Gator notebook: UF reports six new COVID-19 positives

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
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The University of Florida Athletic Association has spaced out the seating for fans in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to comply with social distancing protocols for all home games this season. The Gators return to The Swamp on Saturday vs. Missouri.

The Florida football program had six more positive tests for COVID-19 last week, bringing the team’s total to 37 for the month of October, the school announced Tuesday.

 Since the return to campus on May 26, the Gators have had 68 positive tests for the virus.

 The Gators have had 44 athletes across all sports test positive this month. That includes six non-football players in the past week.

UF returned to practice and meetings Monday following a two-week hiatus because of the virus outbreak.

Trask up to Task

Last year’s Kentucky game wasn't the first time Kyle Trask came off the Florida bench to produce at quarterback for the Gators. He did it the year before against Missouri.

 After starting quarterback Feleipe Franks was benched in the second half of that 2018 homecoming loss to Missouri, Trask came off the bench cold and instantly sparked the offense, completing 10 of 18 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.

  “The biggest thing is it highlighted just how well he prepares,” offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “You knew you could call whatever in the game plan and he would be able to execute it. And you know, he’s practiced well.

 “Trask, because we’ve seen him so much in practice, there was never really any doubt in terms of how he would do when he got out there on the field. He’s an extremely intelligent guy. He works really hard. He’s a really good football player.”

 That preparedness — and that performance against the Tigers — put Trask in position to take over as the starting quarterback, which he was in the process of doing before fracturing his foot in practice the following week just days before the South Carolina game.

 During his career, whenever he’s been called on, he’s been ready to take over and lead the offense. 

“Just his preparation,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “He constantly prepares so he is ready to go when he gets his opportunity to get on the field. He’s done that throughout his whole career, so that when you put him out there, he’s been prepared for his opportunity and we expect the same.

 “He prepared when he wasn’t a starter to be ready to go to get on the field. When he got his opportunities he showed that he was ready to go do that.”

 Mullen said nothing has changed since Trask took over as the starter at Kentucky last season. He’s ready. Always ready. Mullen has used Trask’s approach to every practice, every game, as an example to the other players.

 “When he became the starter, he did a great job of preparing for each game  so that when Saturday comes he’s ready to go play at an extremely high level and give everything that he has on the field,” Mullen said. “We talk about that, that we can control our effort and our preparation and we can control our attitude, all the little things we can control. He does a great job of controlling what he can control so he’s prepared to go play Saturday.”

Youngblood Mr. Two Bits

 Former All-American defensive lineman Jack Youngblood, the first Gator voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the honorary Mr. Two Bits for Saturday’s homecoming game against Missouri.

 Youngblood will take a virtual turn at performing the now legendary pregame cheer in The Swamp.

Thinned-out Tigers

 The Tigers are down to 64 scholarship players for Saturday's game, 21 below the NCAA limit. The low number is the result of injuries, opt-outs and transfers.

 Taking a page out of Mullen’s playbook, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz is not revealing any injury information this week for Saturday’s game.

 “We’ll just play that game, too,” he said Tuesday.

Top commitment

Florida’s 2021 class picked up its first commitment in the last 10 weeks when highly recruited weak side defensive end/linebacker Jeremiah Williams pledged to the program Monday. 

Ranked the No. 4 weakside defensive end prospect in the 2021 class by 247Sports, Williams announced his decision on his Twitter account. 

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Williams, a Birmingham, Ala., native, also has scholarship offers from Alabama and Auburn, in addition to Clemson. 

The Gators now hold commitments from 25 prospects, in addition to Clemson transfer running back Demarkcus Bowman, the No. 1-ranked running back in the 2020 class. 

Correspondent Graham Hall contributed to this report.

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