Even though Will Muschamp is long gone, Florida continues to feel his sting. He hurt the Gators in recruiting. Now, he’s going to hurt them this spring.
He did his damage in recruiting by swaying kids to Auburn he’d been recruiting to Florida, including five-star defensive end Byron Cowart. He’ll be negatively impacting spring practice because of how few offensive linemen and linebackers he’s left Jim McElwain and the new staff to work with.
The Gators will have only seven scholarship offensive linemen and four scholarship linebackers available this spring. That’s not enough, especially on the offensive line. With the numbers so low in those two areas, it could severely limit what the Gators do during drills, and it likely will end any chance of UF having a traditional spring game April 11.
The lack of offensive linemen also could have a negative impact on the defensive line. Several young defensive linemen need all the work they can get this spring, and it’s not going to help them going against underweight walk-ons half the time — which they’ll have to do with the offensive linemen seeing limited reps.
Muschamp complained several times about what the previous coaching staff left him at Florida. McElwain is not complaining, even though he probably has every right to.
“Obviously our numbers from a roster numbers standpoint are nowhere near where we need to be. We’re thin at linebacker, very, very thin at offensive line, to the point that — we all knew this was coming, so it’s not a shock — but we’re going to have to adjust how we practice, the amount of reps we get and the different ways in which we do things from a practice structure,” McElwain said Tuesday.
“Normally we like to go two-, three- and four-spot drills, where guys are constantly working, no one is standing. There’s going to be some skel-type work that needs to go on that normally would be in a team situation. But we’ll handle that. That’s the cards we were dealt. That will be all right. The key is to making sure we get as much work as we can with as many people as we can to kind of establish who we are and what we’re all about and the direction we’re going to head with this football team as we move in from spring ball and into the summer sessions.”