Florida lost more than just the game against South Carolina on Saturday in Columbia, S.C. The Gators also lost starting cornerback Marcus Roberson.
Roberson, a true freshman who has started in every game this season for Florida, is expected to miss the rest of the season with a neck injury.
“Marcus Roberson will be out for the season,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “He injured his neck in the game, and we’re still evaluating him, but our medical staff have informed me that he will be out.”
The true freshman had been Florida’s most consistent cornerback this season, accounting for 22 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a half tackle for a loss.
He became the first true freshman to start at cornerback for the season opener since Janoris Jenkins did it in 2008 with his start against Florida Atlantic.
Muschamp said the injury is not particularly dangerous despite it being to his neck.
“It’s nothing that’s going to be a problem,” he said. “He’ll be fine in four to six weeks, strained his neck there, and they’re just taking precautionary measures obviously with something like that. He’ll be fine. He’s going to be back for spring, but he will miss the rest of the season.”
In his absence, the Gators will likely turn to sophomore Cody Riggs. Junior Jeremy Brown entered the season as a projected starter at cornerback, but a knee injury has sidelined him for the entire season.
Muschamp did not provide an update on Brown Monday, but he will likely miss the game against Furman on Saturday.
“Cody Riggs and Jaylen played a lot this season,” the first-year coach said. “Louchiez Purifoy is a young man that’s going to get an opportunity. Moses Jenkins would be the four guys.”
The Gators also have another true freshman who played cornerback in high school who could slide over if any of the four guys Muschamp mentioned were to get hurt.
“In an emergency situation, Pop Saunders could go back to corner if he needed to,” he said. “We’ll move forward that way.”
A few other players were banged up and missed Saturday’s game against South Carolina. Muschamp also updated their status on Monday.
Right tackle Chaz Green has missed the past three games with a right ankle injury. He dressed again for the game against South Carolina but was kept out.
“Chaz Green with his ankle, we tried him in pregame but it just didn’t respond,” Muschamp said. “Hopefully we get him back this week. He did practice some last week, but he didn’t feel like he would be very effective.”
Junior linebacker Lerentee McCray also participated in pregame warmups after suffering a shoulder injury in the Georgia game.
McCray wore heavier padding but did not play against South Carolina after missing the Vanderbilt game.
“Again, feel like he’ll play this week, but I felt that way last week,” Muschamp said. “It’s one of those injuries, you know, you get hit the wrong way you end up losing more time there. Hope to get him back.”
Two other players were injured in Saturday’s game against South Carolina but are expected to return to the lineup this week against Furman.
“Dominique Easley got banged up,” Muschamp said. “Probably will not practice today but should be back tomorrow. Jon (Harrison) was a little banged up in the game, would expect him to be back.”
Senior quarterback John Brantley had been the focus of the injury reports the past few weeks after suffering an ankle injury against Alabama that sidelined him for two games.
However, he said he did not suffer any setbacks in the South Carolina game. He said he is close to 100 percent on the ankle, though he did have some soreness after the game.