Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Dominique Easley 'tweaks' his knee
By Edward Aschoff
Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley's status for Saturday's game against Kentucky is unknown after coach Will Muschamp announced that he "tweaked" his knee in practice Tuesday. Muschamp added that Easley would probably miss Wednesday's practice.
"We'll see how it goes," Muschamp said on Wednesday's SEC coaches teleconference.
"We think he’ll be fine. We just need more information. We’re going through the process at this time.”
Muschamp said that Easley injured his right knee while planting before trying to run on a screen play. Easley tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee back in 2011.
Reports surfaced before the teleconference that Easley had torn the ACL in his right knee and would be out for the season. Shortly after Muschamp's 10 minutes were up on Wednesday's call, Easley hinted from his Twitter account (@MR_ChUcKiE_2) that his Florida career could be over:
"Gatornation thank you for all of 4 yrs of sticking wi th me but god has something else planned for and have no worries #believe"
There was nothing official from UF about whether Easley will miss significant time, but losing him would be a big hit to one of the nation's best defenses.
The Gators have developed a better pass rush and do like to rotate guys all along the defensive line, but Easley is just a different kind of player. He doesn't blow up a stat sheet, but he consistently blows up opposing offensive lines. He only has five tackles on the year, but has been credited with four quarterback hurries.
Easley is explosive off the line, has a never-ending motor and is extremely disruptive. He might not make all the tackles, but he creates plays for other people. He draws a lot of double-teams, which opens things up for guys in one-on-one situations. Sharrif Floyd was on the receiving end of a lot of Easley's disruption last year, and the same can be said for a handful of Florida's linemen and linebackers this year. Having Easley out would put a lot more pressure on outside guys, like linebacker Ronald Powell and Buck defensive end/linebacker Dante Fowler Jr.
Inside, the Gators have a good rotation going with Leon Orr and Damian Jacobs at nose guard, and Darious Cummings has done well rotating with Easley. Remember, he did have that awkward looking interception and return last week. Freshman Jay-nard Bostwick will be in the mix at tackle, while defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said Wednesday that freshmen Joey Ivie and Bryan Cox Jr. are both capable of playing Easley's position if needed.
Depth will help the Gators for as long as Easley is out, but that "it" quality will be missing.