Friday, November 3|
Will Weinke's foot hold up?
By Mel Kiper
In the game of the week, Florida State travels to Miami to face the Hurricanes.
Following Miami's rout of Rutgers on Saturday, coach Butch Davis, knowing that rain was moving into the area, called an impromptu practice on Sunday. After taking Monday off, as is usually the case, the Hurricanes practiced in the rain on Tuesday. Fortunately for the 'Canes, the heaviest downpours came in the evening, when the players were studying film.
On the injury front for Miami, senior DT Damione Lewis should be ready to go this week after sitting out the Rutgers game with a toe injury. This brought to an end his string of 29 consecutive starts.
By the way, his 34 career starts are the most by a Hurricane defensive lineman. Lewis hasn't been practicing, but figures to play through the toe injury against the Seminoles.
In a game of this magnitude, you hope that both teams will be at relative full strength. At Florida State, the Seminoles are keeping their fingers crossed that QB Chris Weinke will be able to effectively direct the potent Seminole offense.
Weinke has thrown on the sidelines but did not practice during the early part of the week, still hampered by the sprained left foot he sustained against Maryland last Thursday night. But Weinke has the green light from the medical staff. Mobility will obviously be a problem, and we'll also have to see how the injury affects his delivery and accuracy throwing the football.
Marcus Outzen, who has been taking all the snaps, will be under center if Weinke can't go or needs a break at various stages of the game. The hope is to redshirt true junior signal-caller Jared Jones. This is also the case with highly regarded freshman Chris Rix.
With Rix's size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), athletic prowess (WR last half of senior year at Santa Margarita High in California), escape ability (4.50 speed) and leadership skills (has been compared to former FSU signal caller Casey Weldon), it should come as no surprise that Rix is being viewed as the heir-apparent to Weinke.
This week against Miami, the Seminoles hope to have wide-out Jevon Walker back from the injury list. He's been out of action since the Georgia Tech game, when he suffered a sprained ankle. Walker has practiced this week.
If there is a key to the game, in addition to Weinke's status, it's how young Miami signal-caller Ken Dorsey deals with the pressure. First-time starting quarterbacks in this game for both FSU and Miami have won just three of the last 11 games. The first-year starters who led their team to victories in this matchup include Craig Erickson, Thad Busby and Chris Weinke. Erickson, back in 1990, was the last Miami QB to do so.
Since that time, Frank Costa, Ryan Clement, Scott Covington and Kenny Kelly failed in their attempt to beat FSU in their first season as the starting QB. Additionally, this game obviously takes on tremendous importance for Butch Davis.
Since taking over as the Hurricanes' head coach, Davis has lost five straight to FSU. He's also 0-5 against Virginia Tech. Mark down this date: Nov. 4. That's when Davis and the Hurricanes square off against Heisman front-runner Michael Vick at the Orange Bowl.
Clemson faces tough test in N.C. State
|Chris Weinke will not be 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury last Thursday.|
This week in the ACC, Tommy Bowden's Clemson Tigers face a vastly improved N.C. State squad that is led into battle by resourceful true freshman signal-caller Philip Rivers.
A huge plus for Rivers has been the All-American performance turned in by WR Koren Robinson. When you talk about the package of skills that it takes to excel at the pro level, Robinson would be the primary attention-getter.
And keep in mind, as a third-year sophomore, he does have the option of returning to the Wolfpack for the 2001 season or entering the NFL draft. N.C. State coach Chuck Amato, an assistant under Bobby Bowden from 1982-99, has to hope that Robinson follows the lead of Peter Warrick, who despite a high first-round pro grade returned for his senior campaign with the Seminoles.
For Clemson, junior QB Woody Dantzler has received a great deal of national publicity over the last week, moving solidly into the Heisman race. This week against N.C. State, RB Travis Zachery will be coming off a sprained ankle he sustained against Duke last Saturday.
Bernard Rambert is the primary backup to Zachery, but also keep an eye on true freshman Keith Kelly. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Kelly looked good against Duke, picking up 84 yards on 12 carries. And while Rod Gardner is the primary headliner at wide receiver, redshirt freshman Kevin Youngblood has made some nice contributions, averaging 24 yards on six receptions.
The talented 6-foot-5, 210-pound Youngblood appears to have a bright future in the ACC, with the potential to ultimately rank right up there with the top wide-outs in the conference.
Defensively, the Tigers are spearheaded by a pair of outstanding juniors, Keith Adams and Chad Carson. Working on the outside, Adams has been all over the field, recording 56 tackles, 11 stops behind the line, and six sacks in just the first five games. Over his last 17 games at Clemson, Adams has posted an amazing 22 sacks.
Not to be overshadowed, Carson has been rock-solid at middle linebacker. Currently, the Tigers are ranked No. 1 in pass defense, although the first major test for the secondary comes this week against Rivers, Robinson and company.
Injuries hit Arkansas hard
||The Tigers are ranked No. 1 in pass defense, although the first major test for the secondary comes this week against Rivers, Robinson and company. ”
Injuries continue to mount at Arkansas. Over his first two years at Arkansas, coach Houston Nutt was fortunate in this area.
That's definitely not the case this season. Nineteen players have missed time with injuries, including several who are lost for the entire campaign.
The key loss was that of super blue-chip sophomore RB Cedric Cobbs. There is positive news to report, though. I'm told that no rotator-cuff problem was detected when the surgery was done last week to repair the shoulder separation. If things progress like expected, Cobbs should be ready to go for spring practice.
Backup RB Fred Talley is recovering from a broken hand. His return to the lineup is anticipated within the next few weeks. Against Georgia, Alvin Ray got the start, but it was true freshman Brandon Holmes who accounted for 46 of the 52 yards the Razorbacks generated on the ground.
Initially, Holmes was being considered for a linebacker spot. He then moved to fullback, then to tailback when the injuries hit. The 6-foot-2, 215 pounder runs with authority while also displaying the necessary quickness.
Up front on the offensive line, LT Shannon Money will be out of action this week after spraining his ankle against Georgia. Sophomore Nathan Ball, who had been working at TE, now shifts back to LT to fill the void. Last week, the Razorbacks' offensive line had all kinds of problems dealing with Georgia's defensive front led by Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud.
One thing is for sure, Arkansas has to find a way to get the ball in the hands of senior WR Boo Williams. Over the first two games against SW Missouri State and Boise State, the 6-foot-4, 230 pounder hauled in three TD passes of more than 75 yards. But in the last two games against SEC foes Alabama and Georgia, Williams was limited to just four catches for 37 yards.
On the other side of the ball for Arkansas, DE Randy Garner is recovering from a sprained left ankle. Garner saw action in just three plays against Alabama, then sat out last week's game. He's considered questionable for Saturday's game with Louisiana-Monroe.
Starting CB Harold Harris figures to be on the sidelines this week due to a sprained wrist. Keep in mind that after this week's game against outmanned Louisiana-Monroe, the Razorbacks have an incredibly tough stretch of six games to close out the regular season.
They have to go up against the likes of South Carolina (road), Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU. Only two of the games (Ole Miss and LSU) are at home.
K-State eyes Allen's return
||Nineteen Arkansas players have missed time with injuries, including several who are lost for the entire campaign. ”
Kansas State, after smart scheduling allowed for a 5-0 start, continues working its way through the Big 12 this week, traveling to Lawrence to face the Kansas Jayhawks.
Expected to see some action is senior RB/return man David Allen. He's been sidelined since the opener against Iowa with a sprained ankle. Picking up the slack has been Chris Claybon and JUCO transfer Josh Scobey. Combined, the two are averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Thus far, while Allen has been sidelined, QB Jonathan Beasley has been on quite a roll, connecting with seven different receivers in the Wildcats' win last week at Colorado. For the year, he's also rushed for eight TDs. Credit has to go to the Wildcats' offensive line, which has allowed just one sack all year.
Michigan ready to set Henson loose
Sure, Michigan has been conservative in the early going, featuring Anthony Thomas doing his damage behind one of the best offensive lines in college football.
But now that Drew Henson has his first collegiate start under his belt, look for the Wolverines to open things up from the outset.
Last week, David Terrell hauled in five catches for 96 yards, while fellow junior Marquise Walker finished with seven receptions for a career-high 130 yards. With future star Ronald Bellamy as the No. 3 option, the weapons are certainly in place for Henson to excel through the airwaves.