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Gators, 'Canes scuffle

No arrests or suspensions planned after Bourbon Street fight.

Florida and Miami wasted little time rekindling the ill feelings that once underscored their bitter college football rivalry.

Players from both teams scuffled on Bourbon Street late Wednesday, the first night both teams were in town to prepare for the Sugar Bowl.

"I guess by (Wednesday) night's events, the rivalry is back to where it used to be," Florida coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday.

Though police broke up the fight, detaining two Florida players for about 30 minutes, no incident report or charges were filed. Coaches have not suspended anyone for Tuesday's game, the first meeting between the schools in 13 seasons.

Coaches, players and police called the fight minor, with Miami coach Butch Davis calling it a "verbal altercation." Though witnesses say punches were thrown, the only visible injury was a welt under the left eye of UF defensive lineman Alex Brown.

"I wish I knew who did it. I'd kill him," Brown said.

"It was a bunch of trash talking," UF offensive lineman Kenyatta Walker said. "We just didn't have the pads on."

Details of the incident vary depending upon the source. Joe Schad, a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel who witnessed the event, said about 40 players were involved. Police put it between 12 and 15.

The scuffle started, according to the Sentinel, when an unidentified Miami player poured a drink on UF receiver Reche Caldwell. Other Gators involved included Andra Davis, Jabar Gaffney, Gerard Warren and Brown.

According to Brian London, a reporter for WQAM radio in Miami who also witnessed the event, Hurricanes involved included Al Blades, James Lewis, Troy Prasek, Jarvis Gray and Jim Wilson.

"I heard it was a verbal altercation and they did what police asked them to do, which was to walk away from it," Butch Davis said. "Our players were very, very proactive in getting out of there, getting to the team hotel. I'm proud of our team."

Two UF players, one of whom was identified by the Sentinel as Warren, were taken away in handcuffs and held briefly for questioning before being escorted to the team hotel. Police refused to identify the other player.

Warren declined to comment.

"It wasn't a fight; it was a riot," said Vincent, manager of Gateway Pizza who did not want his last name used. "They were just punching and popping and kicking and everything. They could have killed somebody."

Andra Davis accused Blades of starting the fight.

"We tried to avoid them the whole time," he said.

Said Blades: "I have no comment. They can say whatever they want to say."

Davis said there was no reason to discipline his players, and Spurrier said he would not do anything without clear evidence that UF players did something wrong.

"From the information I've gotten from everyone, our players didn't instigate anything," Spurrier said. "I'm not saying who started it or whose fault it is. All we can tell is what our players tell us. To get to the (bottom of the) story, you've got to find somebody who was there and has no partialities."

"It's a bitter rivalry now," said Florida linebacker Travis Carroll, whose white shirt was stained with blood after the scuffle. "This just heats it up a bit."

_ Correspondent Debi Jones and Times wires contributed to this report.

FLORIDA-MIAMI: A RIVALRY REVISITED

Florida and Miami play for the first time in 13 seasons Tuesday in New Orleans. To refresh everyone's memories of this bitter rivalry, the Times will review one classic game in the series each day leading up to the Sugar Bowl.

Miami 31, No. 18 Florida 7

Nov. 22, 1980, Florida Field, Gainesville

Miami led 28-7 when coach Howard Schnellenberger called timeout with one second left to kick a 35-yard field goal. The rub-it-in score was in response to rude behavior by Florida fans, whom Schnellenberger claimed threw oranges, ice and manure at his team and were the "rudest, most unruly crowd I've ever seen in all my years of coaching."

The kick opened the most volatile decade of the Florida-Miami rivalry. Said UF nose guard Robin Fisher: "If I don't do anything else in football, I want to pay Miami back for that one." Revenge would come in 1982.

_ JOANNE KORTH

Up next:Correction

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