Notebook: UF injury list grows


Florida Gators defensive back Josh Eavas is treated after being hurt against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Dudley Field on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. Florida defeated Vanderbilt 31-17. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Florida played Saturday night's game without two starting linemen, one on offense and one on defense.

UF confirmed before the game that offensive guard James Wilson and defensive end Dominique Easley would not be playing against Vanderbilt due to injuries sustained sometime during practice earlier in the week.

Easley sprained his knee in the Tennessee game and missed the Kentucky game, but returned for last Saturday's victory over LSU. Easley underwent ACL surgery in December and injured the same knee against UT.

A source told The Sun that Easley injured a knee during practice earlier in the week.

Wilson, a sixth-year senior, has a history of injuries, the most serious being to his knees. He started the first five games of the season and, according to the coaches, was playing the best football of his career.

Easley made the trip to Nashville, but did not dress for the game. Wilson remained back home in Gainesville.

Wilson, who coach Will Muschamp said suffered an eye injury in practice earlier in the week, was replaced in the starting lineup at left guard by redshirt sophomore Ian Silberman, who made his first career start.

True freshman Jonathan Bullard started at end in place of Easley. Bullard also started the Kentucky game two weeks ago.

Starting outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who injured his hamstring in last week's LSU game, made the trip and dressed out, but did not start the game. His place in the starting lineup was taken by true freshman Antonio Morrison.

Jenkins did not play in the game.

Two other starters — tight end Jordan Reed and center Jon Harrison — sustained injuries in the first half and did not return. Harrison was wearing a heavy wrap on his right arm. Reed left the game after taking a blow to the head early in the game, but returned in the second half.

Receiver Latroy Pittman appeared to suffer a knee injury late in the first half.

Too many men on the field

The Gators blew a chance to score a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half when they came out of a timeout and lined up with 13 players on offense. UF was inside the 1-yard line when the five-yard penalty was assessed.

Following two straight incompletions, the Gators had to settle for a 23-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal and an 11-7 halftime lead.

Despite a slow start in the game, the UF offense managed to roll up 221 total yards in the half, 144 on the ground, led by quarterback Jeff Driskel's 92 yards on seven carries.

The Florida defense shut down Vandy's running game in the half, limiting tailback Zac Stacy to 25 yards on nine carries. The Commodores had 94 yards at the half.

Gunner goes off too soon

Sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy is one of UF's starring gunners on the punt cover team and has done an excellent job getting near the returner at the time the ball arrives. But he was too fast down the field in the first quarter.

He drilled returner Jordan Matthews just as he fielded a Kyle Christy punt. Purifoy came off the field pumped up, but two flags were thrown behind him for interference on Matthews. The 15-yard penalty gave Vanderbilt excellent field position and led to the game's first score.

Only minutes after being called for the penalty, Purifoy was beaten deep by Vandy wide receiver Chris Boyd for a 37-yard pass play to the UF 14.

Two plays later, Jordan Rodgers threw a 10-yard TD pass to Matthews to give the Commodores a 7-0 lead.

Gator fans like Nashville

Saturday night's game was the first Vanderbilt home sellout since the 2008 Florida game, and once again, Gator fans played a role in all tickets being sold. The announced attendance was 40,350.

UF sold its allotment of 4,500. Based on the number of fans in the stands wearing orange and blue, Gator fans bought a lot more than just the 4,500 given to UF.

At the east stand of Vanderbilt Stadium, Gators fans appeared to take up more than half the seats. There were also numerous UF fans in the south end zone and even some sprinkled in the west stand.

So, it was a Vandy sellout, but the Gators were well represented.

This, that and the other

Saturday night's game ball entered Vanderbilt Stadium from the air. At about 10 minutes before kickoff, the ball was delivered by an Army paratrooper from Fort Bragg, N.C. Despite a steady breeze from the south, the paratrooper with the game ball landed near the 25-yard line next to the Vanderbilt sideline. … UF's captains Saturday night were safety Matt Elam, tailback Mike Gillislee, Buck linebacker/defensive end Lerentee McCray and Harrison. … There are 13 players on the Vanderbilt roster from the state of Florida. The only states more represented are Georgia and Tennessee, with 19 each. … True freshman tight end Kent Taylor made his first appearance for the Gators since the opener. He caught a first-quarter pass from Driskel for no gain. Another true freshman, wide receiver Raphael Andrades, also caught a pass in the first quarter. His reception was for five yards.

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