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FSU quarterback situation 'getting interesting'

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said the quarterback competition between fifth-year senior Drew Weatherford and redshirt sophomore Christian Ponder is only getting closer.

"Let me tell you, it's getting interesting," Fisher said after Thursday morning's practice, the first of the day as the Seminoles went twice for the first time.

He also said folks shouldn't dismiss redshirt sophomore D'Vontrey Richardson from the quarterback derby, either.

"They're (all) making progress," Fisher said excitedly. "We'll see how the scrimmages go. I don't have a crystal ball, but it's not letting up and they're not making it easy, I promise you that."

Fisher, like coach Bobby Bowden, prefers to go with one guy at the position but has used two in the past. At LSU in 2004, he used senior Marcus Randall and redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell as starters.

NOTABLE: Defensive end Markus White, a junior college All-American last year, is fine after he had a seizure Thursday, school officials said. Though an ambulance was called, White has been on medication to control an undisclosed condition and it's not expected to be an issue. …Receiver Preston Parker (cervical sprain) didn't practice again Thursday morning but said he was feeling okay. Cornerback Tony Carter (cervical sprain) did return. … Running back Tavares Pressley, another junior-college transfer, still hasn't been cleared.

UF: Speed, toughness

GAINESVILLE — Turns out freshman Jeff Demps can do more than just run fast.

The 5-foot-8 tailback who clocked a 10.01 in the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June earned high praise for a block on 6-foot-4, 218-pound defensive end William Green.

"He had to chip (quick block) a guy on his way out — well, we had to stop practice because he knocked the breath out of the kid," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "He laid him out and then he releases, catches the ball and goes on about his business down the field."

NO STARTER JUST YET: After freshman Caleb Sturgis made a 60-yard field goal in the spring game, many believed he locked up the No. 1 kicker spot over senior Jonathan Phillips. Not so fast, coach Urban Meyer says: "Jonathan Phillips is not giving that thing up. He got accepted to Miami Law School, and we had a long discussion and he came back because he wanted a chance to kick at Florida."

NOTABLE: Clearwater native Riley Cooper will battle Carl Moore for a starting wide receiver position, Meyer said. … Percy Harvin did conditioning work Thursday but still did not practice. No timetable is set for the receiver's return. … Freshman and Tampa native Matt Patchan did not participate in team drills, but he did contact work with the bags, the next step before being eased into full contact, Meyer said.

USF: Redshirt decision

TAMPA — USF has experienced quarterbacks in junior starter Matt Grothe and senior backup Grant Gregory, but coach Jim Leavitt faces a tough decision as to whether to play true freshmen B.J. Daniels and/or Evan Landi or redshirt them.

"B.J.'s just still learning. He's a heck of an athlete, no question," Leavitt said. "(Former quarterback) Marquel Blackwell was awful his first semester here. Grothe had to redshirt, then all the sudden he got on. B.J. has a chance to be a good player."

USF had former walk-on Anthony Severino graduate, and redshirt freshman Alton Voss left last month, so depth is a factor in considering redshirts.

"If you're only training three quarterbacks, that's not very many. You might go to four," Leavitt said. "I've been really impressed with Landi. He's got a good arm, has a great head on his shoulders, runs real well. I'd like to redshirt him."

INJURY: Sophomore Quincy Okolie, a walk-on who will go on scholarship in the fall, will miss the season with a disc problem in his back, Leavitt said. Okolie went into fall drills touted as one of the top five defensive ends. Leavitt said he's expected to be out three months, and will be eligible for a medical redshirt. Once healthy, he will return to tight end.

UM: Patience, please

CORAL GABLES — Randy Shannon has a group of freshmen regarded as among the best in the country, and he is considered to be off to an excellent start on assembling the next incoming class.

Does his recruiting success underscore the pressure for him to produce as a coach?

"No, no, it doesn't," he said. "It shouldn't right away. It's not fair to expect anybody to ask first-year players to contribute so much that everything changes immediately. The goal is to establish depth that will allow us to do the things that are necessary to be great for the long run."

Times staff writer Greg Auman and correspondent Phil Kegler contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

FSU quarterback situation 'getting interesting' 08/14/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2008 11:45pm]
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