By JAMAL THALJI and JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 30, 2000
TAMPA -- A Washington Post report that South Carolina coach Lou Holtz is on the Redskins' list of coaching candidates and his famous wit made for high comedy during Friday evening's Outback Bowl news conference.
Asked about the report, Holtz's initial answer seemed cryptic: "I have not talked to the Washington Post nor do I plan on it."
Reporters wondered why Holtz said the Post, not the Redskins. Pressed on the matter, Holtz couldn't believe it was a story.
"Rumors go on and on ... I'm not even going to address that ... anything that absurd is just crazy," he said incredulously. "I'm here to coach South Carolina in a bowl game, and I get this about rumors and the Washington Redskins.
"That guy (owner Daniel Snyder) can go get anybody he wants. I'm coaching South Carolina.
"I started the rumor just to see how far it would get," Holtz said, joking.
BELLISARI'S TIME: Whether a Buckeyes victory will erase the memories of a mediocre Big Ten season in the minds of Ohio State fans is questionable, but it would go a long way for quarterback Steve Bellisari.
After a 5-0 start the Buckeyes finished 3-3, and much of the blame fell on the junior's shoulders. The season-ending 38-26 home loss to Michigan was the low point, as three Bellisari interceptions led to 17 Wolverines points.
His teammates, however, insist Bellisari is more than capable of leading OSU against South Carolina and its aggressive defense. "He wants to get out here and perform well, but he's just got to relax like we all do, and he'll do just fine," senior split end Vanness Provitt said.
HELP WANTED: Bellisari will not have the services of Ohio State's leading receiver, Reggie Germany, who will miss the game because of academic problems. And Ken-Yon Rambo, the quarterback's second favorite target, will not be at full strength after a hairline fracture on his left hand.
One player to watch is tight end Darnell Sanders, who caught 18 passes during the season but led the team with five receiving touchdowns.
CHANGE OF PLANS: South Carolina will practice at One Buc Place today. The Bucs, who play the Eagles Sunday in an NFL wild-card game, left Friday for Philadelphia to avoid snowstorms.
TODAY: Beach Day, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Both teams join their bands and cheerleaders, who will perform on Clearwater Beach outside the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort Hotel. Includes live music, skydivers, volleyball, and tug-of-war and pie-eating contests. Call (813) 874-2695.
SUNDAY: Parade, 5:30 p.m., down Seventh Avenue, Ybor City. Ybor Bowl Blast, 7:30 p.m., Seventh Avenue and 13th Street, with teams, bands and cheerleaders. Fireworks, 8:15. Call (813) 874-2695. MONDAY: Pregame bash, 8 a.m., Tampa Bay Center mall. Food and drinks available. Call (813) 874-2695. Raymond James Stadium opens at 9:30 a.m. Pregame show, 10:15, featuring high school and college bands, skydivers and 1,000 performers. Kickoff, 11. The game is sold out.
-- Source: Outback Bowl. Events, dates and times subject to change.