GAINESVILLE — Cornelius Ingram, the Gators' starting tight end and an integral part of the offense, will miss the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee.
Ingram is a redshirt senior who was a potential second- or third-round draft pick last year but opted to return. Now it is likely his career as a Gator is over.
"He's going to have surgery, probably sometime next week," a solemn coach Urban Meyer said Thursday night.
Ingram was injured during noncontact drills Tuesday. It is the third noncontact, season-ending injury for a Gator player this preseason. Safeties Dorian Munroe and John Curtis were also injured in the same manner.
"It's the third one this year, which is hard to imagine," Meyer said. "Three noncontact injuries. That's a twisted and tough deal."
The injury is a tough blow for the offense, particularly since the staff spent much of the summer working on potential two-tight end sets involving Ingram and sophomore Aaron Hernandez. Now the Gators may have to scrap that, or rely on redshirt senior Tate Casey, who showed promise in his freshman season, but has played sparingly since.
USF: Frustration results in shoving
TAMPA — USF's fourth practice of the fall saw a minor skirmish break out among players during drills, but coach Jim Leavitt said it's something that happens as players get conditioned for the season.
"They get tired, and they get frustrated," Leavitt said. "With frustration comes anger. With anger comes conflict. That means you're going to have people pushing and shoving."
Asked if he lets the players vent some steam and doesn't necessarily break things up immediately, Leavitt turned to self-preservation.
"Not really," he said. "I don't want to get my hand broken, or my nose broken. I broke my nose three times playing football. I don't need it broken again. I'm too tired to yell. I want to get to practice."
BULLS BITS: Defensive backs coach Troy Douglas said that senior Danny Verpaele is in line to be the starting strong safety, while senior Carlton Williams will be the nickel defensive back. Both have extensive starting experience. … Backup quarterback Grant Gregory will hold on kicks. He takes over for Anthony Severino, who graduated. … Junior Aaron Harris, projected as a starting defensive tackle, has a sore back. Leavitt didn't know the severity of the injury.
FSU: First practice is forced indoors
TALLAHASSEE — The season got off to an inauspicious start as FSU moved practice indoors due to lightning. The weather caused coaches to do some creative last-minute planning as the team practiced inside the basketball training center for the first time.
The defense got a head start indoors before the two units worked together on the three courts. After the units split up, the defense went into meetings.
FSU will try to hold its first outdoor practice tonight.
"I don't think it takes the luster out of it (being indoors),'' offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. "The older guys, there wasn't any complaining.
"I was really pleased with the young guys. There was a bright look in their eyes. I liked their attitude and demeanor."
Matt Dunham, Charlie Graham, Justin Mincey and Tavares Pressley did not participate as they try to clear up academic issues.
AUBURN: Starting safety Aairon Savage will miss the season after knee surgery. His brother said Savage had a dislocated knee cap, a torn ACL and a torn MCL.
KANSAS STATE: Coach Ron Prince signed a five-year contract through 2012, with a base salary of $143,000 and a total package of $1.1-million which includes compensation from endorsements and personal appearances. Kansas State lost four straight to finish 5-7 last season, including a 73-31 defeat at Nebraska, and many wondered if Prince would be fired.
miami: Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, projected as a starter, was released from the hospital after apparently suffering effects from strong heat and humidity at Wednesday's practice and leaving by ambulance. He is expected to practice Saturday.
Tennessee: Defensive tackle Chase Nelson is out for the season because of a knee injury. The junior played in four games last season before injuring his wrist.
INDIANA'S RESPONSE: Indiana will not request a second hearing in front of the NCAA infractions committee, but the school will send a written response to the NCAA's newest allegation of failing to monitor the men's program.
Spokesman Larry MacIntyre had no explanation for why it was made after university president Michael McRobbie promised to vigorously fight the charge in June.
Indiana has until Sept. 17 to file a response, which MacIntyre said has not happened yet. Sending a written response, rather than appearing in front of the infractions committee, could produce a conclusion before basketball season opens in November.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.