GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators coach Will Muschamp likes his team’s offensive line heading into his third season, he just would like for more of them to be healthy.
Muschamp announced Tuesday that due to a lack of healthy offensive linemen, he is altering the format of Saturday’s Orange & Blue Debut spring game. Instead of a full scrimmage, the game will be an open practice that will include situational scrimmage snaps between individual and team position drills the Gators perform regularly at practice.
"It will be normal football like you watch on Saturday afternoon,'' Muschamp said. "It’s not fair to go in spring game situation and ask those guys to go 60 snaps in a row."
In addition Muschamp announced Sunniland and the Florida Farm Bureau have partnered with the University Athletic Association to make the event free for the public (more details below).
Florida has 11 offensive linemen on scholarship this spring and is adding five more over the summer from the 2013 recruiting class. However, three regulars from last season – Chaz Green, Jon Halapio and Ian Silberman – underwent offseason surgery for body maintenance and are limited in full-contract drills this spring.
Trip Thurman suffered a shoulder injury this spring and recently underwent surgery, and redshirt freshman Jessamen Dunker is suspended.
That leaves newcomers Tyler Moore and Max Garcia, and returning linemen Jon Harrison, Kyle Koehne, D.J. Humphries and Quinteze Williams as the only healthy players available for full-contact work Saturday.
While the Gators will run approximately 40 scrimmage snaps Saturday, Muschamp said asking six offensive linemen to take more than 100 snaps in a full scrimmage is not an option.
By the time fall camp starts in August, signees Cameron Dillard, Trevon Young, Octavius Jackson, Roderick Johnson and Trenton Brown will join the mix to give the Gators an allotment of 16 offensive linemen, which is the number of players Muschamp tries to maintain each season.
Check back with GatorZone.com later for more coverage from Muschamp’s news conference.
For more on the format and other events at Saturday’s Orange & Blue Debut, here is the official release:
Format Altered for 2013 Orange and Blue Debut, Presented By Sunniland
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Head coach Will Muschamp announced Tuesday that the format for the 2013 Orange and Blue Debut, presented by Sunniland, will be a unique open practice for fans instead of a game, due to numerous injuries which has left the Gators with just six offensive linemen. The format will be similar to the previous 14 practices the Gators have conducted this spring, with some special additions to enhance the experience for fans.
Before, during and after the practice, Coach Muschamp will address the crowd to give them an inside look and an explanation of some of the drills and scrimmage situations the team will be running. The team will still have several 11-on-11 scrimmage periods, but there will also be periods of special teams and individual work mixed in that will closely resemble a normal Gator football practice.
With the altered format, Sunniland and the Florida Farm Bureau have partnered with the University Athletic Association to make the event free for the public. All pre-purchased tickets for the Orange and Blue Debut will be refunded at full cost. Although the event will be free, fans with tickets in luxury seating areas will still need a ticket for entry into the luxury areas.
Even though admission is free Saturday, the normal game day stadium policies and prohibited items will still be enforced for the safety of all fans in attendance.
For fans that purchased tickets with a credit card, all monies will be credited back to the card that was used. If a fan purchased with cash or a check, a refund check will be mailed to the account holder’s address. Please contact the Gator Ticket Office at (352) 375-4683, ext. 6800 for all inquiries.
Florida Farm Bureau customers who had received free admission coupons for the Orange & Blue Debut may redeem each coupon for a 50 percent discount on a full-priced ticket – a $25 value -- for the Gators’ season-opener versus Toledo on Aug. 31, or for the game against Georgia Southern on Nov. 23. The coupons may be redeemed beginning May 15 at the Gator Ticket Office at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during regular business hours, Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are subject to availability.
In addition to the Orange and Blue Debut, there are several other events happening around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and around campus Saturday morning. The annual Gator Locker Room Yard Sale will begin outside Gate 9 of the stadium at 9 a.m., and shortly after the Verizon Fan Fest will be held in the North End Zone lawn at 10 a.m. Per tradition before Gator home football games, the team will hold Gator Walk at 10:30 a.m. and enter the stadium from University Avenue.
Fans can enter the stadium through Gates 1-4, 7, 12, 15 and 18 beginning at 11:30 a.m. and can sit in the West stands, East stands, Lower South stands and Lower North stands. Luxury seating areas will be open only for those with tickets for the luxury areas.
Prior to the start of the Orange and Blue Debut, the Florida Players Network will hold its second annual Flag Football Game, featuring former Gator football players from years past.
The Orange and Blue Debut will air live on FOX’s Sun Sports statewide. Fans living outside the state of Florida will be able to stream the event live online via www.FOXSportsFlorida.com. It will also air live state-wide on the Gator IMG Sports Network.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Schedule of Events
9:00 a.m. – Gator Locker Room Yard Sale (outside Gate 9)
10:00 a.m. – Verizon Fan Fest in North End Zone Lawn
10:30 a.m. – Gator Walk
11:30 a.m. – Gates Open to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
11:30 a.m. – Warm-ups begin on the field
12:30 p.m. – Alumni Flag Football Game
1:00 p.m. – Orange & Blue Debut
The Stephen C. O'Connell Center parking garage will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis. The main O'Connell Center flat lot is for reserved parking only. The UAA will be running shuttles from the large commuter lot on Gale Lemerand Drive beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.