Miami coach suspends star tight end (Notebook)

Paul Tenorio

Miami’s star tight end Kellen Winslow was benched by coach Larry Coker on Tuesday, a decision based solely on his behavior on the field, according to Coker.

The benching comes shortly after Winslow made several controversial comments to reporters after Miami’s 10-6 loss to Tennessee on Saturday. Coker’s punishment, however, is in reaction to Winslow’s 15-yard penalty for unsportmanslike conduct. The tight end was penalized for taking off his helmet. Winslow claims that his helmet was ripped off.

At the beginning of the year Winslow dubbed himself “The Chosen One,” and in the opener against Louisiana Tech, he struck a Heisman Trophy pose after a touchdown reception, drawing criticism from Coker.

Winslow has also been flagged several other times this season for unsportsmanlike conduct, including two times in the past two games.

“We’ve got to understand we can’t have that,” Coker said. “It hurts our football team. The most pain you can inflict on a player is playing time, so I am going to take away some playing time.”

In his interview after the Tennessee game, Winslow went off on a tirade, cussing at reporters and telling them to “make sure to put (the cussing) in the paper.”

He ended his interview by referring to football as war and calling himself a soldier. He apologized the next day.

Tight end Kevin Everett will start in place of Winslow on Saturday.

Coker would not say how long he would bench Winslow.

Winslow leads Miami with 51 receptions for 527 yards.

RIX FIX: Florida State offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden announced that junior quarterback Chris Rix will retain his starting job on Saturday when the Seminoles play host to North Carolina State.

The announcement reiterated the stance of head coach Bobby Bowden, who assured reporters the day after the Seminoles lost to Clemson 26-10 that Rix would remain the starter.

“I just don’t think we are getting into a change yet,” Jeff Bowden said.

In the loss to Clemson, Rix lost a fumble and was picked off twice before being replaced by Fabian Walker during the fourth quarter.

Walker threw for the Seminoles’ only touchdown, a 71-yard strike to Chauncey Stovall. He finished 11-of-21 for 164 yards. His only other start came in January’s Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia. Rix was ineligible after sleeping through an exam.

The loss to Clemson knocked Florida State out of contention for the national title. But Clemson coach Terry Bowden did not believe the loss could be blamed on any individual player.

“I don’t think that thought is in anybody’s mind right now unless (the media) or somebody wants to place blame,” said Bowden.

Bobby Bowden held a team meeting on Monday to discuss the goals for the Seminoles. A win Saturday would give Florida State the Atlantic Coast Conference title and the conference’s guaranteed Bowl Championship Series bowl bid.

“Winning your conference is so darn important nowadays because it is locked into the BCS, so that’s why I met them just to make sure everyone understood,” Bowden said.

AILING COUGAR: Washington State star quarterback Matt Kegel is doubtful to start Saturday when the Cougars host Arizona State.

Kegel injured his right collarbone in last Saturday’s 31-13 win over UCLA. It is the second time that Kegel has suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder, which was partially dislocated earlier this year. Kegel also dislocated his left shoulder and has played on a partially torn MCL in his right knee for the past two weeks.

Freshman Josh Swogger, who filled in last weekend for Kegel, will play the majority of the game at quarterback for Washington State. Last week the freshman was 5-of-16 for 82 yards and two interceptions.

“He’ll do fine,” Doba said. “He was our scout team quarterback a year ago, and all those guys are blitzing and flying by him, and he just stands in there and smiles and wings that ball.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report