Gators notebook: Florida alters COVID-19 game plan for road game

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida players, including Jesiah Pierre (40), get off the team bus before Saturday's game against Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The last time the Florida Gators got on a plane for a road trip, they brought a COVID-19 outbreak back home with them.

 They’ll have a different game plan for this weekend’s trip to Nashville to play Vanderbilt.

 “We’ve put a bunch of different things in place,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. “We’re looking at different things.”

 The first changes will be on the plane ride to and from Nashville. Everyone will be required to wear masks throughout both flights.

 “Getting on a plane is getting on a plane,” Mullen said. “We've got to be really smart about how we do it. We're very defined on where everybody is seating on the plane. Making sure everybody has their mask on at all times on the plane.

 “Because some of the guys will fall asleep and take it off or one of those deals. Everyone has their mask on, make sure that is always happening in what we're doing on the plane.

 “I think they're going to limit any sort of food or drinks on the plane to try to limit that as much so that people don't even take their masks off.”

 Once at the stadium, the Gators are going to spend limited time in the visitor’s locker room, which is small and cramped.

 “We're going to change our routine on game day as it involves the locker room,” Mullen said. “I've been to Vanderbilt, so I know the visiting locker room situation. We're going to change our entire pregame routine to try to really limit the amount of time that we would ever spend in the locker room.”

Injury update

 As expected, star tight end Kyle Pitts will miss Saturday’s game while he still recovers from a concussion and a surgical procedure on his nose.

 Redshirt freshman wide receiver Trent Whittemore also is out after sustaining a broken rib and punctured lung in the win over Arkansas last Saturday.

 Starting linebacker James Houston is questionable with an unspecified injury.

 “We’ll see how the week progresses with him,” Mullen said. “That’s about it. Everybody else should be good to go at this time.”

SEC recognizes Trask, Carter

 Two Gators were honored by the SEC for their standout performances in the win over Arkansas last Saturday night.

 Quarterback Kyle Trask is the SEC co-offensive player of the week, while defensive end Zachary Carter is the defensive lineman of the week, the league announced Monday.

 Trask completed 23 of 29 passes for 356 yards and six touchdowns in the Gators’ 63-35 victory over the Razorbacks.

 Trask now has 28 TD passes on the season, giving him the SEC record for most TD passes through the first six games of a season. The old record of 27 was held by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

 Carter, a redshirt junior, was named defensive lineman of the week for the second time this season. He returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Razorbacks and also had three tackles and a sack.

Gamble gets it done

 Backup tight end Kemore Gamble did not have any receptions in the win over Arkansas, but he stood out in other ways. Mainly with his blocking on running plays and in pass protection.

 “It shows his maturity, his development and our guys’ understanding of the offense,” Mullen said. “It’s, ‘Hey, I’m in there to do my role, do my job to the best of my ability.’  If that’s making touchdown catches, make touchdown catches. If’ it’s to block, block.”

 Gamble did the blocking part Saturday night, while Keon Zipperer, the other backup tight end, did the touchdown-catching thing with two TD receptions.

 “We had 10 different guys have catches and (Gamble) didn’t have one, which is kind of shocking,” Mullen said. “He played more plays than Zip and Zip had the two touchdowns.

 “If you know us, that’s not on purpose. They were just rotating in, and as we rolled guys through, Zip’s series came up and he got the touchdown catches.”

 Mullen credits much of the development of Kemore and Zipperer to new tight ends coach Tim Brewster.

 “He’s done a really good job with those guys,” he said. “When you watch how they perform, you see what a good job he’s done in preparing the depth and quality of depth of everybody in that room.”

This and that

 The Nov. 28 game against Kentucky in The Swamp will be televised by ESPN and have a noon start, the SEC announced Monday. … Senior defensive end/outside linebacker Jeremiah Moon has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in January.