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Leavitt hopeful on injured USF running backs

TAMPA — USF coach Jim Leavitt hopes to have his top two running backs, Ben Williams and Mike Ford, back for Friday's game with No. 13 Kansas after they were limited by ankle injuries to one carry against Central Florida.

Both dressed for Monday's practice but Leavitt said they didn't do anything significant: "We're not going to play them unless they're 100 percent. You're not going to go in and have a chance for any success if you're not 100 miles an hour."

Leavitt used junior Mo Plancher and sophomore Richard Kelly primarily against UCF for a combined 89 yards, but he seemed particularly pleased by his rush defense, which allowed 2.7 yards per carry. UCF coach George O'Leary said during the preseason that the Knights could get 3 yards a carry. "You can book it," O'Leary said, speaking generally about his team and no opponent in particular.

"You can book it," Leavitt said Monday. "Generally speaking, he didn't get 3 yards a carry."

INJURED: Redshirt freshman Tyson Butler, a top backup at cornerback, missed Monday's practice, watching with a boot on his injured left ankle. The severity is not known. Senior WR Marcus Edwards, who bruised his ribs making a catch Saturday, did not practice but should play against Kansas.

FIU KICKOFF SET: Next week's game at Florida International will begin at 5 p.m. (ESPNU).

FSU: A new role

TALLAHASSEE — During his first three seasons as a starting cornerback, Tony Carter has pleaded with defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews to let him return punts on a full-time basis. But he had just one return for 19 yards.

In Saturday's opening victory, he got another chance, fielding a punt at the FSU 32, eluding a pair of Western Carolina players and scoring.

"I'm glad that I got the chance to show the coaches and my peers that I can get the job done," Carter said.

Said Andrews: "He's very, very talented."

Dunbar surgery: Junior DE Emmanuel Dunbar, who aggravated a back injury during preseason practice, is expected to have season-ending surgery today. He was expected to start.

TV UPDATE: ESPN2 will carry the Sept. 20 game against Wake Forest. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

ACC HONOR: FSU's Rodney Hudson was named the ACC offensive lineman of the week.

UM: James in doubt

CORAL GABLES — Miami RB Javarris James has a high left ankle sprain that could keep him out of the next game Sept. 20 at Texas A&M.

James, hurt early in a loss at Florida, could miss four weeks.

Graig Cooper, who shares the top billing with James, and backups Derron Thomas and Shawnbrey McNeal could get more carries.

UCF: Burnett honored

ORLANDO — UCF senior Joe Burnett was named Conference USA special teams player of the week. Against USF, he had 135 kickoff return yards and one TD and 71 punt return yards.

Times correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires and the Orlando Sentinel.

>>FAST FACTS

Up next

USF: vs. Kansas, 8 Friday (ESPN2)

FSU: vs. Chattanooga, 3:45 Saturday (ESPNU)

Florida: at Tennessee, 3:30 Sept. 20 (Ch. 10)

Miami: at Texas A&M, Sept. 20, time and TV TBA

Leavitt hopeful on injured USF running backs 09/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 8, 2008 11:55pm]
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