Notebook: Injuries keep depleting Gators’ depth on defense

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Florida defensive end Jonathan Greenard tackles Georgia running back D'Andre Swift (7) in the second half Saturday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. [Doug Engle/Staff photographer]
While Florida’s standout defensive linemen — Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga — made their returns to the field, the Gators were without reserve defensive lineman Marlon Dunlap as the game commenced.
Dunlap, who suffered an injury late in Florida’s 38-27 win at South Carolina, traveled to Jacksonville but ultimately couldn’t participate in UF’s 24-17 loss.
Unfortunately for Florida, the hits kept coming after kickoff.
Greenard and Zuniga seemed ailed by their previous ankle injuries, as both exited the field hobbled at multiple points. And redshirt junior defensive end Jeremiah Moon left the game and didn’t return to the field after suffering a lower left leg injury that initially required a walking boot.
Gators keep airing it out
While the Gators managed just 21 rushing yards on 19 attempts, the passing attack was a different story.
With Florida looking to rally, the ground game seemingly fell by the wayside.
“I don’t think we tried to call many run-game plays. And when we ran the ball, (Lamical) Perine had seven carries, 31 yards, right. (Dameon) Pierce, three for 13. 10 for 44 for the running backs,” Mullen said. “We just didn’t call many run plays.”
That allowed Kyle Trask an opportunity to keep Florida in the game, and he performed admirably considering the circumstances.
Against a Georgia passing defense ranked fourth in the SEC, Trask completed 21 of 33 passing attempts for 257 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Although it wasn’t enough to turn the tide, it furthered the notion that UF once again has a potent passing attack.
With Saturday’s result, the Gators have now passed for 250-plus yards in eight of nine games this season, marking the first time since 2007 that UF has recorded at least eight games of 250 passing yards or more. In all, the Mullen-led Gators have registered 11 games of 250 passing yards or more.
Pitts impresses once again
Upon arriving back in Gainesville, Mullen stated his intention to revitalize the tight end position at Florida.
If Kyle Pitts’ sophomore campaign is any indication, Mullen is living up to his word.
Pitts hauled in four passes for 78 yards, giving him his fifth game in a UF uniform of 60 receiving yards or more. That makes Pitts the third tight end since the 1996 season to reach the mark, joining Aaron Hernandez and Jordan Reed.
But UF spread the ball around
Pitts may have been targeted early, but Trask distributed the workload, too. The Gators now have four receivers with 300-plus receiving yards after Trevon Grimes’ 27-yard reception in the third quarter.
Not the only 300 club
With six tackles today, senior linebacker David Reese II exceeded 300 total tackles in his noteworthy UF career. And several other Gators had career days from a tackling standpoint, too; Jon Greenard, despite dealing with an ailing ankle, recorded a career-high nine tackles against the Dawgs, while freshman Mohamoud Diabate and junior Tedarrell Slaton set career-highs with four tackles and six tackles, respectively.
Despite the mark, Greenard said he wasn’t impressed with his individual play.
“There are things we can clean up as a whole defense, but I take pride in being a game changer. That’s the title I’m trying to get,” Greenard said. “I’ve got to do better. I didn’t do nothing today.”
Series setback
UF has now three consecutive losses to Georgia, which leads the all-time series 52-43-2.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I have a question maybe someone can answer. Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga are supposed to have high ankle sprains. Alabama quarterback high ankle sprain had surgery and is expected to be back soon and yet our guys can’t seem to get over theirs. Why ?