Bowden dismisses Rouse, Lewis from FSU team


Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - Florida State wide receiver Fred Rouse and offensive lineman Cornelius Lewis were kicked off the team Friday by coach Bobby Bowden.
"Both players are dismissed for conduct detrimental to the welfare of the football team," Bowden said in a brief statement that offered no additional explanation.
Both players had been disciplined by Bowden during the season. He suspended Rouse for one game after the freshman argued with coaches during the Seminoles' 26-21 loss to Virginia.
"I didn't like it a bit," Bowden said then. "It's one of those things that better not happen again."
Rouse was one of the most sought after recruits in the country last year.
Bowden also suspended Lewis, a redshirt freshman, for a game during the season for a violation of team rules.
Lewis was also ejected from the Florida game for fighting and, as a result, had to sit out the first half of Florida State's 27-22 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game against Virginia Tech.
Rouse, who started the Orange Bowl game against Penn State, had six catches for 114 yards and one touchdown last season. He also returned 11 punts for 97 yards and six kickoffs for 107 yards.
Lewis spent most of last season as a third-teamer but wound up starting three games after injuries depleted Florida State's offensive line.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Former defensive coordinator John Thompson has settled his contract with a buyout of $101,000, the school announced Friday.
    Thompson was among the first assistants hired by Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier after he took over at South Carolina in November 2004. He was co-defensive coordinator with Tyrone Nix.
    But things did not go smoothly for Thompson, who came to South Carolina after two losing seasons as East Carolina head coach.
    The Gamecocks defense struggled as the team started 2-3, including lopsided losses to Alabama (37-14) and Auburn (48-7). Spurrier turned defensive signal calling over to Nix for the final four games of the season. That was a stretch where the Gamecocks (7-5) had historic wins at Tennessee and at Williams-Brice Stadium against Spurrier's former school, Florida.
    After the regular season, Thompson took a leave of absence and did not coach in the Gamecocks 38-31 loss to Missouri at the Independence Bowl.
    Nix was promoted to assistant head coach.
    Thompson wished the Gamecocks well. "I am glad this contract dispute has been settled amicably and look forward to spending more time with my family," he said.
    During bowl workouts, Spurrier held out hope that Thompson might return to his staff. But earlier this month, Spurrier acknowledged that both sides were working to settle Thompson's contract.
    Thompson had two years remaining on a deal that paid him $175,000 a year.
    Spurrier has said that Thompson was not fired.
    The buyout "seems like a fair solution to his situation. We wish John and his family the best and we are all ready to move on," Spurrier said.
  • EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME: Texas tight end David Thomas won a national championship, caught 10 passes in the Rose Bowl and holds several Longhorns career records.
    Yet his play at Saturday's East-West Shrine Game and workouts over the next three months could do just as much to determine where he stands in the NFL draft.
    "It's a learning experience with all the scouts here," Thomas said after about 300 representatives of NFL teams watched a practice. "It's like a job interview."
    For Thomas and the other college all-stars playing in the 81st Shrine Game, the week is a chance to chase their NFL dreams and prove they are draft worthy.
    Thomas would seem to have already made his case. A three-year starter at Texas, he caught 98 passes for 1,367 yards and 15 touchdowns, all of them Texas career records.
    But just about every player at the Shrine game has impressive numbers. The game and practices offer a chance to stand out among peers, said Gil Brandt, longtime Dallas Cowboys personnel director and current NFL.com draft analyst.
    It also gives scouts a closer look at players with a view they can't get from film or the pressbox. The Atlanta Falcons had 18 scouts at Wednesday's practice.
    "You see who's going to work and who isn't. You see who's jumping to the head of the line in drills," Brandt said. "You watch up close, then go back to the (hotel) and talk to them."
    For Thomas, that meant some personal questions about his family upbringing and injury history. He's the son of a school superintendent and never missed a Texas game because of an injury.
    "If they're going to invest all that money in you, they want to get to know you," Thomas said.
    The practices and games also gets players out of their comfort zone. Thomas spent the last three seasons catching passes from Vince Young.
    The quarterbacks on the West team are Texas A&M's Reggie McNeil, UCLA's Drew Olson and Fresno State's Paul Pinegar. The East team quarterbacks are Brett Basanez of Northwestern, Toledo's Bruce Gradkowski and Alabama State's Tarvaris Jackson.
    "It's been a little different, especially catching them from Reggie since he's an Aggie," Thomas said.
    Thomas expects to be drafted between the third and fifth rounds. Brandt predicts it will be as early as the second round.
    "It's like a golf tournament where a bunch of guys are 10 handicappers and a few guys are zero handicappers," Brandt said. "Thomas is a zero handicapper."
    McNeil may have done more this week than any other player on the squad to improve his draft status. His passing, decision making and mobility impressed scouts.
    Considered by some analysts to be a better quarterback than Texas' Young before the 2005 season, McNeil struggled with inconsistent play and an injury that kept him out of the final game of the season.
    "He just looks good," Brandt said. "He looked accurate, threw the ball well, moved well. I think he was the biggest surprise there coming off this year, which was not the best."
    The game is heavy on talent at wide receiver.
    Oregon State's Mike Hass led the nation with 90 catches for 1,532 yards and is the first Pac-10 player to have three years with more than 1,000 yards receiving. Western Michigan's Greg Jennings was No. 2 in the country last season with 1,259 yards. Texas Tech's Taurean Henderson set an NCAA record with 303 career receptions as a running back.
    The players aren't the only ones being evaluated this week. The city of San Antonio has a one-year deal to host the Shrine game, which was moved after 80 years in California.
    A lag in ticket sales and interest in the game from San Francisco officials, as well as a desire to have the game more centrally located, prompted the move to the Alamodome, said Executive Director Jack Hart.
    Ticket sales hovered around 25,000 the last four years in San Francisco. Shrine officials hope to sell at least that many for Saturday's game.
    Gator trio to appear in all-star games
  • Former Florida football players Vernell Brown, Randy Hand and Jeremy Mincey will be playing in all-star games today.
    Brown, a cornerback, and Hand, an offensive tackle, are participating in the East-West Shrine Game in San Antonio, while Mincey, a defensive end, is playing in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.
    Both games are being televised nationally - the East-West game at 4 p.m. on ESPN2 and the Hula Bowl on the same network at 7 p.m.
    Brown and Hand join 11 other former SEC players on the East roster, while Mincey is one of seven SEC players on the Hula Bowl East team.
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