Demps Out For Season With ACL Injury

Florida's already thin linebacker corps took a hit Tuesday morning when an MRI revealed that freshman Jon Demps has an injured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that is going to require season-ending surgery. Demps twisted the knee in a non-contact drill during Monday's practice as the Gators stepped up their preparation for Saturday's game in Jacksonville with arch-rival and fourth-ranked Georgia.

Demps, a middle linebacker from Pensacola, was backing up Brandon Siler in Florida's defensive rotation. He had played in four games and had four unassisted tackles and two assists. His departure leaves Florida woefully thin at the position.

"Depth? Do the math," said Coach Urban Meyer after practice. "We've got (Alvin) Butler, (Darryon) Robinson, (Brian) Crum, (Todd) McCullough, Earl (Everett) and Siler."

What makes the injury all the more critical is that Demps was starting to play very well in practice and coaches were anticipating that he would be seeing the field more often.

"He's going to have surgery in a couple of weeks and that's a shame because he was really doing well," said Meyer. "We thought it was a sprained knee and they did the MRI and he's got an ACL."

Siler, who didn't practice last week because of a sprained ankle, went full speed Tuesday. Coming off the practice field, Siler said the ankle felt good. Meyer said, "Siler got a little sore out there today but he practiced."

In other injury news, defensive end Ray McDonald had a good practice Tuesday and wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius continued to make progress from the high ankle sprain he suffered against Alabama.

McDonald saw a few plays against LSU, his first action since knee surgery after the Tennessee game. He's continued to rehab the knee since then and he's expected to be close to full speed by the end of this practice week.

"Yesterday was sore, today he [McDonald] went much better," said Meyer. "I'll tell you more tomorrow but I'd say as of Tuesday it looks pretty good."

Cornelius had his breakout game against Kentucky only to go down the next week on a kickoff early in the second half at Alabama. His absence has been felt in a Florida passing game that has struggled in the two games since.

"Jemalle looks about 95 percent," said Meyer. "He should be good by Saturday."

FIELD POSITION COUNTS: Meyer complimented Georgia's punter, Gordon Ely-Kelso, for his ability to pin opponents inside their 20-yard line. Of his 29 punts this season, 16 have been downed inside the 20. Opponents are averaging only 4.3 yards per punt return.

Meyer likened Ely-Kelso to LSU punter Chris Jackson. In Florida's game in Baton Rouge, Jackson proved to be a fourth quarter weapon by continually pinning the Gators inside the 20.

"They [Georgia] are a very good field position team," said Meyer. "They are a lot like LSU. LSU did the same thing. I don't know what their stats are but I compare him a lot like LSU's ... they're very rarely backed up.

VANDY GAME ON TV: ESPN2 has picked up Florida's November 5 game with Vanderbilt. Kickoff at The Swamp will be 7:15 p.m.

This will mark the seventh straight Florida game that has been televised. Counting Saturday's Georgia game, the Gators have been on CBS five times and Jefferson-Pilot once.

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