After getting little production from his punt returners recently, Virginia Coach George Welsh said yesterday that he will use tailback Thomas Jones and possibly cornerback Antwan Harris to return punts this week against Maryland.

Arlen Harris, the Cavaliers' freshman tailback and principal return man, had been averaging 11.5 yards a return before missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. His playing status for the Maryland game is undetermined. Harris's replacement, wide receiver Ahmad Hawkins, has struggled so far, returning four punts for only 13 yards with two fumbles, including one against Buffalo last week.

"We just want somebody back there that can catch them now," Welsh said. "Some of these skills kids we've recruited the last couple of years, except for Arlen Harris, don't do it very well." . . .

Florida will use both Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer at quarterback Saturday against top-ranked Florida State, Coach Steve Spurrier said. Spurrier said he was considering alternating quarterbacks on each down, a system he used in a 1997 victory over the Seminoles and brought back briefly last season.

"That's possible," Spurrier said. "Possibly each quarter, possibly each half. I don't know. Maybe first down and third down. It could be fourth down."

Johnson started the first nine games for the Gators (9-1), but Spurrier benched him after erratic play brought the offense to a near halt in the second halves of four straight games. . . .

Gerry DiNardo, whose team has lost eight straight games and is winless in the SEC, was fired as LSU's football coach. Assistant Hal Hunter will coach for the final game against Arkansas on Nov. 26.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Junior F George Evans scored 22 points and senior G Ahmad Dorsett added 15 to lead George Mason to a 120-90 victory over Court Authority in an exhibition game at Patriot Center. . . . Virginia has received a letter-of-intent from McNamara High F-G Maurice Young, who averaged 22 points a game last season and is McNamara's all-time leading scorer with 1,418 points.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Jen Surlas scored 19 points and Jill Bartley added 15 as George Mason defeated Tallin Pedagogical University, 62-52, in an exhibition at Patriot Center. . . . Led by Nathalie Bourdereau's 23 points and Porshia Jones's 20, Georgetown defeated Vologda Russia, 88-72, in an exhibition at McDonough Arena.