GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While Florida has dealt with some significant setbacks on the injury front already this season, Gators coach Jim McElwain was optimistic for some good news this week concerning highly-touted freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland.
Cleveland has had a rough start so far, battling a hamstring injury through the second half of camp, sitting out the season opener while serving a one-game suspension and then seeing limited action against Kentucky before hurting his hamstring again and having to sit out the North Texas game entirely.
It sounds like he has a chance to play this weekend, though, as No. 19 Florida (3-0) visits No. 14 Tennessee (3-0) on Saturday afternoon.
“Tyrie ran pretty good yesterday so hopefully we’ll get him back,” McElwain said Monday. “You know, we’ll see where that fits and see what that part means. You know, none of us have seen it yet.”
In addition to expressing question as to whether top wide receiver Antonio Callaway will return from a quad injury this week, and aside from the big injury situation with sidelined starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, McElwain updated a few other health matters.
Redshirt-freshman linebacker Kylan Johnson was set to miss practice Monday with an unspecified leg injury, but McElwain added, “I’m thinking we’ll get him back.”
Sophomore cornerback Chris Williamson has a knee injury that may be tendinitis, McElwain said.
And sophomore right guard Tyler Jordan will miss a second straight game with the eye injury that was expected to sideline him for multiple weeks.
“So that rotation in the O-line will stay about the same as we did last week, but I thought those guys battled their tail off and took some pride in it,” McElwain said. “So that’s a good thing. Other than that, we’ve got a big list of guys, but they’ve been missing, so what the heck, next up.”
Sophomore Fred Johnson started in place of Jordan at right guard last Saturday night against the Mean Green while freshman Jawaan Taylor took over at right tackle. Redshirt-freshman Richerd Desir-Jones also worked at right guard.
“You know what, they did a pretty good job,” McElwain said. “I think we need to make guys miss. We’re blocking it to the safety at times. We missed some cuts, and yet, that’s just continuous playing. They did all right. I mean, they played hard now.”
As for any updates on Callaway, Cleveland or others throughout the week, it will be up to McElwain to share their progress, as he has closed practice to the media this week.
Florida normally opens practice for the stretching and early individual drills period to reporters on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but not this week.
“There’s some things we kind of need to do that I’d just appreciate that we kept to the Gators and go on from there,” McElwain said. “Nothing drastic, but obviously we have some new things that we have to work on.”