Florida’s football team will likely be without two of its biggest playmakers on both sides of the ball when it takes the field Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Gators did not escape their 45-0 home-opening win over Tennessee-Martin unscathed. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney exited the game in the first quarter after being tackled and did not return. In the second quarter, cornerback C.J. Henderson also went down when he tripped on a Skyhawks receiver in pass coverage.
Coach Dan Mullen offered an update on their statuses during media availability on Monday.
“Kadarius Toney is going to be out for a couple of weeks,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes, how he heals. But we expect him to be out for a couple of weeks.
“C.J. Henderson, I think will be doubtful this week. He’s got a minor ankle sprain. Just as a skilled athlete, sometimes that’s a little trickier. But hopefully he’ll be back pretty quick.”
Mullen added that Henderson has said he wants to go this week, but he won’t play him unless he is 100% healthy. Mullen does, however, expect linebacker Amari Burney and defensive back Jeawon Taylor to be available this weekend. Their return would bolster the team’s depth on defense.
Freshmen corners Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough are both currently listed as “OR” on Florida’s depth chart with Henderson. Kaiir Elam, another freshman corner, is listed behind Marco Wilson at the other corner position. This trio of freshmen defensive backs will likely fill the potential hole left by Henderson’s absence.
Kentucky was one of three teams to beat the Gators last season, and it did it in grand fashion. The Wildcats ran all over UF in the Swamp for a 27-16 victory that put an end to their 31-year losing streak against Florida.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks called the loss an eye-opener, but he denied the notion that losing last season would provide extra motivation for the game this weekend.
“That game has no effect on this year’s game at all,” he said. “They have different players, we have different players, some of the same players, some of them not.”
Even Wilson, who went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the game, did not let on that this game means more after the result in 2018.
“I’m not worried about what happened last year, I know we lost,” he said. “I think about that we lost really, and I don’t want that to happen again, not a good feeling to lose so definitely just want to work on going out there and focusing on little things and make sure we get the ‘W’ this time.”
The Wildcats lost starting quarterback Terry Wilson for the season on Saturday to a knee injury. He tore a patellar tendon in his knee which will require surgery. Sawyer Smith, a transfer from Troy, is slated to start in Wilson’s place against the Gators.
Mullen preached attention to detail and said small mistakes weren’t costly Saturday night, but they will be moving forward. As his team gears up for its first SEC test of the season, he said the vibe is different and there’s a greater sense of urgency.
“They pick it up a little bit because it’s a different game,” Mullen said.
Follow Kyle Wood on Twitter @Kkylewood. Contact him at [email protected].