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College football practice reports

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 20, 2001

Gators to go deep into bench at Orange Bowl

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday he'll use the Orange Bowl to get some different players more game time.

The Gators practiced twice Wednesday, including an afternoon scrimmage Spurrier described as "spirited." Wide receiver Reche Caldwell did not practice because he's recovering from a slight injury after someone stepped on his foot.

Spurrier said several nonstarters played well in the scrimmage, and he hopes they carry that over to the Jan. 2 bowl game.

"(Receivers) Carlos (Perez) and Kelvin (Kight), we need to play them more in this game," Spurrier said. "And Brock Berlin may play in this game. We may play a lot more people. We're down now to where we need to play more people."

The Gators plan to practice once this morning before taking off for the holidays. They expect to arrive in Miami on Dec. 27.

TICKETS REMAIN: Florida still has about 600 tickets remaining for the Orange Bowl, which will be played at Pro Player Stadium in Miami-Dade County.

Florida ticket manager Bill Holloway said Wednesday afternoon that the Gators have sold 14,400 of their 15,000 allotted tickets.

"We've been averaging about 200 to 300 for the last couple of days, so hopefully, by Friday, we will have sold them all," Holloway said.

Tickets can be ordered by calling (877) 428-6742.

JUCO SIGNEE: Florida picked up a highly recruited linebacker when Lance Mitchell orally committed.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound sophomore from City College in San Francisco is rated among the top five junior college players in the nation by several recruiting services. He was considering Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Texas and Washington.

No slackers for Seminoles

TALLAHASSEE -- So far, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has liked what he has seen as his Seminoles continue preparations for the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 against Virginia Tech.

"When I sit in the tower and watch practice, I look to see if there's a dropoff: Are we not as spirited? Are they letting up because it's not the big one? I've seen no sign of that whatsoever," Bowden said. "It looks like they're working just as hard as past years."

Even if no one would confuse the Gator Bowl with the Bowl Championship Series finale in which FSU had played in each of the past three years. FSU had played for the national title in four of the past five years before youth and injuries contributed to a 7-4 mark in 2001.

"I kind of expected that maybe after the kind of season we had, (guys would) come in here just trying to get the bowl game over with," junior offensive tackle Brett Williams said. "But everybody's been real upbeat and enthusiastic. We've had really good practices."

EARLY EXIT: Backup freshman quarterback Adrian McPherson was allowed to leave Wednesday's late afternoon practice early. The basketball team played Cleveland State at 7 p.m. and McPherson, the state's Mr. Basketball as a guard at Bradenton Manatee last season, has been pulling double duty.

PLAYING IN PAIN: Sophomore linebacker Kendyll Pope, who is second on the team in tackles (112) and fourth in tackles for a loss (seven), said he will need shoulder surgery in the offseason to remove bone spurs.

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