GAINESVILLE — Florida redshirt senior tight end Cornelius Ingram was absent from Wednesday's practice, but reports that he is out for the season with an ACL injury might be premature.
Coach Urban Meyer said that Ingram strained his left knee in one-on-one drills Tuesday. He was awaiting MRI exam results.
"I don't know much more than that right now," Meyer said.
Meyer said he anticipated having further information by today about the seriousness of Ingram's injury. Ingram was a projected second- or third-round NFL draft pick but decided to remain for his senior season, and he is expected to be an integral part of the Gators' offense. He is on the preseason John Mackey Award watch list for the nation's best tight end. Ingram had 34 receptions for 508 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Redshirt freshman receiver/running back Chris Rainey also practiced sparingly, nursing a groin injury he suffered during track season, Meyer said. Freshman defensive tackle Omar Hunter is ailing with a back injury but participated in everything but contact drills. Meyer said he could be "cut loose" for full practice by Friday.
USF: Linemen to start season a little leaner
TAMPA — Starting offensive linemen Jake Griffin and Ryan Schmidt have dropped a combined 51 pounds since last season, with Griffin losing 30 from the 320 he finished with last season, while fellow senior Schmidt dropped 21 pounds to 317.
"I made a lot of big improvements for myself. I'm in the best shape I've ever been in going into camp," said Schmidt, who added 35 pounds to his bench press in the offseason. "I worked real hard this summer."
When asked if he had seen a difference in junior quarterback Matt Grothe in the fall, Griffin, who is emerging as a leader on a veteran line, said he frankly hasn't paid attention to Grothe because he has been focusing on new players on the line, including his appointed "little brother," freshman tackle Mark Popek.
"I was just trying to add some muscle mass and lose a little bit of fat," said Griffin, whose bench is up to 420 pounds.
One lineman who has impressed Schmidt — and USF's coaches — is redshirt freshman Mike McGowan, who came to USF as a tight end, shifted to guard in the fall and now is working as a second-team offensive tackle. "He's really come on great. He's hustling around and looking pretty good," Schmidt said.
USF Ticket Sales: Season ticket sales, already at record highs, have topped 25,000 three weeks before the opener against Tennessee-Martin.
Selvie Nominated: Defensive end George Selvie is one of 71 nominees nationwide for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which honors student-athletes for their community contributions. Florida State's Everette Brown has also been nominated.
heat takes toll on UM: Miami senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was taken to a hospital after apparently suffering effects from the heat and humidity during practice. He was expected to remain hospitalized overnight. The practice was the team's first in full pads, and it lasted two hours with the heat index in the mid 90s. Coach Randy Shannon had said Dixon was suffering from dehydration, but the team later said his ailment was unclear. Dixon is the third player in two days to leave practice early. Running backs Damien Berry and Lee Chambers left early Tuesday for dehydration.
Auburn: Freshman safety DeRon Furr left the team. Coach Tommy Tuberville didn't give a reason. Furr went through most of spring at quarterback but spent the final practice at receiver and moved to defensive back over the summer. He was also involved in a practice fight.
Tennessee: Defensive back Vince Faison left the team, citing high blood pressure. Faison, 27, joined the Vols after a nine-year pro baseball career. He was a 2000 first-round pick for the Padres.
VanderBilt: Receiver George Smith will miss at least four weeks with a fracture in his right foot.
Basketball: Bill Self, the Kansas coach who guided the Jayhawks to their first NCAA championship in 20 years, signed a 10-year, $30-million contract.
Baseball: Alabama received permission to play in Cuba in December.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.