The Florida football team is feeling the aftereffects of the Gators’ trampling at Kentucky.
Several key players, including leading rusher Trevor Etienne, could miss Saturday’s homecoming visit from Vanderbilt slated for 4 p.m. in the Swamp.
Starting center Kingsley Eguakun is questionable with a right ankle injury after he appeared in just his second game for Florida (3-2, 1-1 SEC). Left tackle Austin Barber is listed as questionable with a lower body injury.
“We’ve got a number of players that have been modified throughout the week,” Napier said following Wednesday’s practice. “We’ll be evaluating those guys Thursday, Friday, all the way up until 4 o’clock.”
Etienne suffered an upper body injury while rushing for just 29 yards on 11 carries and catching 4 passes for 38 yards during UF’s 33-14 loss to Kentucky. His 2.6 yards per carry was a season low and well below his previous season average (6.7 ypc).
The sophomore star and sidekick Montrell Johnson Jr. managed just 71 rushing yards on 21 carries, along with 60 yards on 10 catches. Etienne also is the Gators’ kick returner.
The Wildcats delivered a physical beating on both sides of the ball, rushing for 329 yards behind 280 by Ray Davis and limiting Florida to just 39 yards during the first quarter as Kentucky staked a 16-0 lead.
The Gators’ offensive line struggles can be traced partly to Eguakun’s Aug. 16 injury.
“It’s not just game day where continuity becomes an issue,” Napier said. “It’s also in how you practice, who’s available during the week, the mixture of rotations.”
Redshirt sophomore Jake Slaughter, his replacement, lacks the leadership and experience of Eguakun, who started 26 games the past two seasons.
Johnson joked Wednesday no offensive players trash talks like UF’s veteran center.
“He just says that ‘you’re not better than me, I’m better than you … just ‘I’m more manly than you,,’” he said.
FIU transfer tackle Lyndell Hudson II likely will step in for Barber. Hudson started on the right side against Charlotte after the SEC suspended Damieon George Jr. and right guard Micah Mazzccua for the first half because of their roles in a late-game fight with Tennessee.
Massive reserve tackles Kamryn Waites (6-8, 365) and Jordan Herman (6-8, 375) also could see action. Waites, a Louisiana transfer in December 2021, tore his Achilles tendon during the offseason and played his first snaps in 2023 at Kentucky.
“It’s great to have him back,” said Napier, who signed Waites out of high school.
Meanwhile, starting wide receiver Caleb Douglas sustained a lower leg injury at Kentucky expected to sideline him up to six weeks, according to Napier. Douglas’ leaping 34-yard reception was the Gators’ longest play from scrimmage and gives him 133 receiving yards, second to Ricky Pearsall’s 419, on 11 catches.
Starting tight end Jonathan Odom will not play against Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-2 SEC) because of a upper body injury. He has 9 catches for 75 yards, most at his position.
Starting safety Miguel Mitchell is questionable with a lower body injury. The sophomore’s 16 tackles are fifth on the team. First-year freshman Bryce Thornton is listed behind Mitchell on the depth chart. He has 7 tackles, 1.5 for loss.
Edgar Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org