Billy Donovan appeared on the SEC teleconference this morning and discussed this week’s schedule, which includes a road game against Texas A&M and a home test against Missouri.
Donovan started off the teleconference by calling this week a challenge with the Thursday road game and the quick turnaround of having to travel back home for the game against a top-15 Missouri team.
The beginning of this week will be a key to the team, as it will game plan for both the Aggies and the Tigers.
Man up, man down
Injuries have begun piling up for the Gators as Mike Rosario, Will Yeguete and Casey Prather have all been sidelined recently.
“Rosario’s got an ankle sprain. I’ll probably find out a little more here this week of his availability for A&M,” Donovan said. “[Prather has] got a high-ankle sprain. We’ll have to see how he progresses. Yeguete is still dealing with some tendinitis and swelling there, so I don’t know how much we’ll get out of him here this week.”
With all of those injuries, the Florida Gators only had a limited bench to work with in their 74-52 win at LSU this past Saturday, but Donovan expects two of three injured players to play.
“I would say right now Prather is out. He’s not playing it doesn’t look like,” Donovan said. “I’d say right now going into the Texas A&M game, there’s a good chance that Rosario and Yeguete would, but I would probably say Prather is out.”
Guarding the arc
Donovan also touched on the defense this year which ranks fourth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 52.7 points per game.
Point guard play is one of the reasons for the improvement. Last year, Erving Walker’s size gave him some limitations on the defensive side that junior Scottie Wilbekin doesn’t have.
“There was some limitations for Walker on the defensive end of the floor in man and zone, because it’s easier to shoot over him,” Donovan said. “This year you have Wilbekin playing a lot more, and he’s bigger and more physical guard who can guard a lot of different people.”
Experience is something that Florida is using to its advantage on defense, but Donovan also said the team has more speed this year compared to last season.
“You got maybe some more experience there with a guy like Prather. Boynton’s been around,” Donovan said. “I think last year playing with Brad Beal, as terrific as he was, I think being a freshman there were areas that he had to improve in defensively and he got better as the year went on. We probably have a little bit more size, and I think we’re a little bit older.”