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Original Issue

New Spring Roles

Some of the intriguing storylines coming out of April involve rehabbing stars and a few old hands in different positions

A.D.'S BACK INGEAR: Time and again during Oklahoma's spring game, Adrian Peterson sprintedthrough the line for what would have been a long gain, but because he waswearing a noncontact jersey, the play was blown dead as soon as a defendertouched him. So while the 2004 Heisman runner-up didn't get to rack up bignumbers, he showed that the injuries that hampered him last spring (shouldersurgery) and much of the fall (ankle sprain) are behind him. In preparation forhis junior season the 215-pound back focused on improving his pass-catchingskills.

SEMINOLE TAKESCHARGE: Not since Chris Weinke's 2000 Heisman season has Florida State had adependable quarterback, but Drew Weatherford, who as a redshirt freshman had anACC-high 18 interceptions last fall, made it through three full scrimmages withonly one pick. Weatherford, who was thrown into the fire in '05 after starterWyatt Sexton was sidelined by Lyme disease, hit the film room regularlythroughout the spring, and teammates were quick to notice that he has maturedinto a leader. "He could be the General, like they used to call Weinke and[1993 Heisman winner] Charlie Ward," says running back Lorenzo Booker.

BRACED FORSUCCESS: Less than five months ago Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm lay onthe turf clutching his right knee after being tackled by Syracuse's KellenPruitt. The damage: torn ACL, sprained patellar tendon, torn meniscus and abruised bone. Visitors to spring workouts were stunned to see Brohm, thenation's No. 2-rated passer last season, running and throwing without pain, ablack knee brace the only sign of his injury. The junior is a month ahead ofschedule in his rehab (he's being held out of scrimmages) and expects to startin the Sept. 2 opener against Kentucky.

FRESH EYE OF THEHURRICANES: Miami coach Larry Coker's mandate to new offensive coordinator RichOlson: "Get the ball in the hands of our playmakers." Olson, theHurricanes' play-caller in 1994 before becoming an NFL assistant, has beentweaking the pro-style offense, which had a drop-off in production over thepast two seasons. Olson was one of six new assistants hired by Coker, who shookup his staff after a 40-3 Peach Bowl loss to LSU.


•JermichaelFinley, TE, Texas: The 6'5", 220-pound redshirt freshman has taken on DavidThomas's role of pass-catching tight end--four balls for 73 yards in the springgame.

•Mike Nixon, MLB,Arizona State: After spending four-plus years as a catcher in the Los AngelesDodgers' farm system, the 22-year-old freshman--a former UCLA signee--walked onin Tempe and is contending for a starting spot.

•Rendrick Taylor,WR, Clemson: Offensive coordinator Rob Spence created a new position, J-back (ahybrid of wide receiver, halfback, fullback and tight end), for the speedysophomore, who turned a screen pass into a 97-yard TD in the spring game.

•NehemiahWarrick, S, Michigan State: A transfer from Hutchinson (Kans.) CommunityCollege, the cousin of former Florida State star Peter Warrick had a team-higheight tackles and an interception in the Spartans' first scrimmage.



CARDINAL VIRTUE Brohm is a month ahead in his rehab.