TALLAHASSEE — Junior college transfer Tavares Pressley's bid to challenge starting RB Antone Smith for playing time took another wrong turn Thursday. Pressley injured his left knee during practice and was carted off the field.
After transferring from El Camino (Calif.) Community College, academic issues kept Pressley sidelined for more than a week at the start of camp. Since returning, Pressley has struggled to make an impact the way he did at El Camino, where he rushed for 832 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Coach Bobby Bowden said after practice that it was too soon to know how serious the injury is. A team official said Pressley's knee will be re-examined today.
DUNBAR OUT OF HOSPITAL: DT Emmanuel Dunbar was released from Capital Regional Medical Center after spending the night.
"That was the best news I heard today," Bowden said.
Dunbar injured his lower back during Wednesday's practice and was unable to move for several minutes. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and remained there overnight for observation.
A projected starter in the wake of multiple suspensions on defense to start the season, Dunbar has a history of back problems, including surgery to repair two herniated discs in 2006. He walked on his own Thursday but his playing future is uncertain.
USF: Experienced line
TAMPA — USF's offensive line for Saturday's opener against Tennessee-Martin is set, with all five players boasting at least one season as a starter.
Senior Ryan Schmidt, who started at guard last season, will start at left tackle, with senior Jake Griffin at center, sophomore Zach Hermann at right guard and senior Marc Dile at right tackle. Senior Matt Huners, who missed most of last season recovering from injury, returns at left guard, where he started 10 games in 2006.
Sophomore Jake Sims, who entered fall as the starting right tackle, is the top reserve, and redshirt freshman Jeremiah Warren, thought to miss Saturday's game with an ankle injury, is healthy and should play, OL coach Mike Simmonds said.
BIG TIME: Saturday's game isn't just Tennessee-Martin's first against a BCS conference opponent: It's believed to be the largest crowd the Skyhawks have played in front of in 84 seasons. UTM played before 29,253 in last year's opener at Southern Miss. Saturday's game has more than 43,000 tickets distributed.
UCF TICKETS AVAILABLE: UCF announced that a limited number of tickets for next week's game against USF in Orlando will go on sale today at 9 a.m. Cost is $65. Call Ticketmaster at 898-2100 in St. Petersburg or (813) 287-8844 in Tampa, or go to ticketmaster.com.
UF: Building a bond
GAINESVILLE — One point coach Urban Meyer has stressed since the spring is the need for more team chemistry.
QB Tim Tebow sees a difference: "There's more chemistry and unselfishness this year than even two years ago when we won the national championship. We might not be quite as talented or experienced as we were that year, but I think we'll be more unselfish and much more close than we were. That's what's going to bring us over the hump."
ET CETERA: Sophomore Cameron Newton and redshirt freshman John Brantley continue to compete for backup quarterback. Meyer hopes to get both into the game Saturday against Hawaii. … Terron Sanders or Tampa native Matt Patchan will start alongside Lawrence Marsh at defensive tackle, Meyer said. … Sophomore DL Torrey Davis, a former Armwood standout, continues to work on conditioning. Davis returned to practice Monday but has not participated in defensive drills.
UCF: DB is recovered
ORLANDO — Johnell Neal, back at full strength after recovering from a gunshot May 9, is one of four senior starting defensive backs who are vocal leaders during practice.
"There's a lot of leaders on this team and we all want the same thing," Neal said. "We won a Conference USA championship last year and we want another one this year. We all want to go out as champions."
Times staff writer Greg Auman and correspondent Phil Kegler contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel.