GAINESVILLE — News of a Gainesville church's plan to burn Korans incited reactions from the president, secretary of state and even the pope. But before Tuesday, Florida coach Urban Meyer said he did not know about it.
Meyer said his players told him about the plans, which were canceled Thursday afternoon by the church's pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones. However, later Thursday night, Jones threatened to reconsider the burning.
"I was not aware of it two days ago," Meyer said Thursday. "I haven't heard much since then."
Jones, who leads the Dove World Outreach Center, was set to burn the Muslim holy book after Florida's home game against USF on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The University Police Department has not indicated its security plan for Saturday has changed, a team spokesman said. The university and UPD have been in contact with local, state and federal officials who were monitoring the situation.
Fans have been asked to pay closer attention to their surroundings and report any suspicious packages or activates.
Receiver depth: WRs Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore played every snap Saturday against Miami (Ohio), something Meyer said he did not realize and had not occurred with any of his teams before.
"The (other receivers) got a little better in practice this week, so we can get them in the games," Meyer said.
"There will be a little bit of a rotation."
Nixon ready: OL Xavier Nixon has performed well enough in practice this week to play Saturday, Meyer said. Nixon, who started the last five games as a freshman in 2009, was sidelined throughout the preseason with a knee injury. Meyer added that offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has not decided if Nixon will start.
FSU: Fisher desires softer schedules
TALLAHASSEE — Under coach Bobby Bowden, Florida State built its program with the kind of games it will play Saturday — against highly ranked opponents in hostile environments.
And if the No. 17 Seminoles win at No. 10 Oklahoma, it would bring instant credibility to first-year coach Jimbo Fisher and the program.
Even so, as long as Fisher is coaching, games such as Saturday's will be a thing of the past.
FSU previously scheduled nonconference games against Oklahoma, West Virginia and USF for upcoming seasons. But don't expect any other marquee opponents to pop up on future schedules.
Fisher has made clear he prefers a softer scheduling philosophy.
"We have a great nonconference opponent in Florida every year, which is a major opponent," Fisher said. "I'd like to have one other significant opponent and then two opponents, maybe a (Division I-AA) type of school."
To provide an indication of the caliber of teams Fisher is looking for, consider that FSU recently added Louisiana-Monroe, a Sun Belt team, and Murray State, a I-AA team, to the 2011 and 2012 schedules.
Still in: Fisher said LB Mister Alexander, arrested and released earlier this week after turning himself in on a charge of failure to appear in court, will play Saturday.
UM: Four reserves out for the season
CORAL GABLES — Reserve DT Jeremy Lewis and three other Miami players were declared out for the season because of injuries. Lewis hurt his lower right leg early in last week's season-opening 45-0 win over Florida A&M. Details of the injury were not disclosed.
The Hurricanes also said FB John Calhoun, RB Darion Hall and LB Travis Williams (all reserves) are out after undisclosed surgeries.
Other injuries: Last season's leading rusher, Graig Cooper, is listed as doubtful for Saturday's game at No. 2 Ohio State. But it's almost assured Cooper, still recovering from major right knee surgery related to the injury sustained at December's Champs Sports Bowl, will sit out. DL Luther Robinson and LB Kevin Nelson are out with undisclosed injuries.
Associated Press, South Florida Sun Sentinel
UCF: Senior wants to honor soldiers
ORLANDO — UCF senior DT Wes Tunuufi Sauvao hopes coach George O'Leary will let him do a special pregame tribute Saturday.
Before last season's final home game, Sauvao led the team out of the tunnel carrying an American flag in honor of his father and other members of the military.
"It was a big deal because I kind of lost my father over the next couple years (after the Sept. 11 attacks)," said Sauvao, the Samoan son of two immigrants. "He's done three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's also a great sense of pride to see my father go and serve the country and see people come together, unite and try to make society and life better."
Players praised: O'Leary said he has been pleased with his players' focus and attitude in practice this week preparing for N.C. State.
"I think it's critical," he said. "It's a home game — we only play six — and they know they have to defend their house."
Quotable: "I think the big thing Saturday is we're going to have to tackle people where they catch the ball, and we're going to have to basically manage the game as far as moving the chains. Manage the game, and we need some chunk plays ourselves." — O'Leary