Florida football: Ventrell Miller among starters out vs. South Florida, depth chart updates

By OnlyGators.com Staff
September 14, 2022
Florida football: Ventrell Miller among starters out vs. South Florida, depth chart updates
Football

Image Credit: Hannah White, UAA

As the No. 18 Florida Gators look to bounce back from a disastrous Week 2 loss, they will be doing so without two key players — one on each side of the ball. Though Florida is set to host South Florida in its third straight road game, the absences will nevertheless affect the Gators’ level of play and production inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Redshirt senior linebacker Ventrell Miller and redshirt sophomore right tackle Michael Tarquin will both miss Saturday’s game against the Bulls, head coach Billy Napier confirmed Wednesday evening. Both players are listed with “lower body” injuries, and Napier refused to comment on their long-term statuses other than to say he would provide an update in one week’s time.

Redshirt freshman Scooby Williams will step in for Miller as the starting inside linebacker on Saturday, and he will likely be tasked with calling Florida’s defense on the field. Miller has started 25 of the last 27 games he has played since 2019. Redshirt freshman Austin Barber will step in for Tarquin with the rest of the offensive line starters remaining as they have the last couple weeks.

Six of the seven players listed as injured for the Gators will miss the game, including Marco Ortiz, the redshirt junior starting long snapper, who will be out his second straight contest. The other player listed as questionable is redshirt sophomore cornerback Jaydon Hill, who has not played since the 2020 season.

Hill, who was expected to start for Florida last season before tearing his ACL before the campaign began, has been slowly working his way back in practice with hopes of getting on the field early this season. While he is not presently listed on the depth chart at cornerback, if healthy enough, he could potentially see spot duty in the second half Saturday should the Gators handle their business early in the game.

Given the uneven play of sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson through the first two weeks, anticipation has heightened for the clearance of redshirt freshman backup Jack Miller III. Out since late in the offseason with a thumb injury that required surgery, Miller continues to work his way back. Napier said he will provide weekly updates, though it does sound as if Miller will remain sidelined at least the next two games.

Depth chart updates

Offensive line: Due to Tarquin’s absence, backup assignments have changed across the line. Sophomore Josh Braun moves to left tackle with freshman Jalen Farmer elevated to take over the right guard spot. This as redshirt freshman Kamryn Waites moves across the line as the backup right tackle.

Running back: Napier said Wednesday that the Gators will continue to employ a committee approach at running back. The depth chart did not change in that regard, despite fan sentiment otherwise, with redshirt sophomore Nay’Quan Wright listed as starter. The more productive rushers this season, sophomore Montrell Johnson Jr. and freshman Trevor Etienne, remain second-string options.

Returners: Sophomore Xzavier Henderson is no longer a fourth option to bring back kickoffs having been replaced by sophomore Tre’Vez Johnson. Henderson remains the No. 1 punt returner.

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