Notebook: UF has mixed news on injury front


Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 10:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 10:22 p.m.

No. 2-ranked Florida (6-0, 4-0 SEC) will have key components of its rushing defense hobbled Saturday against Mississippi State (3-4, 1-2 SEC).

Coach Urban Meyer said Thursday that senior linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin) is "50-50" for the weekend, while defensive linemen Lawrence Marsh (ankle) and Jaye Howard (knee) are "doubtful." Junior defensive lineman Justrin Trattou (biceps) is out.

The Gators will face the 10th-best running back in the country in MSU's Anthony Dixon (116 yards per game).

With MSU's rushing attack, Meyer said he'd like to stay balanced on defense, but if he turns to his pass-defending "Joker" package, linemen Duke Lemmens and Omar Hunter could fill in for Trattou at nose guard.

Marsh's injury has been the only long term one. He's battled his high ankle sprain the entire season. Meyer said Thursday that Marsh's injury could we worse than originally thought.

"There is a little more damage to the ankle, but he should be back," Meyer said after practice. "Were hoping next week."

To cope with his tattered line, Meyer said he could use senior Troy Epps and redshirt junior Brandon Antwine up front with junior Terron Sanders.

"Our guys have adapted well and just gotta go," he said.

The Gators received some good news as well Thursday. Meyer said senior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (groin) will play against the Bulldogs (3-4, 1-2 SEC).

In other injury news, redshirt freshman wide receiver T.J. Lawrence will be out for a couple weeks after having his knee scoped. Meyer said Lawrence has meniscus damage.

With Lawrence out, Meyer said it's giving fellow freshman Frankie Hammond Jr. a chance to make a few more plays in practice in hopes of getting more playing time.

"Hes nudging his way in there," he said.

Reed moving around

Freshman quarterback Jordan Reed has been working out before games at tight end and Thursday Meyer said he's "experimenting" with using the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Reed there in the future.

"Hes a very good athlete," Meyer said. "We gotta find a way to get him on the field some day. Hes got pretty good hands and can run."

Rivals.com rated Reed as the 10th-best dual threat quarterback coming out of high school in 2008.

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