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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : FIESTA BOWL : Green Not Worried About Not Starting

Last year, quarterback Brook Berringer led Nebraska to the promised land in place of the injured Tommie Frazier and then was asked to step aside when Frazier returned for the national championship game.

This year, tailback Ahman Green is in a similar fix. Green, who set a Nebraska freshman rushing record with 1,086 yards in place of suspended back Lawrence Phillips, will return the starting tailback position to Phillips in Tuesday’s Fiesta Bowl.

Raw deal?

“There was no disappointment at all,” Green said. “All it did really was take some pressure off my shoulders. Right now, I’m a little more relaxed than I was.”

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Green, from Omaha, became only the fourth freshman in Big Eight history to rush for more than 1,000 yards. He said he has no ill feelings toward Phillips, who was reinstated as the starter this week by Coach Tom Osborne.

“They told me I’d get the same amount of snaps I’d get in the regular season,” Green said. “So I won’t be missing a step.”

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How’s this for a switch? Florida’s starting quarterback, Danny Wuerffel, grew up in Nebraska, while Frazier was raised in Florida. “I respected [former quarterback] Turner Gill and Coach Osborne so much,” Wuerffel said. “But when it gets down to game time it doesn’t matter.”

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Nebraska lost four offensive line starters from last year’s national championship team, but this year’s unit may be even better. The line, remarkably, did not yield a sack all season.

Left guard Aaron Taylor recalled a close call in the team’s 37-0 victory against Oklahoma in the last game, when a missed assignment nearly led to a sack of Berringer.

“We were yelling, ‘Throw the ball, throw the ball,’ ” Taylor said. Berringer, instead, ran for a first down and the no-sack mark was safe.

“We’re really proud of that,” Taylor said.

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Osborne continued on the defensive for his handling this season of Phillips, who will start despite being convicted of misdemeanor assault charges relating to the Sept. 10 beating of a former girlfriend. TO: (C1) SIDELINE GHOST: After leading Nebraska to the national championship, quarterback Brook Berringer (left) spent his senior year watching Tommie Frazier start. C3

“I’ve been criticized for the manner in which we handled the situation, and my motives have been questioned,” Osborne said. “Special interest groups took up the cause, but I suspect they were mainly looking for publicity. I tried to determine what was best for the team, for society and for the individual.”

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Shea Showers, a reserve cornerback for Florida, was on crutches Saturday after suffering a sprained left ankle in practice.


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