The Florida Gators’ offensive line was seen as one of the program’s weakest groups during the team’s 2012-13 run to a berth in the BCS Sugar Bowl.
On Wednesday, coach Will Muschamp announced that the situation has only gotten worse through Florida’s Spring practices. In fact, things have gotten so dire that Muschamp only has six healthy offensive linemen on his roster right now (newcomers Tyler Moore and Max Garcia, and returning linemen Jon Harrison, Kyle Koehne, D.J. Humphries and Quinteze Williams).
Thus, according to GatorZone, the format of the Orange and Blue Debut, scheduled to be held on Saturday, has been changed dramatically. Instead of a full scrimmage, Mushamp and his staff will lead the Gators though an open practice.
“It will be normal football like you watch on Saturday afternoon,” Muschamp said. “It’s not fair to go in spring game situation and ask those guys to go 60 snaps in a row.”
The team is adding five more freshmen, but none are scheduled to arrive on campus until the summer, after they have graduated from high school. Further, three major pieces to last season’s offensive front, Chaz Green, Jon Halapio and Ian Silberman, are all still recovering from offseason surgery.
Basically, the team should be up to a full compliment of ‘big uglies’ in time to compete in the fall.
Until then, Gators fans hoping to see a glimpse of an SEC championship-caliber team will have to console themselves with watching an average practice instead. Again, Gatorzone provides details on what it going to happen on Saturday.
Before, during and after the practice, Coach Muschamp will address the crowd to give them an inside look and an explanation of some of the drills and scrimmage situations the team will be running. The team will still have several 11-on-11 scrimmage periods, but there will also be periods of special teams and individual work mixed in that will closely resemble a normal Gator football practice.
But at least it will be free.
With the altered format, Sunniland and the Florida Farm Bureau have partnered with the University Athletic Association to make the event free for the public. All pre-purchased tickets for the Orange and Blue Debut will be refunded at full cost. Although the event will be free, fans with tickets in luxury seating areas will still need a ticket for entry into the luxury areas.
There is still plenty of practice and time to get healthy between the Spring game/practice and when the season officially kicks off on Aug. 31 against Toledo.
That being said, Muschamp’s team had better hurry up, there are some very worried members of Gator Nation right now.