Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injuries Sack UF Linebackers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injuries Sack UF Linebackers

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer

GAINESVILLE -- Bill Miller needs a new job title.

Considering the rash of injuries that hit the position he coaches at Florida, Miller probably should be referred to as the Gators' linebacker -- and not linebackers -- coach.

Miller smiled at the joke, but the reason for it is certainly nothing to smile about.

Starter Channing Crowder will miss his second game this weekend because of knee surgery, and backups Dwright Jackson (right shoulder) and Todd McCullough (right shoulder) won't play either. Taurean Charles is recovering from a cut on his leg that needed eight stitches, but he will be able to play against host LSU on Saturday.

That leaves just five completely healthy linebackers, and only two -- Matt Farrior and Reid Fleming -- aren't freshmen.

"It's a little thin, but they're hanging in there," Miller said. "We're not [healthy], and nobody cares about that either. The old adage was, 'Don't worry about the mules being blind. Just load the wagon.' So we've got to keep loading the wagons."

The Gators certainly felt like they got run over by a mule last Saturday. Ole Miss rushed for 223 yards in a 20-17 upset at Florida Field, taking advantage of the absence of Crowder, Jackson, Charles and McCullough. Freshman Earl Everett started and little-used freshman Howard Lingard and redshirt freshman Brian Crum both saw time.

It's likely to be the same lineup this week against LSU, which is averaging 154 yards rushing per game. Charles, another redshirt freshman, is scheduled to play, but McCullough is out for the season and Crowder won't return until at least the following week against Arkansas. Jackson is still week-to-week.

"You put the next guy in, and you hope you've prepared some of these guys leading up to this," Miller said. …

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