Tape It Up: SEC: Sore Winners

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SEC: Sore Winners

Playing in the nation's toughest conference means taking some big hits, even when you win, and after this week, no one knows that better than Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi State. Each team put up a big win over the weekend, but took a big hit in personnel in the process - florida lost linebacker Jeremy Finch, South Carolina is missing tight end Weslye Saunders and Mississippi State is down quarterback Michael Henig.

Finch snagged the first interception of his career in Florida's win over Tennessee on Saturday, but the elation of his milestone grab was immediately deflated when the freshman took a hit to his right leg on the return. The hit broke a bone in his leg and Finch underwent surgery Sunday morning, which will keep him on the sideline for the rest of the season. The best the 6-foot-1, 203-pound freshman can hope for is a medical redshirt.

Finch was also a rising star on special teams, where he started all three games this season with the kickoff coverage unit. With coverage crossing head coach Urban Meyer's radar as one of the few weaknesses on his No. 3 team, Finch's injury is a double blow for the Gators.

The news for receiver Andre Caldwell has not gotten any better, as the senior will miss Saturday's game at Mississippi while his sprained knee continues to heal.

Redshirts Galore for Gamecocks
After playing in the season's first two games, South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders did not play against South Carolina State with a hurt knee, according to head coach Steve Spurrier. Spurrier said that the injury will keep the freshman from being the blocker this season that he has the ability to be, so playing him in a few games would be wasting a year of eligibility. The coach says that he's seriously considering redshirting Saunders, but has not made a final decision yet.

Joining him in that red getup may be reshman receiver Joseph Hills, who has yet to see game time after injuring his knee on the first day of preseason practice. Spurrier has called Hills a "Sidney Rice guy, because he can go get it and he's got great speed." But at depleted strength caused by the injury, Hills will most likely wait a year to deliver on his potential.

The good news for South Carolina is redshirt freshman Chris Smelley should return to practice this week in the backup quarterback after sitting out the last few weeks with a shoulder injury. Tommy Beecher struggled in the backup role on Saturday, leaving room for Smelley earn his way back in.

Broken Bulldog
Mississippi State quarterback Michael Henig fractured a bone in his throwing hand during Saturday's 19-14 win at Auburn. Trainers expect the junior to be sidelined for two to four weeks, keeping him out of SEC contests against South Carolina and Tennessee, at least. The junior completed just one of his three pass attempts for 16 yards when he left he game.

Henig is used to coming back from injury, as his sophomore season was interrupted by a broken collarbone - twice. He broke the bone following the season opener, coming back in Week 6 of the season only to hurt it again in Week 11. Expect this kid to be back on the field on the sooner side of sooner or later.

In the meantime, true freshman Wesley Carroll will compete with junior college transfer Josh Riddell for the starting job. Both saw time last week after Henig left the game, Carroll completing 3-of-10 passes for 10 yards and Riddell 1-of-5 for 15 yards.

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