Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer shakes hands with South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz after Florida's 41-21 victory on Saturday.
By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 13, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- With a possible national title shot, as well as state bragging rights, on the line just about every year his team meets Florida, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has kept an eye on the doings in Gainesville.
That's why he wasn't shocked to learn Sunday that Gators coach Steve Spurrier plans to start Jesse Palmer at quarterback and not redshirt freshman Rex Grossman in their game Saturday at Tallahassee.
|[Times photo: Jim Damaske]
Florida head coach Steve Spurrier sends a message to starting quarterback Rex Grossman in the first quarter against Georgia. Grossman was later replaced by Jesse Palmer.
"I think Palmer is always in the equation," Bowden said. "You better be ready for Palmer every time you play them. ... He's a guy who's been there for five years. He's a guy who will not get intimidated. And he's a guy who knows what's going on. He's, to me, definitely the logical guy to start. ... I think it works out good for him and maybe not good for us."
But even if Spurrier were to use multiple quarterbacks, Bowden said, he wouldn't expect either team's game plan to change significantly. It's not like, say, FSU's Marcus Outzen, a running threat, were to start instead of Chris Weinke, a drop-back passer not known for his running.
"If you look at Grossman, Palmer (and Brock Berlin), they're all in the same mold of wanting to throw the ball," Bowden said.
And no matter who is under center, the Seminoles know they must pressure him.
"Whoever they got back there, we're going to come after him," defensive end Alonzo Jackson said. "All of them can throw. All of them know their plays. And all of them can be sacked."
RUNNING QUESTION: Not only should tailback turned receiver Nick Maddox get work at tailback this week, fullback William McCray should, too, given the number of injuries at that spot.
Travis Minor sprained his left ankle Saturday in a 35-6 win over Wake Forest, but he should be okay by Saturday. Jeff Chaney likely tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. An MRI exam was scheduled for today. Within 10 plays of Chaney's injury, Davy Ford broke his collarbone and Greg Jones sprained his right ankle. Jones had a good deal of swelling.
"I was saying, "My goodness, we're going to go into the Florida game and not even have a tailback,' " Bowden said.
Maddox showed his speed and instinctive running ability by gaining 52 yards on four carries.
"Wherever they need me to be, that's where I'll be," Maddox, a sophomore, said.
McCray, a redshirt junior, missed the past two games with a sprained left ankle, but he said he could have played against Wake Forest and was held out as a precaution. He was used at tailback for part of spring practice.
"I feel real comfortable (there)," he said.
THE 500 CLUB: The Seminoles have amassed at least 500 yards of offense in 10 straight games. They had 375 in the season-opening win against Brigham Young.
PAT STREAK: Freshman kicker Brett Cimorelli, a former Zephyrhills standout, made all five extra points Saturday, running his streak of successful conversions to 18 since reclaiming the starting job against North Carolina State.
COMEBACK BID: Cornerback Malcolm Tatum returned Saturday for the first time since sustaining a hairline vertebrae fracture in his lower back two months ago. He said he played about seven or eight plays and felt "all right."
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