Saturday, March 23, 2002

Roethlisberger's injury delays MU's start of practice

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Miami RedHawks spring practice has been pushed back 10 days to April 2. The move, according to coach Terry Hoeppner, is being done to allow sophomore quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and redshirt freshman Josh Betts more time to rehabilitate injuries.

        Roethlisberger, a 2001 Football Writers Assoc. Freshman All-American, suffered a hand injury while lifting weights Wednesday night.

        Betts, slated to be Roethlisberger's backup this fall, is still recovering from a shoulder injury from a skiing accident.

        Despite moving the start of spring practice from today to April 2, the Red and White Game remains scheduled for April 20.


        New coach Gerry DiNardo isn't sure where Jeremi Johnson, last year's starting fullback, fits best in his new offense. He also must find a replacement for quarterback Antwaan Randle El, one of the best players in school history.

        Top candidates to replace Randle El, seniors Tommy Jones and Gibran Hamdan, will see limited action this spring.

        Redshirt freshman Patrick Thompson and walk-on Mike Donnelly are the only other quarterbacks on the roster.

        Now that Randle El and Levron Williams have graduated, Johnson is the lone returnee from a backfield that combined to rush for a Big Ten-leading 2,964 yards last season.


        Running back Frank Gore had surgery Friday to repair ligaments in his right knee and could be ready to play in the fall.

        Gore, who ran for 562 yards and five touchdowns last season as a freshman for the national champion Hurricanes, was injured Tuesday during spring practice.


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