Originally created 07/29/01

College football notebook



The status of South Carolina tailback Derek Watson, who has been under suspension, has not changed, coach Lou Holtz said Saturday in Columbia at a Ladies Football Clinic, where nearly 1,000 women were in attendance.

"Derek has done just about everything we've asked him to do in order to get reinstated to the team," said Holtz. "He must get cleared from the university first, however, and then we will make a decision about his future as it relates to football."

Watson, who will be a junior this season, was suspended for the second time in five months in May after he was arrested and charged with punching a female student on the arm. Watson had been scheduled for a magistrate's hearing in June, but the hearing was postponed.

Because of the suspension, Watson was unable to participate in any of the voluntary off-season workouts.

South Carolina begins fall varsity practice on Aug. 10. Newcomers report to the campus on Aug. 5 and the varsity checks in Aug. 8.

At Saturday's clinic, Holtz said, "I address a lot of different groups during the year, but I never address a more enthusiastic group that at the ladies clinic. If their enthusiasm doesn't get you ready for the season, nothing will."

Holtz also said "there is no easy way to win," and it will take a tremendous commitment on the part of the players and coaches to be successful in 2001.

"People don't accept mediocrity in football. The expectations are greater this year (after an 8-4 record and a Outback Bowl victory). We will be a marked team; we will be the hunted," Holtz said.

CLEMSON: Woody's on the Web.

Clemson has started a Web site promoting senior quarterback Woody Dantzler for the Heisman Trophy with the slogan: "Woodrow Dantzler: A Man With A Plan.

The site, promoted on the Tigers' official athletic site at www.clemsontigers.com, includes pictures, stats and a biography of Dantzler, who despite being hobbled by an injury in his last four games threw for 1,871 yards and ran for 1,028 yards last season.

Also tracked on the site are school records Dantzler owns and others records he is approaching.

Dantzler will begin writing a diary for the site starting the week of Aug. 22.

AUTIN FUNERAL: Florida football coach Steve Spurrier joined more than 1,000 mourners in Lafayette, La., on Saturday at the funeral for Eraste Autin, who died after collapsing following a workout.

"Eraste was not with us long in Gainesville, but I can assure you here in Lafayette, he made a lasting impression," said Spurrier, who helped deliver the eulogy at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral.

"I can assure you, all of us Gators will have Eraste's memories with us always."

Autin, 18, collapsed July 19 while jogging to the locker room after a conditioning workout. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of heat stroke, but remained in critical condition until he died Wednesday.

Autin was a two-year starter at fullback for St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette. He rushed for nearly 700 yards with 12 touchdowns in 2000.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky defensive back Brandon Doggett, 20, and running back Martez Johnson, 21, face court appearances next month on misdemeanor drug charges.

According to police reports, Doggett was arrested shortly after midnight on July 15 and charged with public intoxication, possession of marijuana and possession of alcohol as a minor. Johnson was charged with possession of marijuana and is set to be arraigned on Aug. 15.

Doggett posted a $1,300 bond and was released, then pleaded innocent to all charges July 18. His next court date is Aug. 18.

Doggett, a sophomore from Valdosta, Ga., decided to transfer. According to a news release from coach Guy Morriss, Doggett requested and was granted a release from his scholarship.

Johnson, a junior from Detroit, is expected to remain with the team, and disciplinary measures will be handled as an internal team matter, the release said.

MIAMI: Jarrett Payton, the son of the late NFL star Walter Payton, and two other University of Miami football players were injured in a car accident Saturday night.

Payton, fellow running back Clinton Portis and defensive lineman Clint Hurtt were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's trauma center and were in good condition, hospital administrator Stacy Stage said. She said they were still being evaluated to determine the extent of their injuries.

Portis and Hurtt were ejected from Payton's 1999 BMW, said Lt. Ernesto Duarte of the Florida Highway Patrol. None of the players was wearing a seat belt, he said.

Alcohol was not a factor, Duarte said.

"Driver error and speed contributed to this particular crash," he said.

Hurtt was cited for careless driving.

Payton is the son of the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back who died of bile duct cancer in November 1999. The younger Payton ran for 262 yards as a freshman in 1999 and redshirted last season because of an ankle injury.

BOWL CHANGE: Notre Dame or a Big East team could play in the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl in one of the next four years if a deal brokered by the bowl is finalized.

Under the arrangement being negotiated, the Big 12 and SEC would still be the Cotton Bowl's anchor conferences for the four-year period, 2003-06. However, in one of those years the Cotton Bowl would have the option of replacing the SEC choice with either Notre Dame or a Big East team.

Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker said he could not comment on the negotiations, but a source said the deal has been agreed upon in principle.

The Notre Dame-Big East option came about as a way to get the Cotton Bowl a later starting time. SEC teams are prevented from playing in bowls that conflict with the Citrus Bowl's television window on New Year's Day. The Citrus Bowl has the SEC's first selection after the BCS.

The Cotton Bowl has been forced to kick off at 10 a.m. since the SEC became a partner in 1998, an issue that has become a sore point for the Big 12.

The Associated Press and Keith Whitmire of The Dallas Morning News contributed to this report.