GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Three days after losing its starting quarterback, No. 20 Florida lost its best defensive player.
The Gators will be without disruptive defensive tackle Dominique Easley for the remainder of the season after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus in his right knee during practice on a soggy field Tuesday.
Coach Will Muschamp confirmed the news Wednesday, but only after first saying Easley “tweaked” his knee and added “we think he’ll be fine.”
Easley, though, made it clear on his Twitter page that he was done for the year.
Easley, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior from Staten Island, N.Y., had four quarterback hurries and two tackles for a defense that leads the Southeastern Conference in just about every major category, including scoring, rushing and passing.
The Gators lost their starting quarterback last week when Jeff Driskel broke a bone in his lower left leg.
Meanwhile, in Auburn, Ala., coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday that starting wide receiver Jaylon Denson is done for the year.
Denson appeared to be breaking free in the LSU secondary Saturday when he tripped on a rain-soaked field while tracking the ball.
He had three catches for 45 yards this season.
Malzahn said Wednesday the loss of Denson is “a huge blow.” Denson posted on Twitter that he sustained a torn patellar tendon in the LSU game and has undergone surgery.
The Tigers have an open date this week.
Pop Warner names scholarship after Saban’s father: In Langhorne, Pa., Pop Warner has named a scholarship after the father of Alabama coach Nick Saban.
The youth sports organization announced the creation of the Nick Saban Sr. Scholarship Fund. It’s the organization’s first named scholarship.
Nick Saban Sr. started a Pop Warner team in Fairmont, W.Va., and his son played for him.
The scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement and leadership on and off the field.
Saban said the scholarship fund is “an immense honor” and “a truly meaningful way to honor my father’s commitment to the Pop Warner program and the great game of football, and the strong emphasis he placed on academic excellence.”
DB REYNOLDS WILL SIT OUT FOR TARGETING: Senior safety Ed Reynolds will sit out the first half of the fifth-ranked Cardinal’s game against Washington State on Saturday for targeting.
Reynolds was ejected from last Saturday’s 42-28 victory over Arizona State after lowering his head and hitting Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly in the helmet with less than seven minutes remaining to play.
Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday that Reynolds did not argue the call and has since expressed remorse for the hit.
Shaw agreed with the penalty, saying the punishment is necessary to discourage that activity in college football.
MILLER WILL RETURN AS STARTER: Braxton Miller, back from an injured knee, will get the starting nod against No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday night, coach Urban Meyer said after Wednesday’s practice.
“I think Braxton will probably start. He had a good day today and it looks like he’s pretty close to 100 percent,” Meyer said. “I just wanted to make sure running the ball he’s good, too. And he was. And Kenny’s good.”
Even if Miller starts, who plays the most? And who finishes?
Guiton is coming off three terrific games and back-to-back Big Ten offensive player of the week honors. But he is still behind Miller, who’s recovering from a sprained knee ligament.