Originally created 09/25/98

ACC notes: 'Noles, Blue Devils down with viruses last week



For the 35-or-so Duke players sickened by a virus over the weekend, the worst seems to be over. But for Florida State on Tuesday, it was just the beginning.

Ten Florida State players -- eight of them starters, including quarterback Chris Weinke -- were stricken with an intestinal virus Tuesday and missed practice.

The Seminoles apparently contracted the bug from Duke's players, who were hit hard during a 62-13 loss to Florida State last Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla.

"Our campus had over 100 students with the same thing and (doctors) were concerned about our guys passing it to the other team members," said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, as the Seminoles prepare to play host to Southern Cal on Saturday.

Duke coach Fred Goldsmith, who also took ill during the Florida State game, said Wednesday that he believed the virus had run its course. And not a moment too soon with 11th-ranked Virginia coming to Durham, N.C., on Saturday.

Asked how he thought the bug spread from his team to the Florida State players, Goldsmith delivered the line of the week.

"Their quarterback must have got it from their linemen, because he sure didn't get it from us," Goldsmith said with tongue-in-cheek, alluding to the Devils' problems containing Weinke.

GROUNDED:

Clemson's trouble running the ball may be magnified Saturday vs. Wake Forest with tailbacks Travis Zachery and Javis Austin nursing injuries.

Zachery, a redshirt freshman, suffered a bruised shoulder in last week's loss at Virginia and did not participate in contact drills through Wednesday. Austin, a sophomore, pulled a hamstring and also has been limited this week. Both, however, are expected to play against the Deacons.

The Tigers (1-2, 0-1 ACC) are seventh in the ACC in rushing offense, ahead of only N.C. State and North Carolina, and are last in total offense and passing offense.

Though much of the focus has been on correcting breakdowns in the offensive line and addressing the failure of Zachery and Austin to find the holes and make the proper cuts, Clemson coach Tommy West is calling for fullbacks Terry Witherspoon, a junior, and freshman backup Vince Ciurciu to make things happen, as well.

"Terry's not afraid to go put his hat on people, but he looks awkward sometimes doing it," West said. "That's what we signed Ciurciu for -- to be a fullback. That's what he's been, and I think he's a good blocking fullback."

TRAGEDY:

North Carolina freshman quarterback Ronald Curry and All-American junior cornerback Dre' Bly missed practice time this week because of grandparents' deaths, but both will be ready to play Saturday at home vs. Georgia Tech.

"Family is a lot more important than a football team, and I felt it was very important for them to be with their family and deal with their sorrow," Tar Heels coach Carl Torbush said. "It's a tough situation to deal with, but I think both will be fine on Saturday."

Curry was impressive in his first career start last Saturday in a loss at Stanford, and the former prep All-American likely will start again vs. the Yellow Jackets, even though senior Oscar Davenport is close to 100 percent after knee surgery two weeks ago.

"I think Oscar is further along than maybe I anticipated," Torbush said, "but what I'd like to see is Oscar at 100 percent. He may be at 90 or 90-plus now."

SPARE THE ROD:

Preseason All-America punter Rodney Williams has been inconsistent on kickoffs, and Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary might go with Brad Chambers instead.

"With Rodney, it's either boom or bust on kickoffs," O'Leary said. "We've told him that if he just slows down, he's going to put it 6 or 7 yards deep in the end zone every time."

O'Leary said he would make a decision late this week.

ACC-OLADES:

Wake Forest QB Brian Kuklick has passed for 200 or more yards in 11 of his last 13 games. ... Travis Minor is the only ACC running back averaging more than 100 yards per game and is bidding to become the first Florida State player to lead the ACC in rushing. ... Georgia Tech leads the nation in punt returns (30.3 average), led by Charlie Rogers (second nationally). ... In the last 15 meetings with Duke, Virginia has averaged 36.2 points and 443.1 yards of total offense.