Dunkley suspended for academic reasons

Florida coach Will Muschamp greets offensive lineman Jon Halapio at a recent practice. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.

A little more than a year ago, he was considered a must-get prospect, a priority recruit for the Florida Gators.

Now, Chris Dunkley is on the outside looking in at the football program.

UF coach Will Muschamp announced after Tuesday's practice that the former star Pahokee wide receiver has been suspended from the team for academic reasons.

“He's suspended from the team at this point,” Muschamp said. “Academically, he needs to handle some things (before he can return). That's where we are right now.”

Muschamp said Dunkley has been suspended for part of the spring. It appears unlikely he will play in Saturday's spring game.

As for the Orange and Blue Debut, Muschamp and his staff have come up with a format for the game.

It will consist of four 12-minute quarters, with a running clock. The clock will stop during the two-minute drill at the end of each half.

The first team offense (Blue) will go against the No. 1 defense, while the No. 2 offense (scoring for the Orange team) will square off against the No. 2 defense.

Regardless of Orange or Blue team designations, the offense will wear blue jerseys and the defense will wear white.

Because the Gators are so depleted by injuries, the game will look more like a scrimmage than a traditional spring game where the roster is divided into two teams.

“We've got who we've got,” Muschamp said. “I may line up at left tackle. We'll be fine. The kids will work through it and we'll manage it. That's what we've got and we'll do the best we can do with what we've got. We'll be fine.

“More than anything, what we want to do is go out and have a very functional scrimmage. We want to execute on both sides of the ball. We need to see guys play in front of people. I think it's important to see how they respond.”

Muschamp indicated that the Gators will not show much on either side of the ball in terms of what the offensive and defensive schemes will look like in the fall.

“It's important to play fast and physical, with toughness, and those will be things we'll be looking for,” he said. “We're going to go with two backs and see if we can run the ball, and see if we can stop the run.

“It's not going to be real flashy.”

Muschamp has added a new wrinkle to the spring game. He's invited four members of the media to serve as guest coaches.

Guest coaches for the Blue team are Pat Dooley of The Sun and Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune. The media coaches for the Orange team are Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel and Steve Russell of WRUF Radio.

“It's something in the past I've done as an assistant coach,” Muschamp said. “We closed everybody out (of practice this spring) for some obvious reasons. But we do feel it's important that we have people involved with what we're trying to do and get an inside look.

“When they make a bad call, I'm hoping to get a letter to the editor so I can write in (and complain). I think it's important for them to see the inside and the operation we're trying to do.”

Leading up to Saturday's game, Muschamp said three past Gator greats will address the team, starting with former running back Fred Taylor on Friday, followed at some point by past Heisman-winning quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow.

Earlier in the spring, former All-America linebacker Wilber Marshall spoke with the team before a scrimmage.

“It's important for great Gators to come in and speak to our players,” Muschamp said. “Wilber Marshall, for me, that was a big deal. We showed a highlight tape to make sure our players knew who was speaking.

“Tim and Danny … we want them to be a part of that as well. Fred Taylor should be here Friday night. I'm excited about him speaking to our football team.

“Any time you have guys who have been in this program and are part of the great tradition and really built this place to what it is, that's an exciting thing for our players to ask questions and to interact with them and find out what it was like to be a Gator when they were here.”

NOTES: Muschamp said redshirt offensive tackle Ian Silberman has been moved inside to guard. The move appears permanent. “We're going to leave him at guard. He's a guy who can get some movement at the point of attack. There are some personnel and gap schemes where he's pulling. He's a good athlete. I'm pleased with his progress,” Muschamp said. Muschamp said he's also been impressed with the progress Jonotthan Harrison has made at center since switching from guard.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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