Gators expect four defenders back

Updated: October 27, 2009, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Top-ranked Florida could have four key defenders, including linebacker Brandon Spikes, back against Georgia.

Spikes and defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh and Jaye Howard practiced Tuesday for the first time in more than a week, and coaches expect them to play Saturday against the Bulldogs.

"If they continue to work like they did tonight, they will definitely play in the game on Saturday," defensive line coach Dan McCarney said.

Marsh has played just two games this season because of a high ankle sprain, and Howard missed the last two games because of a knee injury.

Spikes, the team's defensive captain, injured his groin Oct. 10 at LSU and played only a series the following week against Arkansas. He sat out Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

"He looked really good today," coach Urban Meyer said. "He probably could have played Saturday. He told us before the game he was ready to go. He hadn't practiced all week."

The Gators also could have backup defensive tackle Justin Trattou available. Trattou ruptured his left biceps tendon against Arkansas and didn't play last weekend.

"There's a chance you might see him jog out on the field Saturday," Meyer said. "That's one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

Defensive tackle Brandon Antwine won't play against Georgia because of a shoulder injury and could be out for the season. Running back Jeff Demps, who sprained his neck against Mississippi State, is expected to practice Wednesday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press