Florida football: Dan Mullen says injured Gators stars will be back for Georgia game

By Adam Silverstein
October 22, 2019
Florida football: Dan Mullen says injured Gators stars will be back for Georgia game
Football

Image Credit: Twitter / GatorsFB

Despite their hot start to the season, the No. 7 Florida Gators (7-1, 4-1 SEC) have been a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit, particularly on defense where the team has not yet operated at full strength this year. If what head coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday comes to fruition in two weeks, Florida will be as healthy as it has been this season when it takes on the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

During a guest spot “SEC This Morning,” Mullen said that graduate transfer defensive end Jonathan Greenard (ankle), senior DE Jabari Zuniga (ankle) and junior wide receiver Kadarius Toney (shoulder) are all expected back for the Florida-Georgia game.

“We expect all three of those guys to be back for the Georgia game,” Mullen said on the show.

Toney has been the longest-injured of the trio; he has not suited up since severely hurting his shoulder back on Sept. 7 against Tennessee-Martin, missing six games. Mullen has long said Toney would be back for the tilt with the Bulldogs, giving him nearly two full months to heal from his unspecified injury.

Zuniga has sat with his ankle injury a bit longer than Greenard, though both attempted to play at LSU back on Oct. 12 due to the importance of the game. Greenard was ultimately unable to go after a couple plays, and Zuniga appeared to reinjure his ankle early in the first quarter. Both sat out the remainder of the game, severely hurting the Gators defensively, and missed last Saturday’s contest at South Carolina.

Florida’s defense, which led the nation in interceptions and was top five in the FBS in sack rate with Greenard and/or Zuniga healthy, has been noticeably worse in their absence, giving up 69 points over the last two games (34.5 points per game). It had allowed 54 combined in the six games prior (9.0 ppg), though LSU is the best offensive team it has faced this season.

The offense has not suffered much without Toney, though getting him back in the fold will likely help the Gators’ running game as it will provide defenses another body to account for behind the line of scrimmage. Toney posted 500 yards of total offense on 46 touches a season ago.

While Mullen said these three would be a go for the game, he did not provide updates on other Florida players who went down at various times during the South Carolina game last week, namely junior WR Trevon Grimes, redshirt senior defensive lineman Adam Shuler, redshirt junior DL Marlon Dunlap Jr. and redshirt sophomore linebacker James Houston IV.

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