GAINESVILLE — Due to a significant number of injuries to players on Florida's offensive line, the Gators' April 6 Orange and Blue game will be an open practice instead of a game-like scrimmage.
Although Florida has 11 scholarship offensive linemen, five are injured, including Trip Thurman who had surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum and will be out for the next four months.
"Obviously with our numbers right now with healthy guys on the offensive line … with really five of those guys being out right now, it's not fair to go in a spring game situation and ask these guys to take 60, 70 snaps in a row," Florida coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday. "That's not healthy. It's not good. It's not good for our football team. So, we've changed the format a little bit, which I think will be good in a way."
Saturday's format will mirror Florida's 14 previous spring practices. Throughout the practice, Muschamp and several of his assistants will interact with fans, providing an explanation of some of the drills and scrimmage situations the team will be running. While some fans may be disappointed, Muschamp said he's okay with the necessary changes.
"I'm comfortable with this. I really am," he said. "This is no different than if we would have a scrimmage. And to me, it's about getting good-on-good work. It's about getting your best players going against your best players. I see some of these spring games, these guys put their first group against the rest of them. You don't get any better doing that stuff. You get better when you're going good on good."