- South Florida heads into Saturday's game against No. 17 Southern Mississippi with many injuries. Senior free safety Jay Mize, who left the fourth quarter Saturday with a shoulder injury, is out, coach Jim Leavitt said. Wide receiver DeAndrew Rubin (right ankle) and nose tackle Lee Roy Selmon Jr. (ankle and knee) are doubtful and are being held out of practice this week.

Leavitt said he expects to see freshmen such as defensive back John Miller step up.

"We will probably play some new faces this weekend," Leavitt said. "This will be a great opportunity for guys who have been begging to play. They say they want an opportunity to play. Well, they better be ready because it's coming."

- TIMES WIRES

Rattlers running back returns

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida A&M running back Kelsie Lordeus, sidelined with a separated shoulder since the first game of the season, returned to practice. Lordeus, a senior from Miami, has been participating in non-contact drills for two weeks, but he was not cleared to join contact drills until Monday.

"I don't know how ready he is yet," coach Billy Joe said. "He did work out, but he's not the old Lordeus yet."

Several other Rattlers may be ready to play Saturday against Grambling in Indianapolis. Joe said offensive tackle Shedrick Moten, defensive back Trabian Turner and linebacker Torre Warren, a senior from Tampa, are making progress.

- JABARI RITCHIE

Injuries worry UCF coach

ORLANDO -- Central Florida cut practice short, not wanting to risk injury in rainy conditions.

"We're on our midpoint of the season with no bye week, and you have to pull off the hitting," coach Mike Kruczek said. "You've got to get to the game with the people who are going to help you in the game. It's nice to work hard during the week, but you've got to work smart."

Kruczek's biggest concern is at running back, where Eddie Mack and Omari Howard have neck injuries. Mack is practicing with a non-contact jersey, but Howard, who has had neck surgery once in his career, is questionable for the game at Northern Illinois. Redshirt freshman Corey Baker, who rushed for 96 yards against Eastern Michigan, likely will see the bulk of the action.

- DAVID MARSTERS

Davis hopes to end coaching skid

CORAL GABLES -- There are plenty of coaches who haven't beaten the Seminoles during Bobby Bowden's 25 years at Florida State. But just one at Miami.

Butch Davis is 0-5 against the Seminoles, the only Hurricanes coach with a losing record against Bowden since he took over at Florida State in 1976.

Davis is hoping to end that streak Saturday as No. 7 Miami plays host to the top-ranked Seminoles.

"Clearly it's something that I want to do," Davis said. "I want to beat Florida State. I want to beat them every bit as bad as the alumni and the players do."

- TIMES WIRES

Around the nation

COLORADO: The winless team got more bad news when it learned that leading rusher Marcus Houston will be sidelined 3-8 weeks with a hip injury.

DUKE: A former special-teams star testified that Heather Sue Mercer was the best placekicker on the team in the spring of 1995. "She packed a powerful punch," Tijon Redmon said of his former teammate, who has sued the school in federal court claiming she was cut from the team because of her gender. Duke's attorneys contend that Mercer's lack of leg strength was a key factor in the decision to cut her from the squad.

JACKSONVILLE: Sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Turner was named Division I-AA independent special-teams player of the week and junior linebacker Tommy Swindell was named to the I-AA independent honor roll for his play in the Dolphins' 28-24 win over Austin Peay.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: The university and law enforcement officials are investigating the sale and use of counterfeit tickets for Saturday's game against Florida at Scott Field.

VIRGINIA TECH: Starting cornerback Larry Austin is expected to miss the rest of the season after hurting his knee last week.

- TIMES WIRES

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