Will Muschamp optimistic about Gators' health
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The third-ranked Gators lost several players to injury Saturday at Vanderbilt, but Florida coach Will Muschamp is optimistic they will be close to full speed when No. 9-ranked South Carolina visits.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (hamstring), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee) and left guard James Wilson (eye) did not play at all against the Commodores.
“We expect to have Jelani Jenkins full-speed and ready to go,’’ said Muschamp, who added that Wilson “should be fine” and that Easley “should be ready to go.”
Meanwhile, starting center Jon Harrison (elbow), starting left tackle Xavier Nixon and freshman receiver Latroy Pittman (ankle) left the game Saturday and did not return.
“We’re really hoping to get all those guys back,” Muschamp said. “They are all definitely going to fine or at least probable at the worst, except for Pittman.”
Muschamp called Pittman “questionable” and that they won’t know his availability until later in the week as practice progresses.
Muschamp didn’t address their status Monday but tight end Jordan Reed (head) and defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (lower body) also left with injuries at Vanderbilt and returned. Reed missed most of the first half but returned after halftime.
“I’m proud of our guys to battle through some adversity and continue to play well and playing together,’’ Muschamp said.
As for cornerback Cody Riggs (foot) and offensive lineman Matt Patchan (pectoral strain), Muschamp said neither will be available Saturday. Riggs has missed the last four games after getting hurt at Texas A&M on Sept. 8 and the injury-prone Patchan has not played this season.
Riggs is making progress in his recovery.
“We’re going to try and get him on the field and run him a little bittoday, but he won’t play this weekend,’’ Muschamp said. “Maybe for next week. We’ve still got half the season to go.”
The Gators had to rely on three four key reserves throughout Saturday’s 31-17 win over Vandy in left guard Ian Silberman, left tackle D.J. Humphries, center Sam Robey and Kyle Koehne, who can play all five positions on the line.
“They did a nice job,’’ Muschamp said. “I’m very pleased with how those guys progressed in the game and [it] certainly makes you have a better comfort level as you move forward that they played in those situations and that they played on the road and they had to make adjustments in the game and play against good people.”
SOUTH CAROLINA INJURIES
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday that running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a bruised hip in Saturday’s 23-21 loss at LSU. While Lattimore could miss some practice time this week, Spurries expects him to play against the Gators.
South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles sprained his shoulder Saturday and will be re-evaluated later in the week to determine his status.