Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said he still holds out hope NG Julian Pittman will play this season, perhaps as early as Saturday against North Carolina State. Pittman is waiting for the university to rule on the appeal of his school suspension. The senior completed his jail sentence for burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card.
TAILBACK TALES: Bowden indicated redshirt freshman Vannez Gooch would start at TB against Wake Forest on Nov. 15. Travis Minor makes his second straight start Saturday.
INJURY UPDATE: NG Corey Simon (left knee inflammation), OL Ross Brannon (right ankle), OL Jeremy Brett (left knee) and DB Tay Cody (right elbow) were held out of contact. FB Khalid Abdullah, FL Tres Walton and DB Abdual Howard were held out with flu.
EDWARDS CASE: Junior CB Mario Edwards, suspended indefinitely from school Aug. 22 for his role in a domestic dispute, could retain his football eligibility for the '98 season. On appeal, FSU officials gave a two-term suspension beginning this fall and clearance to transfer to a two-year college this spring.
_ KEVIN RECORD
DT Chester still too sore to start
GAINESVILLE _ With DT Ed Chester still recovering from knee surgery, defensive tackles coach Rod Broadway said senior Mike Moten and sophomore Reggie McGrew will start Saturday against Georgia. Chester, who has lost 14 pounds in the past two weeks, said not playing since Oct. 11 against LSU has helped him fully recover from various nagging injuries. Broadway said Chester and freshman Buck Gurley will get significant backup time.
ODDS AND ENDS: LT Zach Piller returned to full contact practice but is not expected to play much against Georgia. Kickoff for the Nov. 8 homecoming game against Vanderbilt was changed from 1 p.m. to 12:30. Jefferson-Pilot Sports will televise it live.
_ MARK LONG, SPECIAL REPORTS
Okay, enough time off already
TAMPA _ About the only thing coach Jim Leavitt hasn't been excited about in South Florida's inaugural season was the inaugural open date. All hands are rested and ready to take on Charleston Southern at home Saturday.
"We've had enough practice," Leavitt said.
Most of the Bulls are healthy after having 10 days to heal. OT Kenyatta Jones (ankle) is probable and LB Marshall Smith (dislocated thumb) will play sparingly.
_ SHARON GINN