TAMPA — USF's offense will line up Saturday against Connecticut without key players injured in Saturday's loss to Syracuse, with at least three out and others uncertain as the Bulls try to end a six-game losing streak.
Leading rusher Lindsey Lamar was sidelined with a fractured collarbone Saturday, and Tuesday coach Skip Holtz said two more regulars, senior TE Evan Landi (ankle) and junior WR Derrick Hopkins (knee), won't play against the Huskies. Both were on crutches as they watched Tuesday's practice, with Landi wearing a cast on his injured foot.
Starting RG Danous Estenor watched practice with a boot on his injured right ankle and is doubtful, Holtz said, and two more receivers, sophomore Andre Davis (knee) and freshman D'Vario Montgomery (shoulder), did not practice, leaving the Bulls with three healthy scholarship receivers.
"It was a costly game from an injury standpoint," said Holtz, whose team played Saturday without its most experienced offensive lineman, senior G Mark Popek, who had a boot on his injured ankle Tuesday.
The injured players include four of USF's top five in receiving yards. Holtz said that junior DE Ryne Giddins, a former starter, may miss the game with a shoulder injury; backup RB Willie Davis, who missed Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, did not participate in Tuesday's practice.
UM: D tightening
CORAL GABLES — Miami's defense is taking baby steps from the depths of September and early October, when it allowed 41.5 points a game to the first four Division I opponents.
A total of 17 players have started at least one game on defense, and all eight starting lineups have differed. The scoring allowance dipped to 25.5 points in the past two games as new combinations found chemistry.
No group has evolved more than the linebackers. Eddie Johnson wasn't even listed on the preseason depth chart but rose into a top threat on the outside. Denzel Perryman moved back outside before the Florida State game while a healthy Jimmy Gaines moved back to his old job in the middle.
The new setup generated 22 tackles from the three starters, the most all season.
"That was really big, (Gaines) being in the middle and really running the show for us," defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said. "It allowed us, with the three linebackers that we have and no knock on Jimmy, to put the two guys with the best speed outside."
Michael Casagrande, Sun Sentinel
FSU: Not perfect
TALLAHASSEE — Though he was pleased with the dominant performance his defense turned in Saturday in Florida State's 48-7 win over Duke, coach Jimbo Fisher said the unit could have been better.
Multiple blown coverages in the Seminoles' pass defense could have resulted in more Blue Devils scores had QB Sean Renfree seen them, Fisher said.
"We had more missed assignments on defense than we did on offense in the game," he said. "They had two or three busted coverages that if they would have seen, it could have been big-time touchdown throws."
Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel