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UF's Spurrier sticks with Palmer at QB

Jesse Palmer, replaced Saturday in the middle of a drive in the second quarter, will start at quarterback for Florida against SEC rival Tennessee, coach Steve Spurrier said.

Spurrier pulled the senior in the second quarter of UF's 55-0 rout of Middle Tennessee State, replacing him with redshirt freshman Rex Grossman.

Grossman completed 9-of-14 for 95 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Palmer was 15-of-23 for 193 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

"Jesse Palmer is our starter, just like the last two weeks," Spurrier said. "Rex is waiting in the wings. Rex probably will play, but we will start with Jesse just like the other games and see how it goes."

Spurrier said Palmer's experience may be better suited for Saturday's game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. "After looking at the whole situation, I think this is the best way for our team to go," Spurrier said. "Rex is just a freshman. I don't think he is ready to go the distance in a ballgame."

INJURY REPORT: Spurrier said if Robert Gillespie is healthy, the junior running back will start against Tennessee Gillespie missed Saturday's game with a sprained right toe. Sophomore Earnest Graham replaced Gillespie and rushed for 85 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Senior center Zac Zedalis, out because of knee surgery since the summer, is expected to play, Spurrier said. David Jorgensen likely will start, with Zedalis coming in as a backup.

ET CETERA: Freshman running back Willie Green had reconstructive knee surgery. He is expected to return for spring drills.


USF rebounds with strong practice

TAMPA _ Two days after a frustrating 27-9 loss at Kentucky, South Florida was focused, not disheartened, coach Jim Leavitt said.

It was the best Monday night practice yet, he said, but it had to be. "They know they have to get better" quickly to beat James Madison in Tampa on Saturday, he said.

The Division I-AA Dukes (2-0) are ranked No. 13 by the Sports Network, having beaten Lock Haven 72-0 in the opener and Liberty 38-7 last week. James Madison beat the Bulls 13-3 in Harrisonburg, Va., last season.

Leavitt expects the offense, which was lackluster against Kentucky, to show improvement.

"Nobody on offense played that good," Leavitt said. "Nobody. But I trust they will bounce back and play real well."

DROPPED OUT: The Bulls have too many scholarships to be eligible for the I-AA playoffs, but they still have been ranked by some I-AA polls. Formerly No. 24, USF fell out of the ESPN/USA Today Top 25. The Bulls have not appeared in the Sports Network poll.

INJURY REPORT: Reserve defensive end Ian Blackwell (sprained knee) is doubtful to make his first appearance as a Bull. The redshirt freshman practiced but is not 100 percent, Leavitt said. Neither is defensive end John Brown (ankle), who played Saturday but still is sore. Linebacker Marshall Smith (strep throat) returned, and offensive lineman Jimmy Fitts (sore shoulder) sat out practice as a precaution.


Bowden hopes to correct penalties

TALLAHASSEE _ Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is devoting this week's practices to correcting mistakes, particularly the 114 penalty yards his team had in Saturday's 26-21 victory at Georgia Tech.

Bowden said the 15 penalties his team committed are inexcusable and hopes to reduce that number by enforcing stricter punishments in practice.

"We use officials out here in practice to catch (players committing penalties)," Bowden said. "If they do, we penalize them, make them (run) up and down after practice."

PLAYING WITH PAIN: Defensive end Jamal Reynolds said he has ligament damage in his left hand and has been wearing a cast during games to protect against further injury. The injury, which occurred Aug. 26 during the season opener against BYU, has forced Reynolds to switch to a left-handed defensive stance despite playing right defensive end.

HONORS: Senior quarterback Chris Weinke and senior linebacker Tommy Polley earned ACC player of the week honors. Weinke completed 25-of-38 for a career-high 443 yards and two touchdowns. Polley, making his first start after knee surgery, had 12 tackles, including two on third-down stops.


FAMU doesn't want to rest on rout

TALLAHASSEE _ Florida A&M returned to practice after last week's 56-25 pounding of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe Morgan State.

Although FAMU had 390 passing yards, some Rattlers receivers see room for improvement. "We did a pretty good job as a team, but we had a couple of dropped passes that we shouldn't have made," junior T.J. Hines said. Hines, a former Tampa Catholic standout, caught five passes for 59 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown that put FAMU ahead for good.


Kruczek tries to read Knights

ORLANDO _ Central Florida began preparations for Saturday's game at Akron. Coach Mike Kruczek was happy with his team's intensity but said he had similar feelings leading up to a lackluster 19-7 victory over Northwestern State last week.

"They were businesslike last week, I thought," Kruczek said. "Kids are tough to tell. How they practice isn't how they play, and whether they are practicing good or bad is tough to read."

Starting middle linebacker Tito Rodriguez returned to practice, his first since having arthroscopic knee surgery during camp.