STATE NOTEBOOK

UF punter to sit with knee injury


Published: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
Florida punter Eric Wilbur had an arthroscopic procedure performed on his right knee last week that will keep him from kicking the first two weeks of fall practices.
Florida coach Urban Meyer said he expects Wilbur, a junior who averaged 44.8 yards per punt last season, to be ready in time for the Sept. 3 opener against Wyoming.
"It was his meniscus," Meyer said. "They went in and scoped it. He won't be kicking for the first couple of weeks, but he should be fine."
Senior Nick Fleming, listed as second on the depth chart behind Wilbur, will work with the first team in practice until Wilbur returns. Wilbur also serves as the backup holder on special teams. Meyer said he should be able to practice holds shortly before he begins kicking.
Meyer said he will monitor injuries to defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (shoulder) offensive lineman Jim Tartt (back) closely at the start of camp. He also expressed concern about linebacker Brandon Siler, who injured his groin over the spring and has been slow to heal.
"He's not healthy," Meyer said. "He has a little groin injury. When I see it affect a young guy as tough as Brandon Siler, it's a concern.
"If he's healthy, he can be as good as anyone on our team."
  • UCF REBUILDING: There is little that second-year coach George O'Leary can take from his team's 0-11 season, other than he weeded out the players who didn't want to be there.
    UCF posted the highest team GPA in school history and had 82 percent of its players make the academic roll. But that served as little consolation to O'Leary, who watched his team drop four of the 11 games by five points or less.
    "It got the point where I had tell my wife, hide the knives," O'Leary quipped.
    O'Leary understood that the transition wasn't going to be smooth.
    "The first day we asked players if they were in or out of the circle," O'Leary said. "But by the end of the season there ended up being more out of the circle than I realized. The guys who stayed in the circle are reaping the benefits now, getting a chance to play football on scholarship at a great university."
    The Golden Knights open Sept. 1 at South Carolina in Steve Spurrier's debut at the school and will begin play in Conference USA this season.
  • NEW FAMU COACH UPBEAT: Hired nine days ago, Florida A&M coach Rubin Carter said he had no reservations about taking the Rattlers coaching job despite an ongoing NCAA investigation that could result in sanctions.
    "I wanted to be part of it," Carter said. "There is the perception of why you would want to deal with it. It's perception. The future of this program, I think, is really bright, once we get past all these things."
    Florida A&M will face a formal NCAA hearing in October for rules violations that A occurred under the watch of former coach Billy Joe. A decision on sanctions would then be rules on by the following January, according to school officials. For now, FAMU is eligible for postseason play.
    Carter, a 1975 Miami graduate who went on to an 11-year NFL career as a defensive tackle, coached the defensive line at Temple last season and spent the previous two seasons at the defensive line coach for the New York Jets. FAMU is his first head coaching job.
    Carter also will be faced with more stringent budget restraints after FAMU spent 4.1 million over its 6.1 million annual budget last season.
    "It does create a bit of a dilemma," Carter said. "As long as I have the assistant around me, the strength coaches, the academic support staff, as long as we have that we have a chance to be successful."
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