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UF respect high for Arkansas' coach

Published Aug. 28, 2005

Florida coaches have said all week that their team is in for a tough game against Arkansas, but there is one coach who knows why more than most.

Linebackers coach Bill Miller was on staff with Arkansas coach Houston Nutt during the 1989 season at Oklahoma State _ a group that included Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt. And while the two spent only that one season together, Miller learned all he needed to about Nutt's character and approach to coaching.

"(Arkansas) plays hard and that's part of his makeup," Miller said. "He coaches hard. He is kind of a one-speed guy, kind of like our guy. There is no doubt he has done a good job."

Nutt took over before the 1998 season and has a 48-27 record, including six bowl game appearances.

Neither Nutt's success nor the fact he has turned down notable job offers such as one from Nebraska is a surprise to Miller.

"I'm not surprised because he does it the right way," Miller said. " One of the great characteristics that Houston Nutt has is that he is loyal.""

The Razorbacks (3-1) come into Gainesville as 7{-point underdogs. But Nutt would have it no other way, according to Miller.

"He loves the underdog role, believe me," Miller said. "And he has played that to the absolute hilt this week. He's good at that."

STILL GIMPY: While it appeared Todd McCullough was fully recovered from a high ankle sprain sustained before the season opener, he has been limited in the first three games by that injury. Coaches insist he continues to improve, but Miller said he can tell it still hampers his linebacker.

_ BRIAN SHAFFER, Times correspondent

FSU: Ross on move again

TALLAHASSEE _ Just as Brian Ross gets settled into a new position, a teammate on the Seminoles' fragile offensive line gets injured, forcing Ross to move again.

On Wednesday, Ross began taking reps as the second-team center, one of three positions on the interior line the senior has spent time at this season.

Sophomore John Frady, who started the Miami and Alabama-Birmingham games while David Castillo was returning from a chest injury, dislocated his left elbow during Tuesday's practice. "That could be about a four-week thing," coach Bobby Bowden said.

Freshman Dumaka Atkins is being held out of contact with a foot injury, leaving only Castillo and Ross.

After entering the fall as the third center, Ross moved to tight guard when starter Bobby Meeks injured his ankle in August. He moved to center again to back up Frady when Castillo was out. But after starting split guard Matt Meinrod tore his ACL against Miami, Ross became the backup and played late in the UAB game.

"He's definitely one of our MVPs this year because he's had to play two and three positions," Castillo said. "I've got all the confidence in him."

Ross said he is practicing at guard as well as center. Adding to the significance for the former walk-on from Raleigh is the chance to play North Carolina.

"You always get excited when you get to play against some of the guys you've known since high school," he said. "It's motivation."

Ross' parents, who still live in Raleigh, several relatives and friends will be in attendance Saturday.

GAME TIME ANNOUNCED: The Seminoles' home game Oct. 16 against Virginia is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 p.m. on ESPN2.

_ ZACHARY SPAIN, Times correspondent

USF: Freshmen to start again

TAMPA _ Two freshmen who made their first starts against TCU last week get the nod again against Southern Miss on Saturday.

Redshirt middle linebacker Ronnie McCollough, who started over junior Devon Davis, had four tackles against TCU. He has played with the first-team defense most of the week while Davis has been sick.

"If Devon had been able to practice more this week I would have probably started him," linebackers coach Wally Burnham said. "He graded out a little bit better (against TCU) so I'm going to go on performance in the game and give that guy the most reps and he'll have a chance to start. If the next guy plays better the next week then we'll swap it back."

Burnham said although McCollough will get the start, Davis also will see action.

Strong safety Danny Verpaele, brother of former strong safety Kevin Verpaele, had a career-high six tackles against the Horned Frogs. He replaces Johnnie Jones, who injured his shoulder Sept. 18 against South Carolina.

FILLING IN: Coach Jim Leavitt said right guard Chris Carothers (ankle) practiced, but not much. Redshirt freshman Walter Walker and Jerome Springfield have platooned in his absence. Leavitt said he is uncertain about right guard heading into Saturday's game.

_ THOMAS SIMONETTI, Times correspondent

UM: Gore running better

CORAL GABLES _ Running back Frank Gore looked good in practice after only carrying the ball six times against Houston due to a sore knee.

"Frank looked really good," said coach Larry Coker. "To me, he looks better right now than I have seen him in awhile. I won't say the knee soreness is behind him, because I'm sure that is something he is going to have to work with. As long as we can rest him a few days, I think he is going to be fine."

COBIA INJURY: Fullback Kyle Cobia is likely lost for the season with a shoulder injury. The senior from Lakeland is expected to undergo surgery. "It is going to be a season-ending surgery, so it is pretty serious," said Coker. "It is a shame because this is his last year."

Talib Humphrey and Quadtrine Hill will be at fullback in Cobia's absence.

Miami makes its first ACC road trip Saturday, facing Georgia Tech.