AMHERST, N.Y. — University at Buffalo interim football coach Alex Cross was seeking advice from a former colleague on how to handle his new role.

Former Southern California interim coach Ed Orgeron called Cross last weekend, and Cross asked him to encourage his team after Jeff Quinn was fired.

Orgeron delivered via Skype, issuing what Cross called a spot-on message to Bulls players about sticking together.

Orgeron, who coached with Cross at the University of Miami and now resides in Mandeville, would know. He replaced Lane Kiffin at USC last season and went 7-2, including a Las Vegas Bowl victory.

As a result, Cross figures all might not be lost at Buffalo (3-4, 1-2 Mid-American Conference).

With five games left, the Bulls are not out of the playoff picture. They host Central Michigan (4-4, 2-2) on Saturday.

Seminoles line coach back

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett has returned to the practice field after missing Saturday’s win over Notre Dame due to a health concern.

Trickett was actively working with linemen Tuesday as the Seminoles practiced after taking two days off. No. 2 Florida State (7-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has a bye this week before playing at Louisville (6-2, 4-2) on Oct. 30.

No details were given about Trickett’s health issues, but coach Jimbo Fisher said 66-year-old Trickett has been medically cleared.

“He looks really good,” Fisher said. “Got cleared. Just have to watch some things here and there. But he’s in good shape.”

Trickett is in his 42nd season as an assistant coach and in his eighth at FSU.

Dorsett on a record pace

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — In 2012, Phillip Dorsett’s pride was hurt.

In 2013, it was his knee.

This year, nothing has slowed the speedy Miami wide receiver.

Dorsett has only 16 catches, a total exceeded by 352 other players so far this season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

But the story with Dorsett isn’t the number of touches, but rather what he’s doing with them.

Simply put, he’s burning defenses.

He’s averaging 34.4 yards per catch so far in 2014, putting him on pace to smash the previous NCAA record in that department. For a player who was maligned for dropping a pair of sure-fire touchdowns against Notre Dame two years ago, then saw his junior season interrupted by a torn knee ligament, his senior season is off to a flying start.

Spartans downplay role

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For years, the story rarely changed when Michigan State faced Michigan. The Wolverines would usually win and then move on to more important matters, such as the matchup with Ohio State.

Motivation was seldom a problem for the Spartans back then, but it didn’t seem to help them on the field.

Mark Dantonio’s arrival as Michigan State’s coach changed all that. The Spartans still approached the game with the same level of urgency, and the results finally began to turn in their favor.

Now, eighth-ranked Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) is favored by more than two touchdowns for Saturday’s matchup with the Wolverines (3-4, 1-2).