Gators notebook: UF takes a hit on injury front
Florida sophomore offensive lineman Ethan White, who was slated to start Saturday's opener at either center or guard, will miss the Ole Miss game after undergoing minor knee surgery, Florida coach Dan Mullen said Monday.
"We expect him back shortly, though," Mullen said.
White is the most notable player on a relatively short injury list.
True freshman defensive back Fenley Graham has a broken arm and will miss Saturday's game, along with two other true freshmen — defensive tackle Lamar Goods and cornerback Ethan Pouncey. Goods has a strained foot, while Pouncey is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery.
White was having a strong preseason camp and was running with the No. 1 offense, alternating at center and guard. With White out, senior guard Brett Heggie will start Saturday's game at center.
Depth chart stuff
UF released its depth chart for Saturday's game and there were two notable surprises on it: senior C.J. McWilliams is listed as the starter at nickel/star, while defensive end Zachary Carter is listed as the starter at defensive tackle, where senior Kyree Campbell was the presumed starter.
Campbell is not even listed on the two-deep depth chart, although his name is on the roster that was also released by UF on Monday.
There have been rumors that Campbell may be considering opting out this season, but it hasn't happened yet.
When Mullen was asked if any of his players have opted out, he said, "Nope ... but it's only Monday."
Losers and gainers on the depth chart: White has lost 35 pounds and is down to 335, while offensive tackle Michael Tarquin has gained 33 pounds (up to 312), offensive lineman Kingsley Eguakun has gained 28 and Carter has added 27 (up to 290).
One more other depth chart note: senior walk-on Jacob Finn is listed as the starting punter.
Assistant coach not positive
There was a report last week that one of Mullen's assistants had tested positive for COVID-19. It turned out not to be so, Mullen said.
"That was a false positive," he said. "We did have a coach test positive and we found out, the next three days he tested negative and it was a false positive from the lab."
Getting a feel for silence
Mullen said he has talked to several college and NFL coaches about what it's been like playing games before small crowds or even with no fans at all.
"One, we are going to have people in the stands," Mullen said. "The difference when there are people in the stands to when there aren't people in the stands and how different that is and the different feeling of everything.
"It's going to be very different than what you're used to. So, we've talked about that and kind of prepared our guys for that."
One fast QB
Former Florida commitment Matt Corral is expected to start at quarterback for the Rebels on Saturday, but the Gators also are expected to get a heavy dose of last year's starter, dual-threat John Rhys Plumlee.
Plumlee is a dynamic runner — and a very fast one.
Mullen knows all about that, having recruited Plumlee when he was the head coach at Mississippi State.
"He is an explosively fast player," Mullen said. " When he first came up, we were looking at him as a corner. He wasn’t a starting quarterback, but he was playing DB and he can fly. I mean, he has elite, elite, elite speed and is a game-breaker. He can break a game open at any time. I don’t know that we have anybody as fast he is."