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Sophomore defensive lineman Dante Fowler says he is in much better shape than a year ago.

Monday August 26, 2013Gators Notebook: Green Sidelined for Season, Fowler Feels Faster, Morrison Update, More Tidbits

Sophomore defensive lineman Dante Fowler says he is in much better shape than a year ago.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gators enter head coach Will Muschamp’s third season with more depth on the offensive line than his previous two seasons.

That’s a good thing since Muschamp announced Monday that right tackle Chaz Green will miss the season following surgery to repair a torn labrum.

“Really disappointing news,’’ Muschamp said. “Chaz was playing his best football, playing extremely well, had certainly solidified himself at the right tackle spot.”

Green was injured in Tuesday’s practice and was hopeful the injury was not serious. However, Muschamp said when the MRI results came back Friday the worst-case scenario came to fruition as tests revealed the tear.

Green is the third player who will miss the season due to an injury in fall camp, joining fifth-year senior receiver Andre Debose (knee) and freshman linebacker Matt Rolin (knee).

With Green out, sophomore transfer Tyler Moore will move over to right tackle. Moore worked at right guard in camp during the absence of starter Jon Halapio. Meanwhile, veteran Kyle Koehne is listed as the starter at right guard for Saturday’s season opener against Toledo.

Muschamp remains hopeful that Halapio, who has been out with a pectoral tear, will be healthy enough to return for the Gators’ game against Tennessee on Sept. 21.

“We still feel pretty good about our situation,’’ Muschamp said. “When Jon comes back that gives you nine guys who [we] feel comfortable about, as far as playing experience. You have injuries, especially on the offensive line. It’s a far cry from [two] years ago … when we had about seven offensive linemen on scholarship.”

MORRISON’S SUSPENSION REDUCED

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison’s two-game suspension has been reduced to one game, Muschamp announced Monday.

Morrison will be unavailable for Saturday’s season opener but eligible to return Sept. 7 at Miami.

“After a thorough review of the Antonio Morrison situation and how he’s handled his punishment, I’m going to suspend him for this game only,” Muschamp said. “I just don’t feel like his actions warranted a two-game suspension.”

Morrison was involved in two off-field incidents over the summer, the second event prompting Muschamp to suspend Morrison for two games. However, information collected shortly after the second incident cleared Morrison of wrongdoing.

Morrison faced disciplinary action from Muschamp and missed several practices in fall camp.

“I think he’s remorseful about the whole situation. We’ve moved forward,’’ Muschamp said. “Guys make mistakes and have poor judgment at times. I’m just disappointed with how the whole night was handled.”

Redshirt junior Michael Taylor will start at middle linebacker against Toledo.

FOWLER IN BETTER SHAPE

As a speed rusher off the edge at Florida’s BUCK position, sophomore Dante Fowler’s primary job is to get up field fast and pressure the quarterback.

Fowler did that well enough to earn All-SEC Freshman honors a season ago. He said Monday he hopes to turn up the pressure on quarterbacks in Year 2 after spending all spring and summer staying in shape with his teammates.

“I guess when I first came in here, I was like 278 to 280 [pounds], something like that,’’ Fowler said. “Now I'm like 267 to 265, so I feel really good."

Fowler registered 2 ½ sacks and eight tackles for loss last season. However, fatigue slowed him down in some games Fowler said.

“I kind of came in like two weeks before camp, so I really didn't get to condition like [the returning players],’’ he said. “I started getting my wind and stuff like that toward like the South Carolina game. That's when I really started to feel it.”

QUOTE OF NOTE I

“My mother, she wanted me to get my diploma. And for the simple fact that I don’t believe I left my mark here at Florida the way that I want to leave it.” – Gators senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley when asked why he returned for his final season

QUOTE OF NOTE II

“I think regardless of how you ended the season doesn’t affect how you play the next season. But certainly in the offseason, different guys were motivated different ways, and certainly I think that’s something a lot of our guys have taken with them.” – Muschamp on Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville

QUOTE OF NOTE III

“A lot better than we want them to be.” – Gators linebacker Ronald Powell on how Toledo’s up-tempo offense looks on film

NOTES AND NUGGETS

Running back Matt Jones continues to improve from a serious viral infection that caused him to miss fall camp. “I certainly think he’ll be available [at Miami],” Muschamp said. … Fowler’s former teammate at St. Pete Lakewood High, receiver Bernard Reedy, caught 88 passes for 1,113 yards last season for Toledo. Reedy told The Toledo Blade he and Fowler have been trash talking. “I can’t really say that in front of everybody,’’ said Reedy … Running back Valdez Showers, who is listed third on the depth chart at tailback behind Mack Brown and Mark Herndon, will continue to wear No. 10. Showers was a defensive back prior to fall camp. Meanwhile, quarterback Tyler Murphy will switch from No. 10 to No. 3.

 

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