COLUMBIA, Mo. — Opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks want no part of Florida defensive end Jon Greenard when he’s in the zone. And Saturday, he was in the zone.
“Once I get in my zone, it doesn’t matter what they’re feeling,” Greenard said. “If they’re feeling good or feeling bad, I’m going to impose my will on them. I felt pretty healthy today. The ankle felt really good and I was in my zone. I just wanted to make some plays and I did.”
Yes, he did. In one of his most dominant performances this season, the senior transfer from Louisville was in the Missouri backfield all day, disrupting the Tigers’ offense with five tackles for losses and steady pressure on quarterback Kelly Bryant.
“I didn’t even know (I had five tackles for losses),” he said. “I thought I had less than that, but, hey, I’ll take it. It was a really good day at the office. This feels good to get this back up under me.”
Greenard has been coping with an ankle injury that kept him out of the South Carolina game. But, clearly, based on Saturday, he’s back to 100 percent, and back into the zone.
“I just want to be out there helping my teammates,” Greenard said after UF’s 23-6 win Saturday. “They did a great job being there to support me, also just filling in some plays. They’re doing their job, I’m doing my job. So, it just shows when we’re all one accord we can be a very dangerous defense.”
Juniga, Burney stay home
Two injured players — starting defensive end Jabari Zuniga and star/outside linebacker Amari Burney — did not make the trip to Columbia.
Zuniga continues to be sidelined by a high ankle sprain, while Burney is continuing to recover from a sprained knee. Mullen said earlier in the week he was hopeful both would be available, but they watched the game from home.
The good news is Juniga will be back for the FSU game in two weeks, and there’s a chance Burney also might return in time for the Seminoles, Mullen said after Saturday’s game.
“(The trainers) are hopeful Burney will be back for Florida State. We weren’t sure that would be close,” Mullen said. “And Zu should be fine for Florida State. That should be no question, coming off the x-ray. It was going to be on the edge kind of for these and you look at how he comes, but he should be full-go for Florida State practice week.
Zuniga has missed six games this season.
With Zuniga out Saturday, redshirt sophomore Zachary Carter started at defensive end.
The Gators lost another defensive lineman in the first half. Tackle Kyree Campbell appeared to injure his shoulder, but he returned in the second half.
Starting offensive guard Brett Heggie, who missed last week’s game with headaches, started at right guard Saturday, with redshirt freshman Richard Gouraige getting the start at left guard.
Wilson starts at star
Sophomore Marco Wilson made his first start at the star position in the secondary. He replaced Trey Dean at the position in last week’s game against Vanderbilt and now is splitting practice reps at star and cornerback, his normal position.
With Wilson moving closer to the line of scrimmage, true freshman Kaiir Elam started at cornerback Saturday. It was his third start.
Wilson said earlier in the week that’s he’s already comfortable at star. That showed Saturday. He had five tackles, including one for a loss, and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
“Marco, he loves football,” Greenard said. “Any time you’ve got a guy that loves football, he’ll be ready to go at any position. He’s an athlete, he’s got good hips, he can cover guys, now he’s coming up to hit. I always give him hell for it, but he likes to come up and hit now. So, it’s good. I love seeing him making plays, making plays at any position he plays. So hat’s off to Marco.”
This and that
The Missouri game is a long road trip for Florida fans, but there was plenty or Orange and Blue in the stands Saturday. UF sold only 900 tickets, but many more UF fans must have gone through the Mizzou ticket office because there appeared to be 2,500-3,000 Gator fans in attendance. … Pretty much as expected, the Gators basically had no running game Saturday. The two leading rushers in the first half were quarterback Emory Jones and wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who combined for 41 yards rushing. Running backs Lamical Perine and Dameon Pierce combined for just five yards on four carries. Throw in the four sacks and the Gators had only 29 yards rushing in the first half. The offensive front did a much better job protecting quarterback Kyle Trask in the second half, giving up no sacks. But the running game just wasn’t there, with the Gators finishing with just 56 yards rushing.