Sunday, February 25, 2018
Colleges

Gators lose top tackler Antonio Morrison

GAINESVILLE

If someone writes a book on Florida's 2013 football season, you might search for it in the bookstore's horror section. Or maybe the section on medical mysteries.

Monday, coach Will Muschamp announced MLB Antonio Morrison suffered a knee injury during Saturday's loss to Vanderbilt and will miss the remainder of the season.

"He tore his meniscus," said Muschamp, who didn't specify which knee nor say how the injury occurred. "It's a radial tear; the same thing (RB) Matt Jones did. So very disappointed for him."

Morrison is the 10th Florida player to suffer a season-ending injury since fall camp began in August and seventh starter.

Morrison, a sophomore, had a team-high 56 tackles, including 27 unassisted, in eight games.

The Gators (4-5, 3-4 SEC) play at South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) on Saturday needing two wins among their final three games to be bowl-eligible. Muschamp said he reminded his players it's unacceptable to use injuries as a crutch or excuse. He said he doesn't believe his players have quit on the season but admitted the injuries have taken a toll.

"I certainly think it has had an effect, but we've got to find a way to get it right," he said.

With Morrison out, the Gators will again shuffle players.

"Mike Taylor will play (middle linebacker), and Jarrad Davis will start at (weakside linebacker)," Muschamp said. "Darrin Kitchens and Neiron (Ball) in sub situations can play inside. Neiron will play inside regardless, and Darrin will play on the edge. Alex Anzalone keeps coming on doing a good job for us. He'll get some snaps."

MURPHY'S STRUGGLE: QB Tyler Murphy is still struggling with the AC shoulder sprain sustained Oct. 12 against LSU and will be limited in practice this week. Murphy, who did not practice during the bye three weeks ago, will miss at least two days and said he's unsure of his status for the South Carolina game.

"It's more of a day-to-day thing," Murphy said. "I'm just trying to get healthy so I can get back out there and I can try to contribute to help out this team."

Murphy said if the game had been Monday, he "most likely" could not have played. But after throwing three interceptions that led to 21 Vanderbilt points Saturday, practice time is critical.

"It's very difficult just because after these last few losses and not playing well on Saturday, I need all the practice I can get," he said.

ROOKIE HONORS: Ronni Williams was named SEC women's basketball freshman of the week Monday. In the season opener Friday, a 93-65 win over Bethune-Cookman, she had team highs of 15 points (on 7-of-9 shooting), 17 rebounds and five blocks.

She became just the second Gator freshman to record a double double in her first game, joining former All-American Tammy Jackson, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds against Virginia on Nov. 20, 1981. Her 17 rebounds are the most by any Florida player in her collegiate debut.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @TBTimes_Gators.

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