Key Gators linebacker reportedly out for the year

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Florida suffered a major loss on defense in Saturday’s win over South Florida. Redshirt senior starting linebacker Ventrell Miller, who led the team in tackles in 2020, underwent surgery for a torn bicep tendon and will be out for the rest of the season, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson.

It was first reported by G. Allan Taylor of The Athletic that Miller had undergone bicep surgery and would miss an indefinite period of time, including Saturday’s contest against No. 1 Alabama. According to Thompson’s reporting, however, that indefinite period will last the remainder of 2021.

In Miller’s place for the rest of the year will be Ty’Ron Hopper, a redshirt sophomore from Alpharetta, Georgia. Hopper has seen limited time during his career, and he has just 25 tackles (1.5 for loss) in three years.

“My role’s going to get a little bigger,” Hopper said. “But I’m here for the challenge, for sure. I’m focusing on getting better every week.”

Fellow linebacker Mohamoud Diabate said that Miller will play a major role in helping acclimate Hopper to a starting role, according to Thompson.

“Ventrell will still be around to make sure everything’s good,” Diabate said. “We feel confident in what we’re doing. We rotate so much that it’s like what, like our coaches always say, we don’t have really any starters because we’re just all older we’ve all played a lot.”

Miller had 88 tackles in 2020, and he had eight through the first two games this season. With him out of the lineup, Florida loses one of its most vocal on-field leaders defensively.

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