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Practice reports


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2001

Gators to make changes

Gators to make changes

GAINESVILLE -- The Florida offense is looking for a spark for its homecoming game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Coach Steve Spurrier said a change at tight end and the return of tailback Willie Green could do it.

"(Green) can run straight ahead, and he runs hard," Spurrier said. "He brings a little excitement and a little emotional lift to us. And that's what we need. And that's what Earnest (Graham) gave us last week."

Green had knee surgery during the preseason and has not practiced fully until this week.

Spurrier said the redshirt freshman is not 100 percent but could get some carries against the Commodores, who are seeking their first conference win.

In addition, Spurrier said there would be a competition at tight end among Aaron Walker, who started the first six games, Ben Troupe, who started against Georgia, and Kirk Wells.

"The decision was made that we need more productivity, more of a physical nature," tight ends coach Buddy Teevens said. "We've seen flashes of it from all three of them, and so it's open season." Teevens said the starter will be announced today.

HALLOWEEN CHANGE: Ballboys sported a different look Wednesday. In honor of Halloween, they wore Gator uniforms with the former numbers of the coaching staff, including a No.11, Spurrier's number. SHULA SPEAKS: Former Dolphins coach Don Shula spoke to the team for a few minutes during practice Tuesday evening. Shula was on campus to deliver a speech at the O'Connell Center. INJURY UPDATE: Spurrier said linebacker Marcus Oquendo-Johnson (shoulder) likely will be out Saturday but defensive end Bobby McCray (sprained ankle) could play.

Defensive linemen returns

A sprained ankle kept Blount off the field Monday, and he was completing a class assignment Tuesday

Blount, who played defensive end for his first three seasons, also could play there Saturday.

Starting end Chris Daley (sprained ankle) practiced after missing the previous two days, but he is questionable for Saturday. Cedric Battles is expected to start in his place.

QUICK STRIKE: Just as it did in Saturday's 68-37 win against Liberty, the first-string offense scored quickly in its weekly showdown with the first-string defense at the end of practice.

Given the ball at its 30 with 47 seconds remaining, no timeouts and needing a touchdown, quarterback Marquel Blackwell completed a long pass to tight end Casey Cobb and raced downfield to spike the ball. Blackwell then connected with Ryan Hearn for the touchdown.

Defensive end to have surgery

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State defensive end Willie Jones, Jr. will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee next week. He has not healed from a torn medial collateral ligament suffered in last year's California-Florida high school all-star game. "(Doctors) want to scope his knee and see if that cartilage repair did take," team trainer Randy Oravetz said. "We're getting enough indications that it didn't." No date has been set for the surgery. Jones will redshirt this season.

SCOUT WORK: FSU held a two-hour practice to prepare for Saturday's game against Clemson. The team worked against the scout team and participated in an 11-on-11 scrimmage. "It was a pretty good practice," coach Bobby Bowden said. "We're just trying to get our defense ready to line up against Clemson's fast-paced offense."

INJURY UPDATE: Safety Patrick Newton, who has suffered two concussions in as many weeks, had an MRI test Tuesday. He likely will be held out of Saturday's game.

Safety Genarro Jackson will visit a doctor today for what could be a hernia. He has been unable to practice.

Walk-on running back Miller St. Hilaire missed practice and will not play because of a kidney stone.

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