TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden wasn't totally surprised by a sloppy performance Saturday against Wake Forest. He was worried going into that game after watching the Seminoles miss numerous assignments in Thursday's walk-through.
That might explain the relief on Bowden's face as he left the practice fields this Thursday.
"We did a much better job out there than we did last Thursday," Bowden said. "They seem to know what they are doing a little bit more."
Said sophomore QB Christian Ponder: "Last Thursday, there were a lot of missed assignments and a lack of focus. I think guys, after what happened last week, they realized what we had to do on Thursdays and so they changed it."
NotABLE: Among players on the pregame injury report: DT Moses McCray (knee) is out, TE Josh Dobbie (foot) is questionable, and RB Carlton Jones (ankle) is probable.
USF: LB a captain
TAMPA — Senior LB Brouce Mompremier, sidelined with a neck injury suffered against Florida International, will not only make the trip to N.C. State, he will be team captain.
"I needed a tremendous leader, and he's a tremendous leader," coach Jim Leavitt said. "He's meant a lot to me and this team, and I wanted to do it."
Seniors Taurus Johnson, Jake Griffin and Tyrone McKenzie are the other captains.
Leavitt said senior K Justin Teachey is doubtful with a thigh injury. Junior Delbert Alvarado is taking the majority of the reps at kickoff, and Ilia Petrov was getting a chance.
"We've got some guys who can boom that thing," Leavitt said. "Ilia Petrov looked great."
INJURY UPDATE: N.C. State QB Russell Wilson was upgraded to doubtful on the injury report. Coach Tom O'Brien said Monday that Wilson was out and that former Countryside High star Harrison Beck was starting, but the new injury report opens the possibility that Wilson could play. The News & Observer in Raleigh reported that his throwing shoulder is injured.
UF: No surprises
GAINESVILLE — No. 4 Florida will face a familiar tactic when it hosts Mississippi on Saturday.
New coach Houston Nutt has installed the "Wild Rebel" formation, which puts WR Dexter McCluster behind center to take a direct snap. Nutt used the scheme at Arkansas with RB Darren McFadden.
The Gators faced it in their 2006 SEC title-game victory against the Razorbacks, allowing 3.8 yards per carry.
Florida has used the formation with Percy Harvin taking direct snaps, letting the defense face it during the week.
"We've got a couple plans for it," coach Urban Meyer said. "That's hard (to stop). The New England Patriots had a hell of a time with it (in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins), and teams have had a hard time with us."
SETBACK: LB Ryan Stamper (ankle) will be a game-time decision after he was "gimpy" in practice, Meyer said. Stamper has 12 tackles.
UCF: Focus on Burnett
ORLANDO — UCF's Joe Burnett shouldn't expect many chances to pad his Conference USA-leading yardage in punt and kickoff returns. UTEP coach Mike Price said he doesn't plan to give Burnett (averaging 31 yards on kickoff returns and 19.5 on punt returns) any chances on special teams plays Saturday.
"Of course they've got the best return specialist in the country," Price said. "Come out and watch him as we kick the ball over his head or kick it out of bounds. Hopefully, we'll kick off a few times and hopefully we won't punt a whole bunch. Seriously, he's great."
Times staff writer Greg Auman and correspondents Joe Rienzi and Phil Kegler contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel.