GAINESVILLE — Banged-up Florida is getting a little healthier on offense.
Offensive linemen Max Garcia (back) and Trip Thurman (shoulder) were cleared to practice Monday, giving the Gators a couple big bodies back for fall practice.
Guard Jon Halapio, who has a partially torn pectoral muscle, is still out at least another week. And running back Matt Jones remains sidelined while recovering from a viral infection. Coach Will Muschamp says team doctors “just gotta be careful with his condition there.”
Fullback Hunter Joyer pulled a hamstring in practice Sunday and will be out at least 10 days. And safety Jaylen Watkins (sprained foot) won’t practice this week.
The Gators opened fall practice without four offensive starters. Halapio and Jones are still out, but Jones is the only one without a return timetable.
Hurricanes change autograph policies
CORAL GABLES — The fallout from the Johnny Manziel autograph allegations prompted Miami to announce changes to its signing policies.
At Miami’s annual CanesFest on Saturday, the Hurricanes will be signing only school-issued posters and nothing else.
The school said the moves are being made because of ongoing concerns about college athletes and autograph sales, but Manziel was not mentioned by name. ESPN reported earlier this month that Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is being investigated by the NCAA amid allegations that he took money in exchange for signing memorabilia.
If true, Manziel’s eligibility and Heisman standing would both be jeopardized.
Miami’s decision to limit player signings to posters that the school will distribute — one per fan who shows up Saturday — would figure to at least slow down anyone who planned to attend CanesFest solely to get autographs for resale. Miami fans have brought items such as photos, shirts, footballs and helmets for players to sign at past events like CanesFest.
“As part of the University of Miami’s commitment to NCAA compliance and in light of recent national news, student-athletes will only sign” the poster that will be handed out, the Hurricanes said in a statement.
Seminoles mix in reserves with starters
TALLAHASSEE — Since it is still relatively early in Florida State’s preseason camp, coach Jimbo Fisher knows it is the perfect time to mix and match his lineup combinations.
As FSU enters its second week of practice, the fourth-year coach and his staff have started taking some of their third-string players and mixing them in with starters. In some cases, lacking depth and injuries have forced them into getting extra work for some of those backups.
Junior Sterling Lovelady has been chief among those who have benefited from injuries above him. When second-string C Austin Barron went down with a foot injury late last week, Lovelady was thrust right into the mix.
He’s been getting a lot of practice repetitions, too. Starting C Bryan Stork has been limited all camp as he recovers from offseason toe surgery.
On defense, the Seminoles have been mixing in several true freshmen, including CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Freddie Stevenson.
Much of their playing time has been predicated upon the simple fact that FSU’s defense should feature multiple rotations this season. The defensive game plan could allow FSU to cycle in at least 20 players a game.
Fisher has also been pleased with the work of reserve QBs John Franklin and Sean Maguire.
One day after hosting a fully padded practice in front of fans, FSU held its first two-a-day of the preseason Monday.They will hold their first scrimmage today.