TAMPA — USF freshman Danous Estenor, who made his first career start at right tackle in Thursday's loss at Cincinnati, won't play in next week's game against Rutgers after undergoing knee surgery.
Coach Jim Leavitt would not call the injury season-ending, saying the major ligaments were not torn. Leavitt said linemen Marc Dile (toe) and Zach Hermann (foot) shouldn't have played Thursday, but fought through injuries as best they could. He's optimistic that running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor, out last week with ankle injuries, can return for Rutgers.
Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory, speaking for the first time since Thursday's loss, said crucial mistakes cost the Bulls in two fourth-quarter drives that ended inside the 10-yard line without any points.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," Gregory said. "We had six drops. We haven't had that many drops all year. … We've got to make a play. We have to find better schemes and we have to execute, bottom line."
The Bulls lead the Big East in yards and points per game, but Gregory said the offense understands it has underperformed in key situations.
"We're all disappointed. We have to keep working," Gregory said. "You'd better learn from it or you're not going anywhere. … I have great faith in the players."
UF: Tebow healthy
GAINESVILLE — Florida QB Tim Tebow said his sprained left ankle feels fine, and he doesn't expect it to hinder him Saturday at Vanderbilt.
Tebow, who was injured late in the third quarter against Georgia last week, acknowledged that he doesn't generally like to reveal — even to his coaches — when he's hurt, and to what extent.
"What's the need?" he said, half-joking. "You get bumps and bruises in games and everything, but you just go about your business and you just handle it. It's all just part of football."
After one of the toughest practices of the week, Tebow and several other players, including junior LB Brandon Spikes, said there is no chance the Gators will overlook Vandy with so much on the line. With a victory, Florida can clinch the SEC East.
"Everybody wants to get to the SEC championship and we're very focused on that," Tebow said.
FSU: Preparing for a pal
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State CB Tony Carter didn't need to watch highlights of Clemson's 27-21 victory against Boston College to get a feel for RB C.J. Spiller's talents.
Spiller, who gained 242 all-purpose yards, grew up in Lake Butler, about 50 miles southwest of Carter's hometown of Jacksonville. The two became relatively close when FSU recruited Spiller three years ago.
Carter said he looks forward to seeing his old friend Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, but he knows that getting a good hit on the elusive tailback will be a tall order.
"He's a game-changer," Carter said. "A guy with that speed and quickness and vision, you have to watch out for a guy like that. He's torched a lot of teams. He's had a few injuries that set him back, but he's back and he's a force."
UCF: Good turnout
ORLANDO — The announced 40,202 fans at Bright House Networks Stadium for the Knights' loss to East Carolina were the second-most for an ESPN Sunday night game. Connecticut at Rutgers on Oct. 29, 2006, drew 41,077.
Times staff writer Antonya English and correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel.