Another UF player - middle linebacker Antonio Morrison - out with injury
Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.
Florida’s depleting injury pattern for the season continues. Another week, another starter lost for the year.
The latest casualty is starting middle linebacker Antonio Morrison, who injured his knee in Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt and will require surgery.
“Antonio Morrison will be out for the season,” UF coach Will Muschamp said Monday. “He tore his meniscus. It’s a radial tear, the same thing (starting tailback) Matt Jones did. So, very disappointed for him.”
Morrison is the seventh starter (and second in two weeks) to go down with a season-ending injury, and the 10th overall. The other starters out for the year are quarterback Jeff Driskel, Jones, offensive tackle Chaz Green, offensive tackle Tyler Moore, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose.
“(All the injuries) are definitely discouraging,” quarterback Tyler Murphy said. “But we don’t look to use that as an excuse. It’s unfortunate that we’ve had so many guys go down, but it’s an opportunity for some of the other guys and the younger guys to step up and play.
“No other team is going to take it easy on us just because we have a few banged up guys. We’ve just got to be ready to go.”
Along with the seven starters, the other players out for the year are linebacker Jeremi Powell, safety Nick Washington and linebacker Matt Rolin.
Starting outside linebacker Michael Taylor will move to middle linebacker and start in Morrison’s place Saturday at South Carolina, Muschamp said. True freshman Jarrad Davis will make his first collegiate start at outside linebacker in Taylor’s spot.
“Darrin Kitchens and Neiron (Ball) in sub situations can play inside,” Muschamp said. “Neiron will play inside regardless and Darrin will play on the edge. (True freshman) Alex Anzalone keeps coming on doing a good job for us. He’ll get some snaps.”
Two other starters — Murphy and cornerback Marcus Roberson — also were injured in Saturday’s game and will miss some practice time this week. Murphy took some hits on his sore throwing shoulder, while Roberson sprained his ankle.
“Tyler Murphy has a sore shoulder and he probably will not practice today,” Muschamp said. “He should get out there by Wednesday. Marcus Roberson probably will miss practice today and tomorrow and should be back with an ankle on Wednesday.”
Murphy’s shoulder has been bothering him since he sprained it in the LSU game last month. He said he expects to be fine for Saturday’s game.
“It’s very difficult just because after these last few losses and not playing well on Saturday, I need all the practice I can get,” Murphy said. “It’s just frustrating being banged up a little bit and having to sit out and try to get healthy. I’m just going to live in the training room and get healthy and try to get back out there as soon as possible.
“Going into the practices, I’ve been fighting a little bit of pain, but nothing too crazy. But when I get to the game, adrenaline takes over and I’m usually good to go.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg will take more practice snaps in the interim.
Starting wide receiver Solomon Patton is fine after slightly injuring his knee in the Vanderbilt game and not returning, Muschamp said.
“He’ll practice today,” Muschamp said.
Yet another starter, left offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, who missed the last two games with a sprained knee, is doubtful for Saturday’s game at South Carolina.
Muschamp also said redshirt freshman linebacker Jeremi Powell, a starter on special teams, will have knee surgery this week. He tore his ACL in the loss to Missouri on Oct. 19.
Despite the injury to Morrison, which damages depth at linebacker, Muschamp said the situation at the linebacker positions is still solid.
“Mike moves into the Mike, which he’s more comfortable playing probably,” Muschamp said. “And Jarrad Davis is a guy that we’ve been very pleased with. He’s a younger player that’s going to be a very good player here. He’s played outstanding on special teams, and when he’s had his opportunities at linebacker, he’s played well. He’ll play well.
“Alex Anzalone is a young player coming along that we’re excited about. And Neiron Ball has played well for us and has done some nice things. Darrin Kitchens, when he’s been healthy, has played well for us.
“The key, to me, as much as anything, is keeping guys off the second level. That’s something we haven’t done consistently (with the defensive line).”
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