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FSU: Bowden preaches patience with new QBs

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden got his first look at the shuffled quarterback depth chart.

He found it will take a little patience as redshirt sophomore Wyatt Sexton and freshman Drew Weatherford fill in for Chris Rix.

"The big thing I noticed is you take out a quarterback (Rix) who has been out there for five years then you work with a quarterback (Sexton) who has been out there for three years and another quarterback (Weatherford) that it's his first year, you see how much work you have to do to catch up," Bowden said.

"You just have to be very patient and try to increase what they take on and see what happens."

Sexton, in his first practice working with the first team, completed a 30-yard pass to Lorne Sam during an 11-on-11 scrimmage at the end of practice.

Weatherford, who will be the backup while Rix is sidelined with a high right ankle sprain, was intercepted by Leroy Smith when facing the first-team defense but threw two touchdowns during goal-line drills.

"It's not, "Can they pass?' Yes, they can pass," Bowden said. "But do you know who to throw to and when not to throw the ball and how hard to throw it; when do you take stuff off? Things like that. It just takes a while."

ANOTHER HURT CENTER: Sophomore center John Frady, who started in place of the injured David Castillo in the first two games, left practice on a cart with what appeared to be an injured left elbow.

Bowden said the injury occurred during a drill but didn't know its extent.

"Thank goodness it (appeared to be) his left elbow because he snaps with his right," Bowden said.

ODDS AND ENDS: It has been quite a week for Sexton. Tuesday, he was inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society, reserved for the top 15 percent of all juniors and seniors at Florida State. Sexton has a 3.77 grade point average in communication studies. Saturday's game against North Carolina is sold out. The game will be televised at noon on ESPN2.

_ ZACHARY SPAIN,

Times correspondent

USF: Leavitt wants focus

on decreasing turnovers

TAMPA _ That old coaches saying about the need to hold onto the football could be key for USF as it prepares to face Southern Miss on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles, who have road wins over Nebraska and Tulane, lead the nation in turnover margin per game at plus-3.5. The Bulls are tied with Washington for 101st at minus-1.33.

"I don't know what they do, but I know it's an important stat," coach Jim Leavitt said. "I can tell you that two years ago, we led the nation in turnover margin and we were 9-2."

In two games, Southern Miss has recovered three fumbles and intercepted five passes while turning it over once. In three games, the Bulls have recovered one fumble and intercepted one pass but turned it over six times.

COMING AROUND: Pat Julmiste jogged off the practice field Tuesday with a spring in his step and a air of confidence. Julmiste, who will start Saturday's game, completed 22 of 33 passes for 324 yards and no interceptions against Texas Christian.

"I don't think he's ever had a command of the offense quite like he had the other night," Leavitt said.

Julmiste said he feels more comfortable but wouldn't call it a swagger yet.

"We just have momentum and confidence," Julmiste said. "We know what we are capable of doing now. It's just doing it every week."

_ THOMAS SIMONETTI,

Times correspondent

UF: Struggles inside 20 concern coach, players

GAINESVILLE _ As one of the best teams in the SEC a season ago at red zone proficiency Florida now finds itself 10th and facing questions about a scuffling offensive component.

"(Red zone offense) is crucial," offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said. "You can't waste any of those opportunities. When you get in the red zone, you've got to strike. The defense gave us the ball (on Saturday) a lot of times (in Kentucky territory), and we've got to take advantage of that."

When the field shortens, it hampers the Gators' big-play ability and puts an emphasis on communication and execution. Receiver Andre Caldwell, who prides himself on his big-play ability, is forced to change his mind-set inside the 20.

"It is real tough because it becomes more of a tough-man thing down there," he said.

"The field gets shorter, and you've got to just muscle somebody or give them a good move before you power your way in there.""

Five times this season, the Gators have ventured inside an opponent's 20 but not scored. The talk at practice, however, has been less about what has gone wrong during those situations and more about what to do.

Quarterback Chris Leak, who threw a first-quarter interception at the Kentucky 10 after the Gators reached the 23, could benefit the most from looking forward.

"We went back and watched the film, and we know what we need to improve on," Leak said. "The main thing we need to do is once we get down there, just execute our plays and somehow put points on the board."

ODDS AND ENDS: Center Mike Degory, who was held out of practice Monday, returned after recovering from a head injury sustained against Kentucky. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey, running back Ciatrick Fason and receiver Kyle Morgan were named defensive, offensive and special teams players of the week, respectively. Fason, linebacker Travis Harris and safety Cory Bailey were named captains for Saturday's game against Arkansas.

_ BRIAN SHAFFER, Times correspondent

UCF: Bye helps Knights

ORLANDO _ Central Florida coach George O'Leary said the off week helped overall and for Saturday's Mid-American Conference opener.

"It helped us from a standpoint of getting our legs back underneath us," he said. "It allowed us to lick some wounds from the first three games and get ready for Buffalo this weekend."

"I think the big thing is to come back with the right frame of mind and get better each game. We continue to work on third down and red zone. Those are areas on both sides of the ball that we need to improve on."

SWITCHING SIDES: Brandon Marshall was moved from receiver to defensive back.

"I could have put another body there, but it doesn't make sense to me if they can't get the job done," O'Leary said. "We don't have enough depth at any position not to keep the best people on the field.

"He came to me originally and asked if he could go to defense. He played some defense in high school. I like the way he's approached it. He's taken it as a challenge. He understands it and is learning on the run."

_ TIMES WIRES

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