UF's physical spring
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 2:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 2:58 p.m.
An unpopular theme has emerged this spring for the Florida football team.
Florida has been so depleted by them that it now appears unlikely the Gators will be able to play a traditional game for the Orange & Blue Debut on April 6. The spring game could turn out to be more like another practice.
That was the word from UF coach Will Muschamp on Tuesday.
“We're adjusting as we go as far as this coming Saturday (when a scrimmage is planned) and even with the spring game,” Muschamp said. “It may be more of a practice-like atmosphere for what we're going to do, which will be good from the standpoint of seeing some of the individual work we're trying to do.
“An opportunity to get better, and that's what we've kind of focused on through spring — technique and fundamentals of each position.”
The Gators have been hit hardest on the offensive line, where six of UF's 11 scholarship players are currently inactive or limited due to injuries and the indefinite suspension of offensive guard Jessamen Dunker.
The latest offensive line casualties are guards Max Garcia and Trip Thurman. Garcia is battling a sore back, while Thurman recently sustained a shoulder injury that may require surgery. UF should know the results of an MRI on Thurman's shoulder by today.
Garcia and Thurman join an injury list that already includes guard Jon Halapio (shoulder), guard Ian Silberman (shoulder) and tackle Chaz Green (ankle). Silberman and Green have missed the entire spring, while Halapio has seen only limited practice time.
UF's only completely healthy offensive linemen are tackle D.J. Humphries, tackle Tyler Moore, center Jon Harrison, guard/center Kyle Koehne and Quinteze Williams, who was moved from defensive tackle to offensive tackle this spring.
“What's really hurt us is on the offensive line,” Muschamp said. “Right now, we've got six healthy guys. Our numbers are good as far as scholarships. We've got 11 guys on scholarship for the spring, which is about normal of what you want with incoming guys getting your numbers to 15, 17, in that range.
“We've been hit. Halapio is still limited. He has not been cleared for 11-on-11 contact. We don't want to get him in the fray. Chaz Green, Ian and Trip now being out, and (Dunker) is suspended.
“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.”
Because the Gators are so depleted on the offensive front, this past Saturday's scrimmage was scaled back dramatically.
“We did get probably close to 30-40 scrimmage snaps, and I think we'll be able to do that as we move forward,” Muschamp said.
That includes in the spring game, Muschamp said.
“We'll have scrimmage snaps,” he said. “What's hard for the offensive line is just taking 60 straight snaps. That's kind of difficult for just five guys to take that.
“I think (we'll be fine) if we're incorporating within the scrimmage some seven-on-seven, some special teams periods where we just concentrate and let those guys get a break. That's what we've done in structured practice as opposed to just putting the ball down (and scrimmaging).
“Last spring, we'd go 120-130 snaps in a scrimmage. You can't do that with five offensive linemen. That won't be good.”
Muschamp said he doesn't think the lack of scrimmage snaps will hinder the development of his players.
“We try to put them in as much situational stuff as you can,” Muschamp said. “Turns and reps are what's important. You can simulate some things in pass rush, where it's just one guy going instead of five guys.
“We've still had a good, physical spring. I've been pleased with the physicality.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.