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Around the state

By DEBI JONES, ALEX ABRAMS and BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 16, 2001

Mitchell will likely miss season's end

GAINESVILLE -- The Gator defense has played most of the season without end Clint Mitchell, and it likely will play the rest of the season without him.

Coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday that it looks like Mitchell will sit out the rest of the season after being suspended last week for breaking unspecified university rules.

"I think (he is out for the season) at this point," Spurrier said without committing.

Mitchell was suspended the first six games of the season but returned for the Georgia and Vanderbilt games. He has four tackles, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery.

WALKER, LEE LIKELY TO START: Spurrier said tight end Aaron Walker likely will get the nod this week. Walker started the first six games of the season and has 14 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Defensive line coach Ricky Hunley said sophomore Darrell Lee will start opposite Alex Brown at defensive end. Lee also started at South Carolina.

OMINOUS SIGN: Spurrier said he read that FSU offensive tackle Alex Barron broke his hand in practice. "It shows that they have been hitting up there this week," Spurrier said. "They're going to be ready to play. I hope we're ready."

ACADEMIC TEAM: Four Gators were named to the Academic All-District team. Quarterback Brock Berlin, safety Marquand Manuel, offensive tackle Mike Pearson and defensive tackle Ian Scott were named to the District III team. They are eligible to be named Academic All-Americans Dec. 13.

NOT MANY BACKUPS: Spurrier said he would like to play Berlin as a backup to starter Rex Grossman, but that the scenario was unlikely. "Hopefully, we can get Brock in there, that'll mean we are in good shape," Spurrier said. "But we are not planning on many backups playing in this game."

FSU to start freshman

TALLAHASSEE -- FSU redshirt freshman Ray Willis will make his first start at right tackle, and junior Todd Williams will start at split tackle. The coaches made the decision a day after Barron, the expected starter, fractured a bone in his right hand. He practiced Thursday with a cast on his hand and could play as a backup against the Gators. "I think he could play," coach Bobby Bowden said. "(Offensive linemen) use their hands so much in pass (protection), and he ain't got but one. It wouldn't hurt his blocking as much running. We'll have to play it by ear."

SHOES: Running back Nick Maddox will wear three-quarter-high cleats instead of his usual low-top cleats in the game, trying to give more support to his sprained left ankle. "(The shoes) feel good actually," Maddox said. "I feel like I can cut off of them more. I get more grip out of them." He is listed as probable.

YESTERDAY'S SPECIAL: The team's cafeteria served, among other things, fried alligator tail for dinner. "You can deep fry the tongue out of my shoe and it would taste good," strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost said.

TIME SET: FSU and Georgia Tech will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Doak Campbell Stadium. ESPN will broadcast the game, the regular-season finale originally set for Sept. 15 and postponed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Original tickets will be honored.

FSU INJURY REPORT: Fullbacks William McCray (sprained ankle) and Greg Tony (back injury), running back Greg Jones (sprained neck), safety Gennaro Jackson (abdominal strain) and defensive end Alonzo Jackson (knee injury) are probable. Safety Patrick Newton (fractured nose) is questionable.

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