Clark hopes to capitalize on first start

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

BOCA RATON Andre Clark made the most of his surprising first start for Florida Atlantic. The redshirt freshman from Miami led the Owls with 11 tackles in FAU's 23-3 loss to Oklahoma State on Thursday.

"He has a knack for finding the football," said Kurt Van Valkenburgh assistant head coach and linebacker coach. "There were a couple of times (against Oklahoma State) he did everything wrong but still made the play."

Clark, who played in the season-opening loss at Kansas but didn't record a tackle, said he didn't think he'd be starting this early in his career.

"They just told me it was my turn," Clark said. "I didn't expect to be in the mix this early."

Now that Clark has cracked the starting lineup, he's prepared to stay. He will join Shomari Earls and Cergile Sincere as the starting linebacker corps trying to stop a potent Minnesota offense Saturday.

The Gophers' ground attack averages 328 yards per game, third in the nation. Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney is second in the nation, averaging 168 yards per game.

Noteworthy: Palm Beach Gardens grad Earls returned to practice Tuesday and will start Saturday. Earls suffered a neck stinger in Thursday's loss to Oklahoma State. ... Punter Mike Brown is wearing a boot to protect his sprained left (non-kicking) foot. Brown may have the boot off by Thursday and plans to play Saturday.

Georgia's Brown may be sidelined: Bulldogs tailback Thomas Brown, the fourth-leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference, said Tuesday a shoulder injury probably will keep him out of Saturday's game against Louisiana-Monroe.

Brown, a sophomore from Tucker, rushed for 144 yards on 20 carries in the Bulldogs' 17-15 win over South Carolina last Saturday. He suffered a slight separation of his right shoulder in the game.

Oklahoma's Peterson uncertain: Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he'll decide later this week whether suspended tailback Adrian Peterson will start Saturday against UCLA.

Peterson, who rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma's 31-15 win against Tulsa on Saturday, was suspended from practice Monday and Tuesday after missing classes.