Florida football: LB Jeremiah Moon (foot) out for season, Amari Burney doubtful

By Michael Phillips
November 7, 2019
Florida football: LB Jeremiah Moon (foot) out for season, Amari Burney doubtful

Image Credit: UAA

The No. 10 Florida Gators (7-2, 4-2 SEC) looked to be getting healthy last week, but after senior defensive end Jabari Zuniga was limited with an ankle injury and two other Gators defenders were hobbled in a 24-17 loss to Georgia, the hope of a healed up team went out the window. And now Florida has lost another defender for at least the rest of the regular season.

Redshirt junior Jeremiah Moon reaggravated a foot injury that kept him out all spring in the game; he was originally expected out multiple weeks, and head coach Dan Mullen confirmed during his Thursday radio show that Moon is indeed sidelined for the rest of the season. He did not indicate whether a return for a bowl game is possible.

That’s not all. Mullen also said Monday that sophomore LB Amari Burney is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt with a knee injury. “We should get him back before the end of the year,” Mullen added.

With Moon now out for the season, Zuniga hobbled and Burney doubtful, Florida’s defense and pass rush will once again suffer. Graduate transfer DE Jon Greenard is expected to face Vanderbilt after playing the entire game vs. Georgia in his own return from an ankle injury.

Moon was beginning to find his stride with added snaps due to the absences of Zuniga and Greenard. He had 31 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss (T2nd on team), 3 sacks (T2nd on team), 2 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery this season.

Now that Moon is out of action, spring standout redshirt sophomore DE Zachary Carter, redshirt freshman LB Andrew Chatfield and freshman LB Mohamoud Diabate will have to step up and take not only his snaps but those still being surrendered by Zuniga, who is less than 100%.

At the more natural linebacker position, the Gators are in better shape with Burney’s injury if he is unable to go against the Commodores. 

Senior David Reese is still rocking and rolling, and redshirt sophomores James Houston and Ventrell Miller have seen a ton of playing time and even a few starts as linebacker’s coach Christian Robinson likes to rotate his players often. 

The bigger issue with Burney’s absence could be at Star. Sophomore starter Trey Dean has not played up to the level most thought he would entering the season, and after a few series against the Bulldogs, he was replaced by redshirt sophomore Marco Wilson and Burney. 

If Dean continues to struggle and Burney isn’t able to suit up Saturday, that puts Florida in a tough spot at Star with Wilson being the only one with true experience at the position. 

On the bright side, Moon and Burney’s injuries seem to be the only ones from the Georgia game as junior athlete Kadarius Toney made his return and Greenard seems to be back to normal, if not close to it.

“Our guys that came into the game with a bunch of bumped-up, bangs, bruises, we came out pretty healthy with those guys,” Mullen said Monday.

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