GAINESVILLE — Florida's Sharrif Floyd watched from the sideline the first two games, unable to change his situation, unable to help his defense.
The sophomore defensive lineman sat out the season opener while under NCAA investigation, then missed another game after the governing body ruled he received $2,700 from an individual not associated with the university. He was ordered to sit two games and arrange to repay the money to charity. The decision devastated Floyd, who cried as coach Will Muschamp told him he couldn't play.
His return against SEC rival Tennessee on Saturday could be equally emotional.
"Getting Sharrif Floyd, that does a lot for our team," teammate Lerentee McCray said. "Just motivation, just bringing our brother along. It gives us a real big boost going into an SEC game."
UF failed to record a sack in last week's game against UAB, and Muschamp has repeatedly said he wants more pressure from his defensive ends.
Floyd played in every game last year and emerged from fall practice as one of the team's most versatile and disruptive defenders.
Volunteers coach Derek Dooley said the Gators "probably have the most talented defensive line in the country" with Floyd, McCray, Dominique Easley, Jaye Howard, Omar Hunter and Ronald Powell.
"We're going to have to block for these guys," Dooley said. "It doesn't matter how open you are, if you can't deliver the ball to them, it doesn't matter.''
UM: Harris returns
CORAL GABLES — Miami QB Jacory Harris said he "might shed a tear'' about his season debut against Ohio State after a one-game suspension.
"I'm so happy to be back on the field,'' he said. "I'm really, like, ready to run out of that tunnel and just run out with my team. They're the ones that have been by our sides throughout everything that's occurred these past couple of months. We just want to have a great game together."
Out for season: TE Blake Ayles will not play this season because of lingering effects of a head injury, the third time the USC transfer had a college season cut short by a medical issue.
FSU: Shaw shines
TALLAHASSEE — Since enrolling at Florida State last year, sophomore WR Kenny Shaw has been labeled the team's best route-runner. He shows precise cuts, angles and ability to get into the right soft spaces in coverage.
Ask the Orlando native how he became so good at running routes and he always brings up one name: Tom Shaw.
The two aren't related.
When he was in high school, Kenny Shaw attended Tom Shaw's speed and performance institute in Kissimmee. He originally learned the art of proper route-running there, he said. But beyond the fundamentals that he picked up there is something else that he believes has helped.
On Sundays, he goes into Doak Campbell Stadium to run through a set of routes, alone.
"I come out on my own time and basically, just visualize me coming in and out of my cuts with (QB) EJ Manuel," he said.
This and that: With WR Willie Haulstead missing his third straight game, and senior Bert Reed potentially missing his first of the season, Shaw's touches in practice have increased. "That's what good players do. They take the reps that other players can't," Shaw said. … Reed practiced Thursday but likely will be a gametime decision, coach Jimbo Fisher said. … Fisher said he has liked Bryan Stork's work at center this week and likely will keep him there. Jake Fahrenkrug moves to left guard.
Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel
UCF: A return home
ORLANDO — UCF backup LB Ray Shipman is looking forward to a return to the Miami area, where he attended high school, when the Knights play at FIU on Saturday. Shipman joined the Florida basketball team in 2008, then left for UCF to play football. "Very excited," he said when asked how he felt about showing off his football skills in Miami. "Get my opportunity to go out there and do whatever I can to help the team."
Shipman said he's committed to keep making up for lost time.
"I feel like … just improving, improving, improving, trying to be my best and be the best football player I can become," he said.
Iliana Limon, Orlando Sentinel