Florida State All-America defensive tackle Corey Simon sprained his right ankle Wednesday morning and could be out for two weeks, casting a pall over the team's first workout in pads.
The Seminoles tried to ease into this crucial stage of preparation by not donning full pads and banning tackling.
But late in the two-hour session, Simon, a senior who has overcome numerous shoulder injuries, went down with a yelp and clutched at his foot.
"It wasn't that bad," said Simon as he propped himself up with crutches. "It hurt. I'm just hurt, I don't want to say I'm injured."
Simon wasn't hit. He said he was coming off a block and twisted the ankle, suffering a high sprain. Precautionary X-rays were negative.
"Any time you're down on the inside, it's always going to be physical and things like this happen," he said. "It's not a why-me thing. It's just part of the game. Right now, I feel pretty good. I don't think I'll be gone more than a week or so."
FSU is short on experience at defensive tackle. Larry Smith left early for the NFL and promising backup Bryne Malone was kicked off the team this summer. That left Simon, Jerry Johnson and a cadre of untested freshmen.
"I have the quantity, I don't have the quality," defensive line coach Odell Haggins said. "We're talented, but we don't have the experience."
Freshman Chris Woods filled in on the first team for the remainder of practice and did well. Fellow redshirt freshman Tony Benford also has earned praise. Still, the lack of depth is one reason why the coaches moved center Antoine Mirambeau to defensive tackle on Tuesday.
"We felt he might have the temperament of a defensive player," coach Bobby Bowden said of the powerful Mirambeau. "A lot of guys don't have that. We have to watch him and see if it holds up. If it doesn't, we'll have to put him back on offense."
Mirambeau, who has bench-pressed a team-high 535 pounds, said he was not surprised by his position change and welcomed it. He had told the coaches from the beginning that he would like to play defense.
"I guess they decided now I could contribute a little bit," he said.
NOTES: Sophomore WR Robert Morgan, one of the steadiest, most impressive performers, suffered a mild shoulder separation. During a drill that forces a receiver to try to play defense and bat a ball away, he became tangled with the DB and fell on his left shoulder. Said WRs coach Jeff Bowden: "Robert Morgan will be back before any one else would come back." The heat and humidity took their toll on DT Woods, who was taken back to the locker room in a cart, wet, cool towels draped over his head, after practice. Besides the injuries, Bobby Bowden said he could easily see that his players were not in football shape. He said: "That's normal. I'd expect them to get a little better every day in that regard."
_ BRIAN LANDMAN
Heat takes its toll
ORLANDO _ WR Charles Lee missed the morning session with severe heat exhaustion. The senior went to the hospital late Tuesday night to receive four packs of intravenous fluids. He had intense leg cramps after the afternoon session Tuesday and the condition deteriorated. Junior co-captain Kenny Clark missed the early practice because of heat-related illness, but returned in the afternoon.
Tackle Frank Haynes, who has a hyperextended knee, limped through practice. The injury isn't considered serious.
_ TONY MEJIA
Praise for defense
CORAL GABLES _ Coach Butch Davis praised the defense's progression, specifically the number of balls defenders are getting their hands on. "Balls are being tipped and intercepted by linebackers and defensive backs and are being batted down by linemen. Those things become second nature," he said.
OG Richard Mercier was out with abruised left calf. Sophomore Brett Romberg replaced Mercier on the first team.
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Around the nation
ALABAMA: A woman who received $350,000 to settle her sexual harassment claim against Mike DuBose does not want the coach to lose his job, her lawyer said. Thomas Baddley Jr. said his client, who has been identified in some media reports, plans to leave Birmingham because the controversy "has taken a personal toll and the toll on her family has been enormous. People have come onto her property and said and done ugly and vicious things," he said.
NORTH CAROLINA: DT Brian Norwood was arrested and charged with raping an 11-year-old girl. Norwood was charged with two counts of first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree sex offense of a child, three counts of felony crime against nature, and two counts of felony indecent liberties with a child. The redshirt freshman who was the most highly touted DL recruit in the state was suspended from the team.
TENNESSEE: Chris Ramseur, who was expected to compete for time at LB, was kicked off the team for violating team rules, coach Phillip Fulmer said.
UCLA: Two more players were suspended for the first two games for allegedly obtaining and using disabled parking placards unlawfully, the school announced. Senior running back Keith Brown and senior safety Eric Whitfield will sit out the Boise State game Sept. 4 at the Rose Bowl and the Sept. 11 game at Ohio State for "breaking team rules." Neither was charged. Seven teammates pleaded no contest to criminal charges in the matter last month and two others face arraignment.
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