Muschamp optimistic about UF injuries

The Gators wanted to get back on the field last weekend after their loss to Miami, but once they got a chance to reevaluate, the bye week came at a good time to help the team get healthy. The offensive line was banged up against Miami, which slowed the running game. Florida expects all offensive linemen to be healthy for this weekend's rivalry game against Tennessee.

The big boost to the offensive line is the return of starting right guard Jon Halapio from a pec injury that kept him off the field for the first two games. Left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL) is also expected to play and start. The only concern this week is right tackle Tyler Moore.

Moore suffered an ankle injury in the second half against Miami. He will be held out of practice on Monday but is expected to return on Tuesday.

"Tyler Moore is the only injured player that would have missed last weekend if we would have had a game, feel pretty good about him," Will Muschamp said on Monday.

If Moore is unable to play on Saturday, it would force Trenton Brown or Kyle Koehne to start. Koehne has played right tackle during his Florida career, but his focus has been on the guard positions this season with Halapio out for the first two games. Brown replaced Moore off the bench against Miami.

If the 6-8, 363-pound Brown is forced to start, Muschamp said they have confidence in him on the edge.

"We put a huge point of emphasis on him last week to continue to take steps mentally as much as anything," Muschamp said.

The offensive line depth has taken a hit since the start of fall camp. Florida went into fall camp with 10 offensive linemen they trusted on the field. Six of those 10 have dealt with an injury since then.

Losing right tackle Chaz Green for the season was a blow, but as long as the players expected to play on Saturday hold up, the numbers should be fine. However, the threat of nagging injuries is a fear for the Florida coaching staff. It's a reason the Gators want to recruit plenty of offensive linemen.

"It's part of the game," Muschamp said. "That's why you recruit, that's why you gotta have depth on the offensive line. We're certainly further ahead of where we were two years ago, but we're struggling moving the deck chairs there, so to speak. It has been frustrating."

Humphries was able to play against Miami but only made it through the first half. His knee was sore during halftime, and the coaches elected to sit him during the second half. That pushed Max Garcia from left guard to left tackle with Koehne or Ian Silberman sliding into the left guard position.

"We're prepared for that to happen, but I don't think that's going to be an issue moving forward," Muschamp said.

OTHER INJURIES: Quarterback Jeff Driskel (knee) is expected to be fine. He met with the media on Monday morning, something that rarely happens if there is concern about a player's status for a game.

"It's feeling good after a week off," Driskel said. "Good timing. It's feeling a lot better now."

Freshman defensive back Nick Washington had shoulder surgery Monday that will keep him out for the rest of the season. Washington is eligible for a redshirt.

DEPTH CHART MOVEMENT: The updated depth chart was released on Monday with a few changes. Senior Jaylen Watkins is now starting at safety over redshirt freshman Marcus Maye. When Muschamp was asked about the move, the reason was clear.

"You just can't give up big plays," Muschamp said, speaking about Maye allowing the 52-yard touchdown to Miami.

With Watkins moved to safety, freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves is now listed as the backup to both cornerback spots.

Antonio Morrison is listed as the starting middle linebacker.

KENTUCKY GAME TIME: The Southeastern Conference announced game times for September 28 on Monday morning. LSU at Georgia will be the national CBS game at 3:30. Florida at Kentucky will be pushed to 7 p.m. on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Fightin Gators Top Stories