There have been some miraculous healings this year for the Florida Gators, but it does appear the 9-1 SEC Eastern Division Champs are going to be without three defensive linemen that have played pretty significant roles in the success this season.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain announces that junior defensive end Alex McCalister, junior defensive tackle Joey Ivie, and sophomore end Jordan Sherit will likely moss the game against the Owls. Ivie was missed the game Saturday with South Carolina, a 24-14 win by the Gators. McCalister and Sherit were both injured during the game.
“This week Alex McCalister will be out with a foot (ankle injury),” McElwain said and his weekly press conference Saturday “Sherit will be out with a 'string’ (hamstring), and Joey Ivie will still be out.
The defensive line has been a relatively deep unit this year and all of these three have started some during the season. McCalister has started the last five games, while Ivie and Sherit have three starts each under their belt. There are others that will step up according to McElwain.
“So what does that do?” he asked about the injuries. “Well, you guys can read into it. Obviously some of the guys that need to step up who stepped up last game -- Khairi Clark played a bunch more, Taven Bryan did a heck of a job in gap responsibility and integrity and trust in the guy next to him, Justus Reed did a heck of a job coming in, in fact, I think made a play on the very first play he was in. Those are all good. And so, although how good these guys are, not to downplay their effect on a game, the flip side of that is somebody will show up and somebody will play and they will do it at a high level with the responsibility and the attention to detail it takes to be successful. So we hope to get them back. Don't ask me how long, I don't know. Call Marcus Welby, he may know. But we'll keep you updated on these as we go.”
The only other injury with any kind of worry would be freshman running back Jordan Cronkrite who scored two of the three touchdowns on Saturday. Cronkrite injured his foot late in the game, but McElwain seemed to infer the doctors have cleared him for contact.
“He should be able to go,” McElwain said of Cronkrite. “It’s really up to him, though.”
The injury news hasn’t been too bad for the Gators. The most noticeable for the season has been a shoulder injury to middle linebacker Alex Anzalone who was hurt in game two of the year and hasn’t been able to get back in the mix. McElwain didn’t name Anzalone, but did mention some guys might be held out and redshirt at this point. He seems like a prime candidate, although Florida is definitely thin at the position.