GAINESVILLE — Florida RB Jeff Demps removed his protective boot Wednesday, but he is still limited in practice.
Coach Urban Meyer said Demps (sprained left foot) will probably play Saturday at No. 1 Alabama, assuming the tailback practices at full speed by Friday.
Demps was injured Sept. 18 against Tennessee, when a UF offensive lineman stepped on him. The junior was a centerpiece in the first three games for No. 7 UF but looked less explosive last week against Kentucky.
"He is just one outstanding player," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He's a good runner and has great speed at the perimeter, probably the likes of which we have not seen. But I think (Florida's) entire team does, and they have some other backs that are capable guys as well."
SWITCHING SIDES: Xavier Nixon has played left tackle since he first suited up in ninth grade. But coaches told him late last week that he would switch to the right side.
"It wasn't really a hard transition," Nixon said. "I've never played right tackle before, so all the calls, (I'm) just switching them to the other side."
Marcus Gilbert has taken over Nixon's old spot.
RAINEY STILL OUT: Meyer said WR Chris Rainey won't play this week, though the junior accepted a deferred prosecution agreement Monday that reduced his third-degree felony stalking charge to a misdemeanor in a case involving an on-off girlfriend. Meyer has not decided if the reduction will increase Rainey's chances of returning.
"At the appropriate time, I'll sit down with him and have that discussion," Meyer said. "But that's certainly not now."
Tyler Jett, Times correspondent
USF: Punter hurting
TAMPA — P Justin Brockhaus-Kann, who has USF ranked third nationally in net punting after three games, has missed two practices with back spasms, leaving his status for Saturday's home game against Florida Atlantic uncertain.
"We're just going to turn and wait to see how he responds to treatment," said coach Skip Holtz, who has had steady praise for Brockhaus-Kann since the preseason. "A lot of that's going to have to be decided in the next 48 hours."
If Brockhaus-Kann can't go, Holtz said he's considering using freshman Chris Veron of Ocala. Veron was headed for a redshirt but would be another strong, if unproven, leg and could help with kickoff duties.
Holtz said he hasn't decided between senior Eric Schwartz and sophomore Maikon Bonani on field goals and extra points Saturday.
FOUR OWLS OUT: The South Florida Sun Sentinel and FAUOwlaccess.com reported that four players on the FAU defense — CB Tavious Polo, DE Daniel Joseph, DB David Terrell and S Demetrius Williamson — were suspended for the USF game. The players were involved in the promotion of an offcampus party after last week's loss, according to FAUOwlaccess.com.
BULL BITS: Holtz said he plans to use WR Lindsey Lamar on kickoff returns. Lamar had 87 yards on three returns against Florida. … Senior LB Sabbath Joseph is one of seven Bulls who played in the last game against FAU, a 35-23 win in Boca Raton in 2007. "Just like three years ago, we got their best, and I'm pretty sure we're going to get their best again Saturday," he said.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
FSU: Possible OL flip
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's offensive line could have a new look Saturday at Virginia. Junior OT Zebrie Sanders, who has started on the right since his freshman season, could move to the left to protect QB Christian Ponder's backside. Regular starting LT Andrew Datko has missed two games with a shoulder injury. Sanders has practiced this week at left tackle, where he played in high school. Though the two positions share similarities, there are plenty of differences, too, Sanders said. Coach Jimbo Fisher said if Sanders moves, either Henry Orelus or Garrett Faircloth could start at right tackle.
UM: Freshman flying
CORAL GABLES — Miami RT Seantrel Henderson, one of the nation's top prospects and a USC transfer, worked with the starters in Tuesday's practice, usually an indication a player will start. Coach Randy Shannon said not to make too much of it. He wouldn't say how much Henderson, a true freshman, will play Saturday at Clemson. "He played well for his eight plays" against Pittsburgh, Shannon said.
South Florida Sun Sentinel
UCF: Defense stout
ORLANDO — UCF's defense heads into its bye week ranked No. 9 nationally in pass efficiency (96.4), No. 12 in passing (average 147 yards allowed per game), No. 14 in total defense (264.3 yards allowed), No. 22 in scoring (15.5 points allowed) and are tied for 39th in rushing (117.3 yards allowed). UCF leads Conference USA in passing, scoring, passing efficiency and total defense. … UCF is 6-1 against its next opponent, UAB.