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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Notebook: Demps, Rainey limited in practice; Reed, Debose will return

<pre style="&lt;/p"><br />"font-family: monospace; white-space: pre-wrap !important; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;"&gt;<br /><span style="&lt;/p"><br />"font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"&gt;Gators tight end Jordan Reed is expected to return for Saturday’s game against Alabama after missing the last two weeks due to injury.</span><br /></pre>

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"font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Gators tight end Jordan Reed is expected to return for Saturday’s game against Alabama after missing the last two weeks due to injury.

Coach Will Muschamp is doing everything he can to keep Florida’s two most important playmakers healthy.

The senior running back duo of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps has combined for 1,015 yards from scrimmage this season and has, at times, carried an offense that struggled to generate a downfield passing attack.

Rainey leads the team with 74 touches through four games, while Demps is second with 43. Rainey is on pace for 222 regular-season touches, which would more than double his previous season-high of 99. Demps would record 129 combined carries and catches if he continues at the current rate, which would surpass his career-best mark of 110.

Muschamp said the backs have handled the increased workload well to this point in the year. He and his staff are looking to counteract the negative effects of Demps and Rainey’s immense involvement by limiting the number of hits they take in practice. Each wears a non-contact jersey for the majority of the week, keeping them fresh for game action.

“Those are two of our better playmakers, so they’re going to touch the ball,” Muschamp said. “We’re going to do what we need to do to win the game.”

Although Muschamp doesn’t intend to reduce the workload for Rainey and Demps, he could experiment with where and how they get their touches. He mentioned lining up the backs out wide or in the slot, perhaps to run a vertical route against a slower linebacker.

“The different touches we get them could be different,” Muschamp said. “Not as conventional, maybe, as we’ve seen thus far.”

Injury update: Muschamp said every UF player with the exception of junior cornerback Jeremy Brown would be healthy enough to practice Monday.

Brown continues to nurse the knee injury that has kept him out of each of Florida’s first four games.

Sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose and sophomore tight end Jordan Reed both missed Saturday’s game with undisclosed injuries. Reed’s ailment was classified as a lower body issue, and his return is expected to bolster the Gators’ downfield passing attack.

“He’s a guy that can stretch the field,” Muschamp said.

“He’s a guy that blocks well at the point of attack, but he’s also a guy that you’ve got to account for in the pass game. He’s an accomplished receiver.”

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Howard receives honor: Senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second time Monday.

Howard had three tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown against Kentucky. He now has 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season.

Etc.: Sophomore Sharrif Floyd has played every position on Florida’s defensive line this season and said he’s most effective at end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Floyd was originally a defensive tackle but needed only to start “eating right” to transition outside. ... Muschamp named sophomore Kyle Koehne the winner of the team’s Scrap Iron award, which goes to the week’s best offensive lineman.

Contact Greg Luca at gluca@alligator.org.


Gators tight end Jordan Reed is expected to return for Saturday’s game against Alabama after missing the last two weeks due to injury.
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