Florida Running Thin at Linebacker in Prep for Outback Bowl

The Florida Gators take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium for the Outback Bowl.

Beginning The Prep

Today, head coach Jim McElwain kicked off what will be several weeks of preparation for the bowl game. The Gators are looking to finish off the season on a positive note, unlike last season when they got blown out by the Michigan Wolverines in the Citrus Bowl. Florida begins practice on Thursday to start preparations to take on Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. McElwain says they will go through their normal routine of practice this week but then shift focus on Iowa starting next week. 

Injury Woes

On Thursday, many Gators will be sitting on the sidelines unable to practice yet again. McElwain said as of now, defensive backs Nick Washington, Marcus Maye and Duke Dawson will be unable to practice on Thursday. However, he did not say they’re not playing on Jan.2 . Offensive lineman Antonneous Clayton will also be out of practice as well as defensive lineman Martez Ivey.

A new face that was added to this extensive injury report today is freshman linebacker David Reese. During the SEC Championship game against Alabama, Reese suffered a wrist injury that could keep him from playing in the Outback Bowl. This injury adds yet another blow to the linebacker unit. Alex Anzalone has missed the second half of the season with a broken arm and Jarrad Davis  re-aggravated his ankle in the Gators loss to Alabama. McElwain says this linebacker unit is running thin, but still believes the “next man up” mentality will lead to success. 

In the scenario that neither Davis or Reese would be able to play in the Outback Bowl, Florida will have to rely heavily on freshman Vosean Joseph. Joseph is renowned for his monster hit that stopped LSU quarterback Danny Etling short of the goal line.

Along with Joseph, senior Daniel McMillen would have to step up. However, it is much too soon to say who will be able to play. Some are determined to step on the field no matter what. Jarrad Davis has said he is fully planning on playing in his last game of his collegiate career. To hear McElwain comment on this on-going injury report, click here. 

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