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Thursday November 1, 2012Gators battle a flu bug, Muschamp praises freshman trio, update on Cody Riggs

Updated: 3:46pm, November 1

Lerentee McCray

Photo: Gators defensive lineman Lerentee McCray is questionable for Saturday's game.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gators coach Will Muschamp spent a few minutes talking to reporters earlier this afternoon.

Muschamp did not make his scheduled appearance on Wednesday's SEC media teleconference due to a funeral in the family.

With less than 48 hours until kickoff on Saturday against Missouri -- the Tigers' first trip to The Swamp -- here are some notes from Muschamp's media session:

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Gators defensive tackle Leon Orr (flu) is out Saturday. Orr was admitted to the hospital this week and continues to recover from flu-like symptoms.

"He has gotten really sick. He is going to be fine, but it’s about a 72-hour deal,'' Muschamp said. "They had to go and get some fluid in him.”

Orr wasn't the only player affected by the flu bug this week. Muschamp said safety Matt Elam missed a day of practice and other players are dealing with the symptoms.

"I’d say it’s a handful. It’s not many,'' Muschamp said.

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Starting defensive end/buck Lerentee McCray (ankle) and offensive lineman Xavier Nixon (knee) are considered questionable for Saturday's game.

“I would expect both of them to play at this point unless something changes,’’ Muschamp said.

Both players left the Georgia game and have been hampered by nagging injuries of late.

If McCray can't play, Muschamp said that freshman defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball would replace him at the buck position.

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Fowler, defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard and linebacker Antonio Morrison received praise from Muschamp.

The trio of true freshmen has contributed regularly to Florida's defense.

“Hard to play as a freshman in any situation, much less the SEC,'' Muschamp said. "All those guys have been very productive for true freshmen. I am very pleased at what they have been able to accomplish.”

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The Gators are exploring the possibility of requesting a medical redshirt for cornerback Cody Riggs.

Riggs has not played since suffering a broken foot in Florida's win at Texas A&M on Sept. 8. The initial prognosis was that Riggs could be out up to four weeks but that timetable did not come to fruition.

"He’s not as full-speed as he’s been,'' Muschamp said. "He’s not playing as fast as he is capable of playing. It hasn’t healed maybe as quickly as we thought. We’ve just got to continue to evaluate the situation.”

Muschamp spoke with Riggs and his parents about the situation earlier this week and no decision has been made.

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Former Gators coach Steve Spurrier made news Wednesday when he said he thought No. 1-ranked Alabama could beat an NFL team.

The Crimson Tide have dominated opponents. While Muschamp and Spurrier share a some common traits, Muschamp isn't in the same boat as Spurrier on a great college team being able to beat a bad NFL team.

"I would have a hard time seeing that,'' he said. "There are some full-grown men playing in that league. The speed of the game when I left LSU to go to the Miami Dolphins was more than noticeable on the field. It’s a grown man’s league.”

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