Freshman Anquan Boldin, Florida's Mr. Football and hailed as one of the nation's top prospects coming out of Pahokee High, vowed he would play quarterback at Florida State.
He did for three full-squad practices.
But Boldin stunned the coaches on Monday afternoon by asking if he could move to wide receiver.
"I felt like I was playing quarterback for the wrong reasons," he said. "That was just to prove some people wrong. If you want to play quarterback, your heart has to be in it."
Last season, he completed 133 of 233 passes for 2,842 yards and 36 touchdowns. But the 6-2, 205-pound Boldin also ran for 1,497 yards and 20 scores.
"It surprised me because he was doing well," coach Bobby Bowden said. "From the first practice to the second practice, I saw improvement. From the second practice to the third practice I saw improvement the way he threw the ball, a little bit more confidence where he was throwing to."
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mark Richt said: "He was really catching on in a hurry; all the QBs in the room sat dumbfounded for a while."
FSU has four senior receivers (Peter Warrick, Ron Dugans, Laveranues Coles and Germaine Stringer), all of whom he can learn from and then be positioned to help replace next season. Bowden added that Boldin might see some time this season as a kick returner.
"He's a prospect no matter where he lines up, no doubt about it," he said.
THE AGGRAVATION: Backup tailback Jeff Chaney, who had been nursing a sore left hamstring, pulled it during practice. He spent the remainder of the practice on the sideline and is day-to-day.
A STEP FORWARD: All-America offensive lineman Jason Whitaker, who missed Saturday's two-a-days when he injured his right foot Friday, returned to practice Monday morning.
_ BRIAN LANDMAN
Ratliff and Williams
GAINESVILLE _ Florida began freshman practice without two of its 21 signees. DB Keiwan Ratliff (6-0, 175) and DL Roy Williams (6-2, 265) are academically ineligible for fall drills and will sit out the season.
Coach Steve Spurrier said Ratliff and Williams will attempt to improve their qualifying test scores and enroll in the spring.
"Keiwan Ratliff and Roy Williams barely missed academically," Spurrier said. "(Ratliff) thought he had a B in one course in high school, but he got a C and he didn't make it. He was that close. He is scheduled to be back, and hopefully Roy will be back also in December or January."
Williams, considered one of the best prep defensive lineman in the nation last year as a senior at DeLand High, figured to play a prominent backup role for Florida.
Despite the absence of Williams and Ratliff, Spurrier said this is one of his best freshman classes.
"It's different than most years, trying to start from scratch," Spurrier said. "The players have done an excellent job on their own learning from the upper classmen during our summer school program."
POSSIBLE PROBLEM: Junior SS Rod Graddy, already suspended for the first two games of the season, could face more disciplinary action for his involvement in an incident Friday that led to two arrests.
Gainesville Police stopped Graddy's car shortly after a brawl at a local night club. Two passengers in the car, Timothy Taylor, 27, and Kenneth James Welch, 19, both of Gainesville, were arrested. Graddy, suspended for violating unspecified university rules, was not charged and was "helpful to the police," Gainesville Police Department spokesman Keith Kameg said.
Police said Taylor and Welch took advantage of a "mob scene" at the club by robbing a man who had just been involved in a separate fight. According to police, Taylor snatched a $1,200 bracelet belonging to Charles Hatchell of Altamonte Springs.
Taylor and Welch then fled to Graddy's waiting car, and Taylor pointed a nickel-plated handgun at two men who chased him to the car. According to police, the car was pulled over shortly thereafter, and Graddy told officers that Taylor had thrown the gun out the window.
Police recovered the gun and charged Taylor with strong-armed robbery and aggravated battery. Welch was charged with a misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact for hiding the stolen bracelet under his seat when the car was stopped by police.
Graddy is one of at least four players _ along with DT Gerard Warren (two games), OT Kenyatta Walker (one game) and WR Steve Shipp (one game) _ suspended for the season.
EXTRA POINTS: Spurrier said RB Ran Carthon (6-0, 210), who had foot surgery this summer, likely will redshirt. Dwight Jackson (6-1, 195), recruited as a linebacker out of Glades Central High, will play strong safety. WR Derrick Gaffney, whose father played wide receiver for the Gators and the New York Jets, will go by his middle name, Jabar, at UF.
_ MARK LONG
Options abound for USF,
Leavitt in early practices
TAMPA _ This time two years ago, Jim Leavitt opened practices knowing many of the freshmen and transfers would not just play right away, but start.
As South Florida prepares for its third season, Leavitt can afford to be pickier. Most of the 29 newcomers won't make the two-deep roster. But a few stood out Monday, the first day of practice for freshmen and transfers.
Leavitt said he'll take an immediate look at two transfers from Georgia, quarterback Mike Usry and linebacker Kawika Mitchell. Usry, a junior who participated in drills with the Bulls all summer, is No. 3 on the depth chart behind junior Glenn Gauntt and sophomore Marquel Blackwell. But "you can tell we're going to have to look at him hard," Leavitt said.
Mitchell is a more recent arrival. He just received his release from the Bulldogs and arrived in Tampa last week.
Mitchell will compete at the middle linebacker spot with captain Jason Butler and Marshall Smith.
Leavitt praised several other newcomers, including sophomore running back Hugh Smith of Miami (Ohio) and Merritt Island, freshman defensive lineman Greg Walls of Sarasota Booker, and quarterback Kevin Patullo of Westin. Walls has not been cleared academically by the NCAA.
Leavitt also praised Plant City linebacker Antwan Fleming, but said the touted 6-2 freshman reported too heavy at 276 pounds and needs to lose about 20.
"I'm sure he lost a little weight this morning," Leavitt said.
The Bulls practiced for about two hours in the morning and about 70 minutes in the afternoon before the workout was shortened by rain. Two-a-days continue today, followed by media day Wednesday and the first full-squad workouts Thursday.
Freshmen Ken Dawson and John Brown, who sat out last season because they were academically ineligible, will not practice until later this week.
_ SHARON GINN
UCF: Junior tackle Freddie Moore of Tallahassee announced his intention to leave the team and transfer to Florida A&M in his hometown, where he will be eligible immediately.
ARKANSAS STATE: The university soon could be in a football-playing conference with two Sun Belt teams, some members of the Big West and an independent. Athletic director Barry Dowd said he believes something will be formalized at a meeting today and Wednesday in New Orleans.
KENTUCKY: AD C.M. Newton would like to see the Bourbon Barrel trophy, given annually to the winner of the Kentucky-Indiana game, go the way of the Kentucky-Tennessee Beer Barrel, which was discontinued last week.
MISSISSIPPI: While the NCAA reviews Syniker Taylor's academic record, the defensive back will practice.
_ TIMES WIRES