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Injured Gators - Big deal?

The Florida Gators will not be at full-strength on Saturday when they meet Penn State in the Outback Bowl, with four contributors ruled out for the game.

Terron Sanders will miss Saturday's game against Penn State.

We went to team specialist Franz Beard to get his take on the wounded Gators.

The two biggest losses come on the defensive side of the ball, where the Gators will be without starting three-technique defensive tackle Terron Sanders and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

"(Sanders) is a big loss. He was Florida's most consistent defensive lineman all year," said Beard. "He was really, really good against the run and though he doesn't have the ability that Jaye Howard has to collapse the pocket, he's super steady against the run.

"The biggest loss, however, is Janoris Jenkins. If you look at the stats of Julio Jones in the Alabama game, and look at how few passes A.J. Green caught for Georgia, you're talking about a bigtime guy who worked well on bigtime receivers - Alshon Jeffrey at South Carolina, too. He handled all three of those guys and handled them very, very well.

"Losing him means that you're going to go with a smaller, less physical corner. That's the thing that I think that the Gators are going to miss. Penn State's receivers, while not having great speed, are very physical receivers and you're losing your most physical corner. That's going to be something that Florida is going to have to deal with, and I don't know how they're going to do it quite frankly.

"The guy that's going to replace him, in all probability, is going to be Jeremy Brown. Jeremy is a good cover guy, but he's not a really good tackler. He's not a good guy for getting guys on the ground once they catch the ball. That's an area that the Gators could be exploited."

The Gators will also be without reserve defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh, but his absence shouldn't have a big impact on the game Saturday.

"Lawrence Marsh didn't play enough to be an impact guy, he's the third defensive guy that won't be there," said Beard. "He will be just as much of a leader out of uniform as he would be in uniform, so that's not going to hurt them."

On the offensive side of the ball, senior offensive lineman Maurice Hurt,

"Mo Hurt was able to play guard and tackle this year. The only way that hurts them is if they lose one of their tackles, and all of a sudden you're talking about a very unproven guy in there," said Beard. "Marcus Gilbert and Xavier Nixon will be the tackles in the game, and as long as one of them don't get hurt, you're not going to miss him so much.

"The guard that would be there would be Jon Halapio, who is a redshirt freshman, and he had a really good year. So that's an absorbable loss, moreso than Janoris Jenkins and Terron Sanders."

Lions247 Take

Jenkins' absence is a tremendous boost for the Nittany Lions' offensive unit, as he would have likely drawn junior wideout Derek Moye one-on-one. Moye has easily been the Nittany Lions' top playmaker on offense this season.

With Jenkins on the sideline, Moye will likely drawn a smaller corner who won't be able to play as much press coverage, which could be huge. Moye has had trouble getting off the line on physical corners over the last two years.

Penn State's running game has been largely boom or bust this season, so not having Sanders on the defensive line is great news for the Lions. The bad news, however, is that the Gators have a ton of talented depth playing behind him, including familiar names Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley.

While the loss of Sanders may be big, the Gators should be able to get by.

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