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Dr. Saturday

Florida so banged up on offensive line, format of its spring game might change

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

View photo

.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Injuries happen in spring football. Unless they're serious, ACL-type deals, they're not going to have a huge effect on a team. Even a three-month injury gives players time to be ready for training camp.

But when there's a cluster of injuries at one position that's so severe it might actually change the way a team operates its spring game, that's newsworthy.

So it goes for Florida, which can't keep offensive linemen on the field.

Jessamen Dunker (suspension), Ian Silberman (shoulder), Chaz Green (ankle) and Max Garcia (back) have been out, according to Associated Press. Starting guard Jon Halapio has been limited with a shoulder injury. Then this week guard Trip Thurman went down with a shoulder injury.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said the Gators have been practicing with six healthy offensive linemen, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That's about as thin as it gets. If any of those upright Gators linemen needed to get some experience, they surely are getting the reps.

Asking your offensive linemen to play almost every snap during a spring game is not very smart, and so the Gators might have to scale the game way back. That wouldn't be much fun for the large crowd that will show up, but there might not be much else Muschamp can do.

"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,'' Muschamp said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "We’re adjusting as we go as far as this coming Saturday and even with the spring game. 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."

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