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FSU ponders options with inconsistent kicking game

TALLAHASSEE — Concerned about its kicking game, Florida State took a longer look Tuesday at walk-on James Esco.

Junior Zach Hobby, who won the job when senior Graham Gano injured his knee in preseason, is 1-for-4 on field goals and 13-for-15 on extra points.

"It scares you more than anything else when you miss extra points," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Field goals I can understand, but the extra points have got to be automatic."

Gano could be available for limited duty Saturday.

"I'm still getting a lot of pain," Gano said. "I don't have full movement in my leg yet."

UF: Surgery for DT

GAINESVILLE — Florida redshirt freshman DT John Brown had surgery to repair a broken wrist, assistant coach Dan McCarney said.

Brown, who has been practicing all season, has not made a significant impact despite high expectations.

Also, backup QB Cameron Newton sprained his ankle, but coach Urban Meyer said Newton will be "fine." LB Dustin Doe remains probable with a groin injury.

Meyer said he's unhappy with the overall play of the defensive tackles, specifically Carlos Dunlap, whom Meyer said is not living up to expectations after his spring performance.

McCarney said the Gators will need "great defense,'' to win at Tennessee this weekend.

"There's no real secret," McCarney said. "We have to be physical and we have to find a way to slow them down."

USF: Focus on FIU

TAMPA — Bulls QB Matt Grothe, who won his first career start 21-20 against FIU in 2006, said USF knows better than to look past Saturday's game against the Golden Panthers.

"It was a little scary, I remember that," Grothe said of the 2006 game.

Coach Jim Leavitt said he does not consider it a trap game.

"They're good enough to beat us without calling it a trap," he said. "It's not anything about a trap. They're good."

UM: A Marve promise

CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes were criticized for an ineffective, basic offense in a Sept. 6 loss to Florida, but QB Robert Marve promised improvement Saturday at Texas A&M.

"We have a lot in the playbook, it's not like it's a basic playbook by any means," he said.

Against UF, the longest completion was 14 yards to sophomore Leonard Hankerson.

Coach Randy Shannon said he would minimize the receiver rotation. During the first two games, UM used eight or nine receivers. Now it's seven.

Shannon also upgraded junior Sam Shields to starter. Last season, Shields was second on the team with 27 catches but had problems off the field.

UCF: Praise for QB

ORLANDO — Teammates say they see a difference in QB Michael Greco after he led the Knights on consecutive late touchdown drives against USF.

C Mike Lavoie said that gave the offense a confidence boost, and S Jason Venson said he noticed during bye week practice that Greco has improved.

"I think it helped him," Lavoie said. "Every time you score, everybody gets a little confidence. Everybody had to work together to score, so we all get that confidence."

Times staff writer Antonya English and correspondent Joe Rienzi contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel and Times wires.

>>FAST FACTS

Up next

Florida: at Tennessee,

3:30 Saturday, Ch. 10

USF: at Florida International, 5 Saturday, ESPNU

FSU: vs. Wake Forest,

7 Saturday, ESPN2

Miami: at Texas A&M, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 28

FSU ponders options with inconsistent kicking game 09/16/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 19, 2008 8:22pm]
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