UF players will return for UT


Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel throws an incomplete pass to tight end Clay Burton (88) against Miami during the second half at Sun Life Stadium.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.

Thanks to the open date this week, the Florida Gators could be back close to full strength for next week’s SEC opener against Tennessee.

UF coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that most of his injured players should be ready to go for the UT game, including quarterback Jeff Driskel, who sprained his knee in the Miami loss and has been on crutches this week.

“He’ll be fine for Tennessee,” Muschamp said on the SEC coaches’ teleconference. “It’s precautionary. We’re trying to get him off his knee a little bit. We have a long season ahead of us.”

The other players injured in the Miami game — safety Marcus Maye (shoulder), cornerback Marcus Roberson (sprained knee), Buck linebacker/defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (hip contusion) and offensive tackles D.J. Humphries (sprained knee) and Tyler Moore (sprained ankle) — all are expected to return next week, Muschamp said.

“Tyler Moore would not play this week if we had a game,” Muschamp said. “He probably should be fine for next week.”

Starting guard Jon Halapio, who missed the first two games with a partially torn pectoral muscle, also is on schedule to play against Tennessee.

“He’s back with some contact (Wednesday) for the first time,” Muschamp said.

One player who will not play again this season is true freshman safety Nick Washington, who injured his shoulder in practice Monday and will undergo surgery next week.

“He had a previous injury in high school,” Muschamp said. “We’re going to have to have surgery on Monday, so he’ll be done for the season.

“He was reaching in for a ball in a non-contact injury. It’s unfortunate that happened. He was really progressing well at defensive back and on special teams.”

Muschamp said that true freshman offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, who has been out since preseason camp with a knee injury, will return to contact work Monday. Johnson, however, likely will redshirt this season, Muschamp said.

“With as much time that he’s missed and now we’re two weeks into the season, he’d be hard-pressed (to play this season),” Muschamp said. “We have enough depth where we are, even though we had to reshuffle some things (on the offensive line) and will continue to do so based on our situation in the coming weeks.

“Right now, he’d be a redshirt guy.”

As for the 21-16 loss to Miami, Muschamp said the Gators have spent time this week correcting the mistakes, including five turnovers.

“Ball security. Take care of the football,” Muschamp said. “Score in the red zone and end every possession with a kick. If you do that, you win the game. We just need to take care of the football. We need to start the game better defensively. We could have played much better (defensively early in the game).

“We had our opportunities in the game. Give (Miami) credit. They took advantage of our mistakes.”

Of the five turnovers, three were committed by Driskel, who threw two interceptions in the red zone and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter that set up UM’s clinching touchdown.

Muschamp said Driskel’s second interception, on a third-down play in the fourth quarter, was not his fault. The intended receiver, Trey Burton, ran an incorrect route, Muschamp said.

“On the third-down situation, we get the wrong route run,” Muschamp said. “When you’re anticipating a route to break a certain way and it doesn’t break that way, it’s hard on the quarterback.”

Muschamp said Driskel’s first interception occurred because he tried to force a pass into coverage.

“Other than (the two interceptions), we threw the ball pretty well,” Muschamp said.

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