Gators notebook: Plenty of walking wounded at practice this week

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
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Florida coach Dan Mullen didn’t divulge details on the injury report, saying the list of banged-up Gators would “be too long for me to go through it all.” 

“We have a bunch of guys that are banged up, so we’ll have — I’m not going to get into injuries for this week,” Mullen said. “We have a bunch of guys that will be questionable.”

Regarding the status of redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson, who made his return to the field after sitting out UF’s previous two contests to rehab a hamstring injury, Mullen did say Richardson “was fine” after the redshirt freshman from Gainesville completed an eight-yard pass and rushed five times for 25 yards against the Wildcats. 

Injured Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller joins teammates in shaking hands with Kentucky team leaders after the coin toss to Saturday's game in Lexington.

Miller time in Lexington

Florida’s 70-man travel roster for the 20-13 loss at Kentucky included an interesting selection: redshirt senior linebacker Ventrell Miller, who remains out following surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon. 

Considering he wouldn’t see the field, Miller’s attendance raised questions when he arrived in Lexington with the travel contingent, seeing as UF could have brought a healthy linebacker in place of the unavailable Miller, in the event someone else in the rotation went down with an injury. 

However, in the eyes of Florida’s defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, the situation is not that black and white.

Grantham spent a decade coaching in the NFL prior to transitioning to coaching at the collegiate level, so he was previously accustomed to far more stringent restrictions when it comes to the amount of players a program can bring on the road. 

“Well, 70 – so, if you take half of that, that’s 35, right? So, when I was in pro football for 11 years, I think I got 21. So, that’s still more than I’ve ever used to playing with, to be honest with you. So, I’m used to 21 or 22 guys.”

Including Miller, the Gators brought 34 defensive players to Lexington, with many capable of playing multiple positions in UF’s defense. The latter point is why Grantham didn’t see any downside with bringing Miller. 

“That’s why we’ve always cross-trained guys because, like I said, you’re used to that 21 or 22 number,” he said. “So, now you’re talking 35; that’s quite a bit. 

But that doesn’t answer the question: why bring Miller? It’s because of the positive example he provides for his teammates, along with his ability to aid the five other linebackers in the rotation, said Grantham. 

“The other thing is I think that he has a lot of character. I think the players have a lot of respect for him and what he does, what he brings to the table,” Grantham said, “and he can be somewhat of a student-coach or a coach on the field from the standpoint of he can watch from the sidelines and specifically watch, say, a player or two, the guys inside, and maybe ‘This is how you need to play,’ or ‘This is what happened on a particular play,’ and he can kind of help us that way.”

Retro homecoming

Florida will wear throwback uniforms for Saturday’s battle with the Commodores, featuring a mix of items first worn in the 1960s. The Gators will wear an orange helmet with no stripe, a gray facemask and an interlocking “UF” symbol — a design first used by the 1969 Gators and coach Ray Graves. Florida will wear blue jerseys featuring an orange-and-white stripe over each shoulder, which were worn in the 1960s, including in 1966 when Steve Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy as Florida’s quarterback. Finally, UF’s pants will be white with an orange & blue insert stripe down each side. Saturday’s game marks the third-straight Homecoming where the Gators have worn this combination of jersey and pants. The Gators' uniform is available for purchase on and the Official Gator Sport Shop at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida-LSU an early kick

The Gators’ trip Oct. 16 to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on the LSU Tigers will kick off at 11 a.m. CT. The game will air either on ESPN or CBS; the network will be announced after this Saturday's league games. Florida lost to LSU, 37-34, last season in Gainesville as Tigers’ kicker Cade York hit a game-winning 57-yard field goal. LSU has won eight of the prior 11 games in the series.

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