Notebook: Gators close to full strength for first time this season

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Florida linebacker Jonathan Greenard (58) riles up the crowd last Saturday during the game against Auburn at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

 Starting Florida defensive ends Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga have practiced without incident this week and are on schedule to play in Saturday’s game against Georgia, UF coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday.

 “They’ve been out there practicing. It’s pretty good to have them out there,” Mullen said on the SEC coaches’ teleconference. “We limited a little bit of reps on Monday and put up more (Tuesday). They’ve progressed very nicely. We expect them to be ready to go play.”

 Greenard and Zuniga have both been out with a high ankle sprains. Zuniga missed the last five games, while Greenard sat out the last two.

 Slot wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who missed the last six games with an injured shoulder, returned to practice last week and also is expected to play in Saturday’s game.

 “KT looks good,” senior wide receiver Van Jefferson said. “(Tuesday) he was going crazy out there. It’s like he never left. It’s been great to have him back. I think he is going to be a real big factor in the game on Saturday. I love having him on the other side of me because he is a mismatch for anybody that is guarding him.”

 With the return of Toney, Greenard and Zuniga, the Gators are the closest to being at full strength for the first time this season.

 “I’d love to see what type of team we can be with our full complement of players,” Mullen said.

‘Dogs healthy up front

 With the help of a bye week last week, the Bulldogs have returned to full health on the offensive line, which is one of the team’s strengths. 

Coach Kirby Smart had high praise for the Florida defensive front his offensive linemen will be facing Saturday.

 “They’re excited for the opportunity to play against what is an elite front — quickness, speed, pass rush, high-motor guys, a lot of twitch guys,” Smart said. “So, they’re going to have to rise to the occasion because they’re going to have to go against one of the most productive fronts in the country.” 

CBs healthy this time

 The Gators played Georgia last year without starting cornerbacks Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson. Wilson injured his knee in the second game and missed the season, while Henderson went down in warmups before last year’s game.

 Wilson and Henderson are good to go this time.

 “Just going to be great corner play out there,” Wilson said. “With both of us out there, it’s going to be a great opportunity to challenge their wide receivers.”

 The Gators were not much of a challenge in last year’s game without Wilson and Henderson. UGA quarterback Jake Fromm threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 36-17 win.

 “That was hard,” Henderson said. “That was a bad day for me. Bad luck, I guess. I hope this game goes better. We’re preparing well.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. I hope no player has a career nor season ending injury, however, I would not mind seeing Fromm have to take a locker room nap before the start of the second quarter. More than that, it’d be just freakin’ epic to send the leg humping butt sniffing turd eaters home with their heads down and tails tucked. I am picking the Gators by 10, hoping that I am correct in my prognostication that the Gators will start peaking Saturday, and will, unlike against LSU, maintain their gaps, keep containment on the run, and take the ball away at least once while not turning it over. I would like to see us at least try returning some punts and kick-offs. Other concern, not that I’m an expert, is Trey Dean in his position, and our tendency to give up 3rd and forever.

  2. Big game no doubt. Win and you control the east. Lose you you are out of the race ( almost). We need everybody back, but also playing at a high level. I am still somewhat concerned about the defense and giving up big plays especially on third down. Go Gators!