Updated — UF center McCoy out injured for final two games

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Florida Gators T.J. McCoy (59) lines up with the rest of the offense against Texas A&M. McCoy will miss the final two games due to injury. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

 

[Updated, 11-13-17, 1:41 p.m.] Injuries continue to take a toll on this struggling Florida football team.

The total number of starters that are out for the season has risen to eight with the loss of sophomore center T.J. McCoy, who injured his lower left leg in the loss to South Carolina this past Saturday.

“He’s probably going to be out for the whole season,” interim head coach Randy Shannon said Monday.

The Gators also could be without starting quarterback Malik Zaire for Saturday’s game against UAB. Zaire injured his left knee in the South Carolina game and there is no timetable for his return.

“Malik is day-to-day,” Shannon said. “It depends on how he’s feeling each day.”

With Zaire’s status uncertain, redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks returns as the starter. This is the fifth quarterback change the Gators have gone through this season.

“You have to go with Franks right now because you don’t know (about Zaire),” Shannon said. “I can’t predict the future. It’s just day-to-day. Whenever we feel like Malik is ready, he’ll be ready. If not, Feleipe is going to be the guy. Right at this point in time, if we played a game, Feleipe would be the guy. That’s what we have to go with today.”

With the uncertainty surrounding Zaire, the Gators have been giving slot wide receiver Dre Massey reps at quarterback in practice. He is a former high school quarterback.

If Zaire is out, the Gators would be down to one scholarship quarterback — Franks. The back-up would be walk-on Nick Sproles and Massey would be the emergency No. 3 QB. Florida’s other two scholarship quarterbacks — redshirt freshman Kyle Trask (foot) and true freshman Jake Allen (back) — remain out with injuries.

“We have to develop somebody else,” Shannon said. “The last two to three weeks Dre Massey has taken snaps at quarterback. He was a quarterback in high school. We just have to water down a little bit what we’re trying to get done on offense.

“He can execute things, though, so we’re excited. Not excited, but we’re happy that we have been working on Dre Massey playing some quarterback.”

True freshman slot receiver Kadarius Toney has run some plays from the wildcat quarterback position this season, but he’s been hampered by a shoulder injury and has not been getting any reps at quarterback in recent weeks.

“Dre Massey has taken more reps at quarterback than Kadarius,” Shannon said. “Kadarius has been out a couple of weeks. So, you can’t just throw somebody back in there. The guy that’s got the most reps at that point in time, that’s the guy you have to go with.”

With McCoy out, the guy who will be snapping the ball to the quarterbacks the rest of the season will be junior Tyler Jordan, who has played center, guard and tackle during his UF career.

McCoy is the second offensive line starter lost for the season, joining left guard Brett Heggie, who injured his knee in the loss to Missouri two weeks ago. McCoy is the fourth overall offensive starter lost for the year. The others are quarterback Luke Del Rio and running back Malik Davis.

The defense has also lost four starters for the season — end Jordan Sherit, safety Nick Washington, safety Marcell Harris and linebacker Kylan Johnson. A fifth starter, end Jachai Polite, has missed the past two games with an injured shoulder and there is no timetable for his return.

McCoy’s injury further depletes an offensive line that is running out of healthy options behind the starters.

“Well, you just have to move guys around a little bit,” Shannon said. “It’s like the NFL. With the NFL, you usually travel with maybe seven offensive linemen and you’ve got to make one guy have to play guard and center. The other guy has to play tackle. That’ll be your seven.

“Tyler Jordan will be the center, so (Antonio) Riles will have to step up (at guard) with Fred (Johnson) and (Kavaris) Harkless and then you’ve got the other two guys (tackles Martez Ivey and Jawaan Taylor) being the same. You have Stone Forsythe that’ll be the backup at left and right tackle. So we’ve got bodies. We’ve got guys. We just have to coach them up now.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

 

25 COMMENTS

  1. It just keeps getting worse for the Gators. If it keeps up we won’t have enough players to field a team. In all my years of watching college football, I’ve never seen this many injuries on one team. Unbelievable. I’ve said it before, but if I was a recruit and wanted to play early I would be looking at Florida as a place to go. A lot of holes to fill next year.
    As for the 9 players suspended, I think the freshmen deserve another chance. As far as Calloway, he should be removed from the team now. He is the player that doesn’t learn, he just stays in trouble to much.
    As for our next coach, please take your time and pick the best one suited to be the next Head Football Coach. I don’t think Chip Kelly is right for the job. There is a reason he’s not coaching. I don’t know who is, but the right man is out there. Find him.

  2. What are we down to, 50 players? This is just bonkers. Multiple QBs transferring out and being VERY successful elsewhere (winning a Heisman, multiple starting in NFL teams, another currently threatening records at a different school). The hellacious record of injuries for several years now. Plays that ruin games that you just can’t make up. The interception fumbled in front of the endzone last game (it HAD to be AS he is going into the endzone, not earlier, not later). The Westbrook dropped pass returned for a TD against FSU (he HAD to be standing in the endzone again). So much that has gone just mind blowingly wrong over the last few years. It’s preposterous. Yes, we’ve had moments such as the Tennessee nonHail Mary play this year but nothing that could be construed as progress — ever.

    It is time to admit the problem and do something about it. This program is cursed. Someone put a hex on the program (I personally think it was after the UF vs FSU game in 2012). Striklin needs to hire a professional curse breaker.

  3. 8 years of boring and sometimes futile games! The Gators are an unimpressive 54-40 ever since Tim Tebow graduated (a 57% winning percentage). We have more injuries than any other team (at least it seems that way) and now the nonsense this year with 9 players committing a felony theft. Good grief!

    It’s time for a “name” coach with a pedigree to be hired. And with all due respect to Ricky above, I’d love to have Chip Kelly as HBC! Kelly was 46-7 at Oregon (an 87% winning percentage) and the Ducks played in 4 major bowl games including the NC.

    Come on down Chip and resurrect our football program please!

    • Naples Gator you are right on!!! Chip Kelly is the best choice if we are ever going to compete against ol Bama and Satan. We don’t need to fool around with any more unproven coaches. If you want to take a chance at another 3 – 5 years of B.S. then hire a guy who’s winning in a softer division. Kelly will bring the offense that we need to compete right away. Anyone is crazy to think a great coach will leave a winning program to come to a complete rebuild. If you don’t think so then tell me when was the last time we were considered the worst football team in the state of FLORIDA? Trust me this time next year we will all be much happier! Go Gators!

      • I think they’re better off with Frost than Kelly. You’re getting the same offense but with a much younger, hungrier guy wanting to prove himself. Don’t know what else he needs to prove when he already has the top scoring offense in all of college football with inferior talent to every other team around them in the rankings. With Kelly, yes you’re getting a guy that proved he could win 5 years ago, but also a coach who has one foot out the door and doesn’t seem too motivated to get back into the recruiting grind. If you want a high powered offense and some longterm stability then Frost is your guy. If you want a high powered offense but want to worry about the coach leaving every offseason then Kelly is your guy.

  4. This is worse than 2013 on the injury front.

    But hey, “water down” the offense for Massey just in case? Well, we have the best OC for watering down an offense in Nussmeier. If we don’t replace him as OC for fsu, the nolies are going to clean our clocks. We have zero chance with Nuss running rhe offense.

    Back to the injuries… Dillman under Muschamp and Kent under Mac hace lroduced injury-prone teams. Mass injuries seemingly ever year. There are quality preventative measures by S&C staffs to help avoid a lot of these injuries.

    Cant believe I cant wait for a Gator football season to be over.

  5. It would interesting to see a comparison of injuries to SEC teams’ starters for maybe the last 5 years to see if the Gators are more injury-prone than the other teams. How do College teams’ number of lost starters compare to the NFL teams that have fewer players and a longer season? Also maybe study the off-season and in-season training practices of NFL teams that carry only 53 players plus about 7 on their practice squads.

  6. I think Frost is proven bringing Central Florida from a team with no wins to no losses in two years? He was OC at Oregan when Chip Kelly was head coach. He is leading the nation in offense this year and he is young enough to be with the Gators for years He is definitely the right choice