Redshirt freshman Alex Barron, expected to start Saturday in place of injured offensive tackle Brett Williams, fractured the fourth metacarpal in his right hand Wednesday.
Barron was injured when his hand got caught in a defensive player's face mask during a pass-rushing drill. He was evaluated after practice and is not expected to start against Florida.
"It's unbelievable," coach Bobby Bowden said. "We nearly got through all the year with our front five healthy. That was very important because the front five is one of the most solid parts of our football team."
Barron still might play with his hand in a cast.
The coaching staff will meet today to decide what player moves are needed. The likely scenario has junior Todd Williams moving to split tackle, where Barron was expected to play, and redshirt freshman Ray Willis starting at tight tackle.
Willis, at 6 feet 6, 288 pounds, has seen limited playing time in five games.
"(For) Saturday night, I've been preparing myself mentally and physically," Willis said. "This is why you come to Florida State. If you can't get prepared for something like this, you never will."
GARDNER RETURNS: Starting wide receiver Talman Gardner returned to practice after missing two days with post-concussion headaches and a sinus infection.
"At first, I was a little dizzy," Gardner said after practice. "I got into it, the headaches kept coming back. I just went through it, stayed in there. I got through the day. That's all I was trying to do was to get through the day and get some practice in."
Gardner leads the team with 11 touchdowns.
_ ALEX ABRAMS
Looking out for penalties
GAINESVILLE _ With Florida and Florida State traditionally two of the most penalized teams in their respective conferences, the game is likely to be a highly penalized affair. Maybe too much, UF coach Steve Spurrier said.
Last season, Florida had 14 to Florida State's six, and in 1999 the Gators were penalized 15 times to the Seminoles' nine.
"Hopefully, it will be game where both teams get five penalties, where we get five, where they get five," he said. "That way neither team's decide the outcome."
It will be an ACC officiating crew in Gainesville this weekend.
REALLY STARTING: Rex Grossman gets his first true start against Florida State. The sophomore technically started last year, but Spurrier took him out after the first play and he did not return until the fourth quarter.
"I was the lucky starter," Grossman said. "I'm not sure exactly what the reasoning was. I played the whole fourth quarter. We got close to scoring a couple of those times, but we didn't get it in."
INJURY REPORT: Spurrier said junior tailback Earnest Graham practicedand ran sprints with the rest of the team.
Graham didn't practice Monday, staying in the training room to ice the ankle he slightly sprained against South Carolina.
"He's fine. I think the trainers kept him in Monday night to irritate the coaches," Spurrier said.
Defensive end Bobby McCray should play, Spurrier said. McCray played against the Gamecocks but has been battling an ankle injury.
_ DEBI JONES