- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Bauman slipping

CARLISLE, Pa. One of the interesting whispers of camp's early going seems to be losing steam as rookie cornerback Rashad Bauman starts playing like, well, a rookie.

Bauman stood out at a variety of spots in camp's first week, leading some observers to say he would supplant aging Darrell Green as the third corner. The position is increasingly important as more teams run spread formations to mimic the St. Louis Rams' powerful attack.

Green, 42, is tacking one last season onto his Hall of Fame career. Especially early in camp, Green looked like he might have overestimated his effectiveness. It seemed like Green might be taking one step further from a key role; two years ago he stepped aside for Deion Sanders and last year he lost the starting job to rookie Fred Smoot.

But don't write Green off yet. Bauman's play has slipped in recent days yesterday afternoon might have been his worst practice, as he was beat for several touchdowns and Green has improved steadily. The veteran still isn't up to his standard of the past few seasons, but he seems, for now, back in control of the No.3 job.

Bring it on

Running back Stephen Davis has run through the defenses regularly during camp. However, he not only plowed over cornerback Ron Israel, but also knocked linebacker Donte Curry head over heals on the same run.

Davis looked over to the starting defense awaiting their turn, raising his arms in challenge. Linebacker LaVar Arrington quickly retorted, "We're going to bring it all day now."

And they did on a suffocating morning practice with 102-degree on-field temperatures. Several piles were slow to separate. Receivers Rod Gardner and Kevin Lockett mugged receiver Chandler Smith during punt coverage. Cornerback Fred Smoot was booed by fans when holding on to a receiver's jersey. Smoot appealed to the crowd, but was rejected.

Extra points

Coach Steve Spurrier has had a good old time razzing the team's beat reporters the past few days because they didn't keep stats at Saturday's scrimmage. Florida beat writers apparently always reported the stats of such events. After throwing another series of subtle jabs yesterday the coach revealed that Shane Matthews had an "overwhelming" statistical edge over Danny Wuerffel and Sage Rosenfels, completing 15 of 20 throws for about 160 yards with one touchdown and one drop.

Diplomacy stopped just short of a roster spot when Spurrier was complimenting receiver Akihito Amaya. Asked if Amaya, who gets a special roster exemption for Saturday's exhibition in Osaka, Japan, has any chance of making the team, Spurrier replied, "I doubt it because he speaks very little English. A little bit. He knows some of our signals now, so he can go play. We can give him hand signals and he knows what to do."

Then asked if Randy Moss wouldn't make the team if he couldn't speak English, Spurrier said, "It would be difficult."

Amaya worked on punt coverage, showing good speed but unable to separate from Israel.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington donned his gameday No.56 instead of the No.11 practice jersey for "a change of pace."

At a glance

Today's practice: 9:30 p.m.

Weather: 94 degrees, sunny.

Health watch: DE Bruce Smith (knees), DT Santana Dotson (calf), G Kipp Vickers (knee), OT Wayne Smith (hip) and LG David Loverne (sprained elbow) missed practice.

• Rick Snider and Jody Foldesy

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