Cornerback Malcolm Tatum will be out six weeks with a hairline fracture in his back, team doctor Randy Oravetz said Wednesday.
Tatum, who had one sack against Brigham Young in the season opener, has been experiencing pain in his lower back since the season started. X-rays showed the sophomore's injury was not healing.
"It's been bothering him for a month," Oravetz said. "We were like, "It should be getting better now,' "
Tatum has two cracks in a bone just above his waist. This is the same injury freshman defensive back Bryant McFadden had in the Florida State preseason.
McFadden, a Parade All-American, expects to redshirt because of the injury.
INJURIES: Wide receiver Anquan Boldin and fullback William McCray were carted off the field after rolling their ankles during practice. But both were walking without crutches afterward.
_ ALEX ABRAMS
Staying the course
GAINESVILLE _ Coach Steve Spurrier said the Gators would not be changing the way they practiced because of Saturday's game at Tennessee.
"It's about like always, we always practice pretty well," Spurrier said. "We just have to take it from the practice field to the ball field. Coaches yell all the time. It doesn't matter if we are playing Middle Tennessee or Tennessee."
JORGENSEN TESTED: Center David Jorgensen, who took over the starting role after Zac Zedalis' knee surgery this summer, will face his biggest test Saturday.
"They have a good defensive line, an excellent defensive line," Spurrier said. "They play extremely well and are well-coached also. They rush the passer, and play bump-and-run a lot, and play off a bit. They get after you."
The Vols sacked their first opponent's quarterback nine times and allowed 71 rushing yards on 31 carries. Spurrier said Zedalis is expected to play, but Jorgensen will start.
INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Lito Sheppard, tailback Robert Gillespie and Zedalis practiced in full pads.
_ DEBI JONES
Practice, practice, practice
TAMPA _ USF coach Jim Leavitt has put a premium on good practice. After last week's loss to Kentucky he said some weaknesses were exposed that only practice can improve.
Leavitt said the team practiced well Monday and Tuesday and had a lighter practice Wednesday in pads and shorts, ending on a positive note.
Working on the two-minute drill, Marquel Blackwell drove the offense 80 yards, capped by a nice catch in the corner of the end zone by senior Scott McCready.
"I think (the practices) are more intense this week," Leavitt said. "I think what happened is (the players) realized how much they have to get better after what happened in Kentucky. They understand how good James Madison is. They know that they have to play real well to have a chance to win this game."
James Madison, which USF plays Saturday, is ranked No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA poll and beat the Bulls last season 13-3 by holding their offense to 148 yards.
_ ALEX LYNCH
Coach wants good
execution on offense
ORLANDO _ UCF practiced in full pads and coach Mike Kruczek said the team has to improve execution on offense.
"If this football team can hit on all cylinders, we could be tough to beat for anyone," Kruczek said. "If we don't, like we haven't in the first two games offensively, then we are in for a struggle. We have to be able to convert when the situations arise."
Kruczek pulled starting quarterback Vic Penn for part of the first half in Saturday's win over Northwestern State, but has said Penn still is the starter.
Kruczek said, however, he would not hesitate to use backup Ryan Schneider.
"If the offense struggles and it's because of Vic's inconsistency, I would (put Schneider in the game)," Kruczek said. "But there's no question, (Penn) is our guy."
INJURY REPORT: Starting defensive end Don Page had an MRI exam on his left shoulder but results were unknown. Page has had pain since the Northwestern State game, and is practicing in a non-contact jersey. He is questionable for Saturday's game at Akron.
_ DAVID MARSTERS
No rest on hiatus
CORAL GABLES _ Miami worked out for two hours. The Hurricanes, who have an open date Saturday before opening Big East Conference action Sept. 23 at West Virginia, were intense and physical throughout the first practice session of the week.
"Today we spent the majority of the practice trying to make ourselves a more efficient, disciplined, tougher, physical team," coach Butch Davis said.
INJURY REPORT: Offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rassouli and defensive back Maurice Sikes have returned after nursing injuries.
_ TIMES WIRES
Red-zone offense needed
TALLAHASSEE _ Florida A&M does not plan on needing to kick five field goals again when it takes on South Carolina State in Jacksonville in the Orange Blossom-Palmetto Classic on Saturday. The Rattlers' inconsistent play inside the 20-yard line cost FAMU several touchdowns in last week's 56-25 win over Morgan State.
"We thought we had some problems in the red zone this past weekend, so we primarily worked on (that) today," coach Billy Joe said. "We almost dedicated the whole practice to that. Playing against a tough team, we need to convert those field goals into touchdowns."
Quarterback Quinn Gray, who had a career high of 390 passing yards last week, said the team should have a better percentage inside the 20 against the Bulldogs.
"Whenever you have a chance to work on something, you're going to get a little bit better, but we'll have to see when Saturday comes," Gray said.
_ JABARI RITCHIE