Every time the Gators seem to catch a break, it seems head coach Will Muschamp is providing Florida fans with another bit of bad news.
Because we here at Gamedayr love you, let’s start with the bad news: According to CBS Sports, starting right tackle Chaz Green has been lost for the season. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Tampa, Fla. native suffered a torn labrum during a recent practice. The damage to the ligament will require season-ending shoulder surgery.
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The news comes on the heels of the loss of right guard John Halapio for at least the first two games of the year. Halapio is still recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.
The Gators are ranked No. 10 in the nation after earning a trip to the BCS Sugar Bowl a year ago. Muschamp’s offense leaned heavily upon an elite running game. However, the loss of Green means the entire right side of the offensive line must be rebuilt in just a few days’ time. Halapio and Green have combined to start 44 of a possible 52 games over the last two seasons at right tackle and guard, respectively.
Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease have options though. Senior Kyle Koehne at guard and sophomore Tyler Moore at tackle. Together, they boast eight career starts. Koehne has started sporadically in his time in Gainesville, while Moore started four games as a true freshman at Nebraska before dropping to the JUCO level and then transferring to Florida.
But enough bad news, let’s move onto the good stuff: After his charges of barking at a dog were dropped, starting middle linebacker Antonio Morrison has had his season-opening suspension dropped from two games to one. He still got himself into trouble at an incredibly early hour, so Muschamp still had to punish the young hard-hitter. However, Morrison will now be available to play against a very good Miami team in Week 2.
He is not the only Florida starter expected back in time to take on the Hurricanes. Running back Matt Jones, who spent much of the summer and fall dealing with a “serious viral infection,” will not be available against Toledo in Week 1. However, he continues to add on the weight he lost while sick and should be ready to go against the Canes.
Let’s recap: Florida will be missing two starting offensive linemen, a starting linebacker and a starting running back against a Toledo squad that finished with nine wins a year ago. No fun.
Luckily, however, two of those four will be back against Miami in Week 2, with senior guard Halapio expected back against Tennessee in the team’s Week 3 SEC opener.
Green’s experience and talent along the offensive front will be sorely missed from a team already thin along the offensive line. That being said, it’s lucky Muschamp went out and recruited a talent on the level of Moore just in case an injury such as this were to take place.
More and more, it is looking like quarterback Jeff Driskel is going to have to step up and into a huge role offensively as a junior in 2013.