Florida football: Five players to watch for the Gators on Saturday against the Missouri Tigers

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports

Florida football (3-2, 0-2 SEC) will look to break a six-game SEC losing streak when it hosts Missouri (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at The Swamp on Saturday (noon, ESPNU).

Here are five Florida players to watch in the matchup:

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Quarterback Anthony Richardson

Richardson has been on point for the Gators in his last two games, passing for 693 yards with 4 TDs and 2 interceptions. The key for him is to continue to make good decisions throwing the ball and using his legs when needed.

Florida tight end Keon Zipperer makes a catch against South Florida on Sept. 17 in Gainesville.

Missouri ranks 10th in the SEC in pass defense at 216.6 yards per game, so as long as Richardson has time to throw, there should be chances for him to make more big plays downfield.

Tight end Keon Zipperer

Zipperer has been more involved in the passing game of late, making 5 catches for 109 yards and one touchdown over Florida's last two games.

"As the season has gone on, I'm getting more comfortable with the offense and understanding everything that's going on," Zipperer said. "It's just slowing down for me. The game is slowing down."

Right tackle Austin Barber

Barber will make his fourth straight start in place of injured right tackle Michael Tarquin. He's been part of an offensive line that's allowed just three sacks in five games and will have to fend with talented Missouri defensive ends Isaiah McGuire and Trajan Jeffcoat on Saturday.

"We’ve been going out there and playing like we have a chip on our shoulder," Barber said. "We’re trying to come in and compete with everyone we can and showing that we’re really one of the top o-lines in the nation.”

The 6-foot-7, 300-pound Barber said his body fat percentage has dropped from 30 to 27 percent, which has helped with his strength and agility in dealing with edge pass rushers.

"This new program, this new facility with food, has made me so much better," Barber said. "My body feels a lot better, and I move a lot better with my speed."

Linebacker Ventrell Miller

Miller had 8 tackles last week against Eastern Washington and appears back to form after a foot injury that sidelined him for the USF game. For the season, Miller has posted 29 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

"My teammates really don't let me forget how big of an impact I am out there whenever they see me. Where you at? We need you out there," Miller said. "I think my teammates do a great job of letting me know that I'm a key factor when I'm out there."

Cornerback Jaydon Hill

Hill returned to action at cornerback last week against Eastern Washington, finishing with 4 tackles. It's been a long journey to get back on the field for Hill, who sat out last season with a torn ACL and will be appearing in his first SEC game since the 2020 SEC title game against Alabama.

 “A lot of hard work, long late nights, a lot of tears," Hill said. "It’s been a journey. The work I’ve put in has paid off and I can’t complain. I’m just blessed. I’m still out here. I’m still going.”