Tape It Up: Florida-LSU: Balance Out

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Florida-LSU: Balance Out

Saturday's probably-should-have-been-bigger SEC matchup between No. 1 LSU and No. 9 Florida should still be the game of the week, even with two key players missing the showdown due to injury. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on where your loyalties lie), the two injuries should balance out, as LSU wide receiver Early Doucet will have to sit out this one, but so will one of the Gators who would have been assigned to cover him, cornerback Markihe Anderson.

Anderson, a sophomore, has been out of the starting lineup for most of the season with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He left the field early in the team's Week 3 win over Tennessee to have an MRI on the knee, and head coach Urban Meyer said he does not expect to have Anderson back in the lineup until the Oct. 20 matchup against Kentucky, after the team's bye week on Oct. 14.

"He's trying as hard as he can," Meyer said. "A really, really tough kid."

In two games this season, Anderson has recorded one tackle and an interception.

LSU is most likely relieved at the news that Anderson is not ready to return for Saturday's game, because the Tigers' offense will be missing a key player, as well. Senior wide receiver Early Doucet will not be dressing on Saturday as a strained groin continues to keep him off of the gridiron. He has been attending practices, running routes and working out progressively every day, but he has not yet gotten his full strength back.

Last season, Doucet finished the year second on the team in receiving, hauling in 59 catches for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. Having only played in two games this season, he is still the team's second-leading receiver, having caught 15 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

In Doucet's absence, the younger receivers will certainly have to step up against a tough Gator team. Head coach Les Miles pointed to sophomores Brandon LaFell (team's leading receiver, 17 catches, 279 yards) and Chris Mitchell (4 receptions, 48 yards) and junior Demetrius Byrd (7 catches, 177 yards) as the most likely candidates to pick up the slack in such a marquis matchup.

"We'll probably go with the guys that we went with last week at wide receiver," Miles said. "They're getting better on every snap. They had a good practice [Wednesday], and Brandon LaFell's leadership [has improved] as well."

Other Aches and Pains
On the Gator side of things, right guard Maurice Hurt was hurting on Wednesday, sitting out of practice with neck pain. Meyer said he hopes to have Hurt ready for Saturday, since the Gators need his depth at the guard position.

For the Tigers, freshman tight end Jordon Corbin is still recovering from knee surgery, which will most likely keep him off the field on Saturday. Junior defensive tackle Charles Alexander should be joining him in that boat soon, as he expects to put his knee under the knife in the coming weeks. Senior offensive lineman Will Arnold, who Miles describes as a tremendous competitor, will also miss Saturday's game with a viral infection.

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