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  • LSU to play both QBs, unsure on starter

    Sept. 6, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    BATON ROUGE, La. -- Quarterbacks Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell both struggled to move LSU's offense against Oregon State last weekend.

    They changed places four times and between them managed to generate just enough points for an overtime victory.

    That was enough to keep both of them in the plans for No. 6 LSU's game against Arkansas State on Saturday, coach Nick Saban said.

    "I think it's a tribute to both guys that they went in and out of the game in the second half, and both ended up making plays that contributed to the success that we had coming back in the game," Saban said of the 22-21 win. "So, I think that it would be safe to say that we'll probably end up playing two quarterbacks."

    Randall, a fifth-year senior whose experience came when he stepped in for an injured Matt Mauck for half the 2002 season, was supposed to have locked up the job. But he had problems in the opener, including seeing a touchdown erased by a penalty.

    At halftime, Russell, a 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman, was sent in. Based on history, Saban said, they had found it best when Randall was struggling to take him out and let him settle down.

    Russell had his own problems, but he also threw two touchdown passes to tie the game.

    Then in overtime, Russell had cramps and had to leave the game. So Randall stepped in again and ran for a touchdown that proved to be the game winner.

    "I'm not sure that I'm ready to say who's going to start the game," Saban said. "But I'm not sure that that's really the issue here. I think the issue is that we need better execution at the quarterback position. We want both guys to continue to improve, we need both guys to continue to improve and we're going to work both guys so that they can improve and give them both an opportunity to most likely play in this game."

    After watching the game film, Saban said there was no lack of effort or letdown even though the Tigers trailed until the final two minutes. There was a lack of execution at every position, however.

    "We looked like seals running around on dry land out there," Saban said.



    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Gilbertson changes starting QB
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 27, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    SEATTLE -- Washington coach Keith Gilbertson said Monday redshirt freshman Carl Bonnell will be the starting quarterback when the Huskies visit Stanford next weekend.

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    Casey Paus, a junior who started the first three games, is still expected to play but now is considered the backup.

    "We labored on these thoughts," Gilbertson said. "I'd like to see a guy go in as the starter and stay there. Obviously, we're struggling offensively."

    Some other changes were forced by injuries. Receiver Corey Williams is out for the season after surgery Sunday for a separated wrist. Williams ran into a brick wall after running through the end zone during a 38-3 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday.

    He was examined after the Huskies (0-3) returned from South Bend, Ind., and doctors recommended immediate surgery.

    Receiver Charles Frederick, who also returns kicks and punts, is "very, very doubtful" for the Stanford game because of a strained hamstring, Gilbertson said. And fullback Zach Tuiasosopo probably is finished for the season after breaking a bone in his right leg at Notre Dame.

    "This happens to just about everybody at some point," Gilbertson said. "You're not always going to have smooth sailing."

    The Huskies, winless after three games for the first time since 1969, are becoming much younger. Sophomore Quintin Daniels and redshirt freshman Bobby Whithorne are the starting receivers.

    Several other youngsters have been getting more playing time, including freshman starting defensive tackle Jordan White-Frisbee. Erick Lobos and Greyson Gunheim also have been playing significant minutes on the defensive line.

    The young Huskies might be struggling, but Gilbertson said they'll improve.

    "We're not going to make seniors out of freshmen in just a few weeks," he said. "A month from now, they'll have a month more experience. A month from now, they'll be a much better football team. They've got to know it."

    The demotion came as a surprise to Paus, who was informed by a school publicist when he arrived for Washington's weekly round of interviews with reporters. He was 10-of-26 for 130 yards with no interceptions in the first half at Notre Dame.

    "It's not really up to me," Paus said. "I thought I played pretty well. Unfortunately, wins are what matter."

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    Gilbertson said he made the decision earlier Monday after meeting with his offensive coaches.

    "I don't want anyone to feel I don't think Casey Paus isn't a great player or that I don't have confidence in him. I do," Gilbertson said. "I just think this is...
    -09-28-2004, 08:27 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Injured hip might keep Purdue QB Orton out of Iowa game
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 2, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton is questionable for Saturday's game against Iowa with an injured left hip.

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    Orton was injured in last week's 13-10 loss at Northwestern. He was benched for backup Brandon Kirsch in the third quarter, partly because he was injured and partly because he was ineffective.

    Purdue coach Joe Tiller said Tuesday he is in no hurry to announce a starter for Saturday.

    "We could hold it as long as game time," Tiller said. "We will delay the decision as long as possible."

    Orton said he was feeling much better Tuesday than he was against Northwestern, and he thought he would be ready to go for the game in his home state.

    "You look at the progress I've made from Saturday until now, it's a lot better," he said. "If I can play and help the team, then I'm going to play through some pain. But I'm not going to be out there and hurting the team this week."

    After spearheading Purdue's best start since 1945, the one-time Heisman hopeful's play has fallen off. Orton was just 15-for-33 for 143 yards, a touchdown and an interception last week against Northwestern, Purdue's third straight loss.

    Orton was the prime reason the Boilermakers started the season 5-0, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 1,642 yards, 18 touchdowns and two interceptions.

    Over the past three games -- all Purdue defeats -- he has completed just 50 percent of his passes for 591 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

    "It's been three rough weeks," Orton said. "It seems like everything's kind of falling apart a little bit."

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -11-02-2004, 04:32 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Gators give Zook big win over FSU in final game
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 20, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- This one was for The Zooker.

    Chris Leak threw a touchdown, Ciatrick Fason ran for a score, and Florida upset No. 10 Florida State 20-13 to win in Tallahassee for the first time since 1986.

    It also gave fired coach Ron Zook a victory in his final regular-season game.

    Condemned since the day he replaced Steve Spurrier in 2002, Zook finally did something the ol' ball coach didn't in his 12 glorious seasons with the Gators. He won at Florida State.

    The players carried Zook off the field, and the coach flashed a big smile that had been missing for much of his three seasons.

    "I congratulated them for a great job, a great effort," Zook said he told his players after the game. "I thanked them for just hanging in there and not quitting."

    The Gators (7-4) ended any legitimate chance the Seminoles had of earning a third straight Bowl Championship Series berth. Florida State (8-3) still could finish tied for the Atlantic Coast Conference title but probably would lose all tiebreaker scenarios because of its BCS ranking, which is expected to drop Monday.

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    Florida also spoiled a special night for longtime Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. Before the game, the school named its playing surface "Bobby Bowden Field" and unveiled a 20-by-30 foot stained glass window at the stadium featuring Bowden's likeness.

    Spurrier --- 0-5-1 in six trips to Tallahassee -- must have loved the upset, too.

    The Gators threw with relative ease against Florida State's vaunted defense. Leak finished 19-for-39 for 231 yards with an interception.

    "He's very mature for a sophomore," Bowden said. "He plays like a senior. He did a great job."

    Fason's 8-yard touchdown run with 4:59 remaining put the Gators ahead for good.

    "I saw a lot of guys leaving everything on the field and we won it for Coach," Fason said. "I think this will help him in looking for a job."

    Zook's farewell fairy tale almost turned into a redemption story for Florida State, though.

    Embattled quarterback Chris Rix came off the bench and threw a touchdown pass with 8:30 to play that cut the lead to 13-10.

    He rolled right and heaved a pass into the end zone that Chauncey Stovall caught over Vernell Brown. The pass was reminiscent of Rix's 52-yard touchdown pass to P.K. Sam with 55 seconds remaining last season that gave the Seminoles a 38-34 win.

    Rix also drove the Seminoles to the 18-yard line in the waning seconds, but his last pass was intercepted by Jarvis Harris with 8 seconds to play. Rix finished 9-of-16 for 150 yards.

    "He brought us back and nearly pulled it...
    -11-21-2004, 06:03 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Callahan: Changing old offense has been smooth
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 13, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    OMAHA, Neb. -- Take away the glut of turnovers, and Bill Callahan says Nebraska's transition from the triple-option to the West Coast offense has gone smoothly.

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    "If you have a system as a head coach coming into a new environment and culture, you can do it," Callahan said Monday during a conference call. "I feel very confident and secure making that comment because of what we've accomplished just in the two games we've been out there."

    Callahan said the Cornhuskers (1-1) have proved they have not sold out to the pass, as some thought would happen.

    The Huskers still are a top-10 rushing team, ranking seventh nationally at 318.5 yards a game. They are 64th nationally in passing yards at 210 a game. Their run-pass ratio is nearly even, with 68 rushing attempts and 73 pass attempts.

    "When people look at the box score, they're going to say, 'Oh, boy, Nebraska made this transition from the option to the forward pass and have all of a sudden just abandoned the run and are throwing the ball all over. But that's not true," said Callahan, in his first season with Nebraska.

    The main sticking point has been the play of quarterback Joe Dailey. The sophomore has thrown seven interceptions in two games and ranks last in the Big 12 in passing efficiency.

    "We've struggled at quarterback, make no doubt about it," Callahan said. "There has been plenty of opportunities to do some positive things, and we've struggled. We've turned it over unnecessarily and at untimely times, and it hurt our ability to sustain and endure late into the fourth quarter of this past game."

    Callahan said part of the reason for the relatively easy shift to the West Coast offense is that his assistants are familiar with the system.

    Offensive coordinator Jay Norvell was an assistant under Callahan with the Oakland Raiders before coming to Nebraska, and running backs coach Randy Jordan played in the system for the Raiders.

    Callahan also praised the work of offensive line coach Dennis Wagner, who came to Nebraska from Fresno State.

    "Wags had that line at Fresno, and now they're sitting there 2-0 beating two top-ranked teams like Washington and Kansas State, and that was his crew," Callahan said.

    Callahan hopes to see his team take better care of the ball Saturday at Pittsburgh. The Huskers turned over the ball five times in the 21-17 loss to Southern Mississippi, with Dailey intercepted three times. The Huskers led 17-9 late in the third quarter.

    "We need to learn how to finish a team off," Callahan said. "We had excellent field position provided by our defense, but we didn't seal the deal. When you have opportunities...
    -09-14-2004, 07:36 AM
  • DJRamFan
    'Noles to start Weatherford over fellow freshman Lee at QB
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 31, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Redshirt freshman Drew Weatherford will start at quarterback for No. 14 Florida State in the season opener Monday against No. 9 Miami.

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    Weatherford beat out fellow redshirt freshman Xavier Lee for the job.

    "It looked from about the third scrimmage on that Drew would be the guy you'd start," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday. "He has all the tools to be an outstanding quarterback."

    Bowden said he considered Weatherford the starter and Lee, possibly, the closer.

    "I want both of them practicing with a number one mentality," Bowden said.

    The veteran coach said he expected Weatherford and Lee would battle throughout the season for playing time.

    "They will continue this competition," he said. "This is not a season-ending contest."


    Drew Weatherford will learn quickly what it's like playing top competition. (AP)
    The competition at quarterback came down to the two inexperienced passers when Wyatt Sexton was lost for the season to Lyme disease. Sexton started seven games a year ago.

    Weatherford played one play last season, spraining his ankle against North Carolina in the fourth game of the season. He had surgery on it this spring, but has been healthy throughout August.

    Lee has been troubled by a sore arm, but Bowden said Wednesday that Lee's arm is now fine.

    Miami coach Larry Coker said Wednesday his team is prepared to face either quarterback.

    "I think it's a good possibility we'll see both," Coker said.

    Miami will also go with a first-time starter in redshirt sophomore Kyle Wright.

    The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Weatherford threw for 401 yards in one scrimmage, connecting with a dozen different receivers.

    "I've been steady, consistent," Weatherford said about his practices and scrimmages during August. "I think that's what they want."

    The last time a Florida State quarterback debuted against Miami was 20 years ago when freshman Chip Ferguson made his first collegiate appearance in a 35-27 loss to the Hurricanes. Ferguson completed 14-of-28 passes for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -09-01-2005, 07:31 PM
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