Published March 27, 2013 - 11:00amNEW: Follow on facebook -
If you’re a Florida fan, there’s a good chance your favorite player may be injured this spring, especially if he plays on the offensive line.
Florida has 11 scholarship linemen on the roster, but just six of them are healthy enough to participate in spring practice.
Last spring was Florida’s biggest development period, when Will Muschamp helped instill a sense of toughness and create an identity of power football within his team. The Gators were putting together scrimmages of 120-130 snaps, and the additional reps and all the hard work certainly paid off. There was growth; there was development. But Florida has been limited to just 30-40 snaps per scrimmage this spring, and could the mounting injuries inhibit furthered growth, maturity and development of one of Florida’s most important units in 2013?
Let’s start with the healthy players who actually are participating in practice. Transfers Max Garcia and Tyler Moore, along with returners Jonotthan Harrison, DJ Humphries and Kyle Koehne and newly converted offensive lineman Quinteze Williams, are the only six who are full go.
Offensive linemen Jessamen Dunker (suspension), Chaz Green (ankle), Jon Halapio (knee) and Ian Silberman (shoulder) are all out, and only Halapio hopes to at least participate this spring. And a fifth linemen in Trip Thurman recently injured his shoulder, in which Muschamp said the ‘prognosis isn’t good’ after a strong start to spring practice.
“We try to put them in as much situation stuff as you can,” Will Muschamp said yesterday in his press conference. “Turns and reps are what’s important. You can simulate some things in half line, pass rush — where it’s just one guy going instead of five guys going. We’ve still had a good, physical spring. I’ve been pleased with the physicality.
“It’s just tough right now on those guys, and now it’s even harder to get scrimmage snaps because of the lack of numbers at those positions,” Muschamp said.
Because of the rise of injuries, Florida’s spring game could look more like a ‘practice-like atmosphere’, according to Muschamp.
Florida also has several other key players who have missed time with injuries.
Freshman early enrollee receiver Demarcus Robinson (ankle), linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle), corner Cody Riggs (hamstring) and defensive end Jonathan Bullard (hamstring) have all missed practice time. Early enrollee five-star linebacker Alex Anzalone also injured his shoulder and will miss spring because of surgery.
Florida’s attrition on the offensive line proves why teams should have at least 14-15 offensive linemen on the roster at all times.
It’s important to note that Florida has three incoming freshmen in Cameron Dillard, Roderick Johnson and Octavius Jackson, along with one JUCO transfer in 6-8, 350-pound Trenton Brown, due to enroll this summer. But of the four, Florida can only count on Brown to be an immediate impact because of his JUCO playing experience.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports