Florida Gators bounce back with 52-17 rout of Eastern Washington in rare Sunday game

Florida football: LB Ventrell Miller listed as questionable, Desmond Watson to start at NT

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
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Florida football listed linebacker Ventrell Miller (lower body injury) as questionable for Saturday's matchup at No. 12 Tennessee.

Florida coach Billy Napier said Miller went through some reps on Wednesday in practice and will be a game-time decision.

 "It's a really subjective injury," Napier said. "This will be Ventrell's, he's got a good pulse for his body, he's a veteran player, he knows where he's at, the injury he had is simply about where he's at and how he feels." 

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Gators linebacker Ventrell Miller (51) with the tackle at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, on Sept. 10, 2022.

With Miller sidelined last week, Florida's defense surrendered 402 total yards, including 286 yards on the ground, last Saturday against USF. Miller posted 15 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, in UF's first two games this season.

"People say the heart and soul of the defense and that's kind of true," Florida edge rusher Brenton Cox said. "When you have that big factor in the middle of the defense that controls everything, kind of like the quarterback of the defense. But we got a lot of guys that can step up and fill that role, so I'm pretty confident in those guys."

Billy Napier: Updates on QBs Jack Miller and Jalen Kitna

Starting right tackle Michael Tarquin is listed out for the second straight week, with Austin Barber listed as the starting right tackle. Backup quarterback Jack Miller (thumb) also remains out, though Napier said he's making progress and now holding a football.

With Miller out, Jalen Kitna will remain UF's backup quarterback behind starter Anthony Richardson.

 "Jalen Kitna had his best week last week," Napier said. "In particular, last Thursday he was extremely sharp, he had a good day of practice (Tuesday). He's our number two and I would say Jalen is done a great job of making good decisions, he's been very accurate and each week he gets a better understanding of our system."

 In another move on the depth chart on Saturday, 415-pound Desmond Watson was moved up to starting nose tackle, ahead of Jalen Lee. Watson came up with a big tackle for loss in the fourth quarter last Saturday against USF and is gaining more reps as his conditioning improves. Napier said Watson has lost close to 40 pounds since the start of training camp.

"He’s just getting started," Napier said. "I think the guy will only continue to improve if he can stay this course."

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