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Spurrier says QB battle down to 2

Though Florida coach Steve Spurrier will not announce his starting quarterback until later this week, he said Monday he has narrowed it down to two from among Doug Johnson, Noah Brindise and Jesse Palmer.

Spurrier is expected to name Johnson the starter for the game against Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville. He said Monday that Johnson, who was suspended one game for missing curfew two nights before the LSU game, has things to make up for on and off the field.

"Breaking that team rule has not endeared him to all the guys on the team all that much," Spurrier said. "But if we think he's the best quarterback, then we're going to play him."

Brindise, a fifth-year senior, may have experience in his favor, not to mention the 97-yard drive he led for the go-ahead touchdown against Auburn when he replaced an ineffective Palmer.

"The experience factor is starting to kick in on me a little bit more," Spurrier said. "Maybe that's a little bit more important than I'm giving it credit for."

Against Auburn, Brindise completed just five passes for 69 yards but found WR Travis McGriff on consecutive third-and-10s for first downs. It was Brindise's first significant playing time in a game that wasn't a blowout.

BROWNING TO START: Spurrier said Tampa's Pat Browning likely will start at RT. Mo Collins would move to LT to replace the injured Zach Piller (hamstring), who returned to practice in a green non-contact jersey.

Spurrier said Piller could play against the Bulldogs.

"He moved around decently," Spurrier said. "He jogged his sprints across the field. He'll suit up, I'm sure, and hopefully play a little bit."

KINNEY BACK IN: Spurrier said TE Erron Kinney will return to the starting lineup after being benched against Auburn in favor of redshirt freshman Dwight Edge.

"Kinney's ready to come back and be our starter this weekend," Spurrier said. "Erron came off the bench and blocked pretty well."

Kinney was benched after subpar blocking performances against Arkansas and LSU, when the Gators allowed a combined seven sacks.

"I was a little disappointed when I lost the job, but I need to play more fired up," said Kinney, who has 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. "I didn't play with emotion. I didn't play with the sense of urgency that the coaches stress."

Kinney, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, said he is considering playing basketball again. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in limited action last year.

TIME CHANGE: Kickoff for Florida's homecoming game Nov. 8 against Vanderbilt has been changed to 12:30 p.m. The game had been scheduled for 1 p.m. until Jefferson-Pilot Sports announced Monday it would televise it live as its SEC Game of the Week.

_ MARK LONG

Bulls have primo practice

TAMPA _ His hair was dripping wet, but South Florida coach Jim Leavitt couldn't help but smile after practice, the first time he had seen his players since Thursday.

"It was beautiful out there tonight," he said.

Leavitt must have been talking about the players' performance, because it rained during most of the two-hour workout. He said the Bulls looked refreshed after the weekend off and had one of their best practices.

USF (2-5) focused on seven-on-seven drills as it prepares for Saturday's home opponent, Charleston Southern (1-6).

CENTER OF ATTENTION: Freshman Craig Laufer of Coral Springs, who took Ivan Alicot's place at center in USF's last game against Southern Illinois, likely will remain there until the end of the season, Leavitt said. Alicot has been moved to offensive tackle.

"(Laufer) deserves to (start)," Leavitt said. "He graded out higher han anyone last game."

INJURY REPORT: Most of the minor injuries have healed, Leavitt said. One exception is LB Marshall Smith's dislocated thumb, which required surgery last week.

Smith practiced Monday with a cast that extended nearly to his elbow, at one point during drills whacking a the ball with it nearly over the practice field fence. Smith probably will play sparingly Saturday.

_ SHARON GINN

Minor, Cowart honored

TALLAHASSEE _ Florida State's Travis Minor and Sam Cowart earned ACC Player of the Week honors.

In his first start, freshman RB Minor rushed for 159 yards on 17 carries, caught six passes for 68 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Seminoles' 47-21 defeat of Virginia.

Senior OLB Cowart had a team-high 14 tackles, including eight solo stops, as FSU held Virginia to minus-9 rushing yards. He also had two sacks, one quarterback pressure, an intimidation, a knock 'em back and 2{ third-down stops.

_ TIMES WIRES

Knights put it all behind

ORLANDO _ Central Florida coach Gene McDowell has a message for his troops: "We played, we lost, we forget it."

The Knights are doing their best to disregard the mounting frustration of another close loss to another high-profile team, this time 35-28 to Mississippi State.

"There's no time to cry in your beer in this business," McDowell said. "It's all about moving on."

_ TIMES WIRES

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