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ICYMI: Gators expect fast pace against Rockets

GAINESVILLE -- Will Muschamp expects Florida’s defense to play 80-85 snaps against Toledo’s up-tempo attack in Saturday’s season opener.

Muschamp said UF would rotate regularly along the defensive line to counter the game’s pace and noon-kickoff heat.

Toledo, ranked No. 32 nationally in total offense in 2012, returns a receiver (Bernard Reedy) and tailback (David Fluellen) who recorded more than 1,000 yards.

Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said the Rockets’ no-huddle offense presents challenges, but since Florida’s defense doesn’t huddle either, Toledo’s tempo is not a major advantage.


Tailback Matt Jones (illness) practiced in pads for the first time since spring camp Tuesday. Muschamp said, “We tried to bang him around a little bit, and I think he’s a little sore this morning.”

Jones is expected to return against Miami on Sept. 7, and Muschamp said the sophomore would go through pregame warmups versus Toledo but not play. 

Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (sprained shoulder) and senior nose tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) returned to practice this week.

Meanwhile, freshman linebacker Matt Rolin and senior receiver Andre Debose had successful ACL surgeries.


Jacobs missed most of training camp battling a patella injury, but Durkin said the senior backup is ready to play Saturday and called him “a tough, tough guy.”

“It’s really one of those things where if you didn't know you probably wouldn't know he had an injury,” Durkin said. “That's what great players do and tough guys do, not only play through an injury but play through it to the point where you can't tell the difference.”


Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Jaylen Watkins -- three highly regarded NFL prospects -- are listed as co-starters on Florida’s depth chart, as Durkin said the trio will frequently play together this season.  

“It doesn’t make sense to have just two of them playing and one watching,” he said. “Whether that be rotating at corner or sometimes Jaylen playing at safety, whatever it is, we have a couple of different combinations and we use different packages on defense to get them all on the field.”

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