Offensive Depth Chart has Surprises

Head coach Will Muschamp spent a good bit of time with the Florida media on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming spring practice sessions with his second football squad as the Gators' head coach. Muschamp had a few news worthy notes to pass along about his team, some we expected and some we didn't. here is what we heard about the offense.

The Florida Gators will have an entirely new starting backfield in 2012 and that will be the focus on the spring. But, there is a lot more going on as well, and here is a breakdown by position of just what they think of the offense before spring drills start.


#12 Jacoby Brissett (SO, 6-3, 229) OR #6 Jeff Driskel (SO, 6-4, 232)
Note:No distinction between the two at this time. Sophomore Tyler Murphy is third on the depth chart with a chance to play. Different jersey numbers for the first two.

Muschamp on the Quarterbacks: "Obviously we have a quarterback battle going into springs. Jeff [Driskel] and Jacoby [Brissett] will split reps, and we'll name a starter when we're ready. Whether that's spring, summer, fall camp I, don't know. We would like to declare a starter and move forward with it, but we'll name that when it's ready. And obviously Brent does an outstanding job with the quarterbacks, and we will evaluate that, he and I, as far as what's best for our football team. We want to name a starter, but we're going to do what we need to win games. If we've got to play both guys, we'll play both guys, and we will make that determination as we work through this. But both guys have had good off seasons and very pleased with their progress to this point and where we are."


#23 Mike Gillislee (SR, 5-11, 201); #33 Mack Brown (SO, 5-11, 210)
Note: Brown is up about five pounds from last year's weight.

Muschamp on the Running Backs: At the running back position, Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown…. obviously our running game may change a little bit as far as the inside zone, some power and some inside track running game because of the size of our backs.


#8 Trey Burton (JR, 6-3, 227) OR #41 Hunter Joyer (SO, 5-10, 244)
Note: Burton is a surprise option to start here, but will be utilized a lot anyway. He is also down about 8 pounds from a year ago.

Muschamp on the Fullbacks: "Trey [Burton] will play the H, as well, also in the slot, and we'll move him around a little bit because of the things that he provides for us. Hunter Joyer can be a guy that can play in our one back sets, again, a guy that really, really pleased with him. He also will throw the shot for the track team in the off season at the conclusion of spring ball."


#11 Jordan Reed (R-JR< 6-3, 239); #20 Omarius Hines (R-SR, 6-2, 223) OR #88 Clay Burton (SO, 6-4, 242)
Note: Hines changed his number from #82. Hines will also be used at running back and was mentioned in that role by Will Muschamp on Wednesday. Burton is down about 15 pounds from a year ago when they were trying to beef him up a bit to play on the defensive line.

Muschamp on the Tight Ends:"Jordan Reed, good off season. Omarius Hines is a guy that we're going to play at tight end and Brent is going to use him in the slot, as well, but he's a guy that we're going to give an opportunity to at running back a little bit. He's an explosive athlete, a guy that's we need to get more out of him as a football player, and that's including on special teams and everything we do within the organization. Clay Burton had a nice off season, really has developed his body."


#4 Andre Debose (R-JR, 5-11, 186); #89 Stephen Alli (R-JR, 6-6, 217)
Note: Nothing really new here except Alli is down about five pounds from a year ago.


#85 Frankie Hammond (R-SR, 6-1, 185); #13 Latroy Pittman (FR, 6-0, 201)
Note: Latroy has his number and comes in at a solid 201 pounds which backs up the notion that he is a physical receiver.


#1 Quinton Dunbar (R-SO, 6-1, 183); #83 Solomon Patton (JR, 5-9, 169)
Note:Dunbar is the new #1 on offense. This is definitely the smallest of the receiver positions on the field.

Muschamp on the Receivers: "I think that Quinton and Andre are certainly capable of (making plays) and Frankie. They're guys that have played. Again, you really want to look at, from the standpoint of your growth process as a college football player. Although Andre was a sophomore, he didn't play much as a freshman. He didn't play much receiver. So really you look at last year, that was kind of his freshman season of really playing and being relied to be a consistent player in the SEC. So he needs now to take the next step. He's played now. He's been in the big picture. He's been on the road. He's done all the things. Same thing with Quinton Dunbar; he was red shirted, and last year was his first year of really playing, and we were relying on him to be a big time playmaker as a freshman. That does happen some, but not as much as normal. So now he's been through that process. Now he's been through another off season program. He's been in the weight program now for two years, so he's gotten a little stronger. Now he's built his confidence up. Frankie Hammond is a senior. He's a guy that needs to continue to come on for us. You look at those three guys, and Solomon Patton, we need to find a role for him. I think the thing that excites me with (offensive coordinator Brent Pease) with some of the different packages we look at from a personnel standpoint of where he can fit in and go do some things for us. Stephen Alli needs to step in and do some things for us. Latroy Pittman has been a guy we've been pleased with."


#77 Matt Patchan (R-JR, 6-6, 279) OR #73 Xavier Nixon (SR, 6-6, 309)
Note: : Patchan still needs some weight gain but a good sign that he is healthy for spring ball after injury during bowl week. He will play both left and right tackle this spring. Nixon is up over 20 pounds from his playing weight in the bowl game in January.

LEFT GUARD #66 James Wilson (R-SR, 6-4, 327); #50 Sam Robey (R-SR, 6-3, 297)
Note: : Wilson is a surprise this spring getting a 6th year of eligibility and also gets the nod to start after a very promising bowl game in January. Robey will double train at guard and center. CENTER: #74 Jonotthan Harrison (R-JR, 6-3, 309); #64 Kyle Koehne (R-JR, 6-5, 305)
Note: : Harrison was walking around at Pro-Day and was visibly bigger and more chiseled than a year ago. In fact, he is up 15 pounds from his listed weight and looks solid and menacing. Koehne will play both center and guard this spring.

RIGHT GUARD: #67 Jon Halapio (R-JR, 6-3, 325); #74 Jessamen Dunker (FR, 6-4, 313)
Note: : Not much here except Dunker is down about 10 pounds or so from the time he reported in January.

RIGHT TACKLE: #75 Chaz Green (R-SO, 6-5, 300) OR #77 Matt Patchan (R-JR, 6-6, 279)
Note: As noted above Patchan will play both tackle spots this spring. Green is down about six pounds from a year ago.

Muschamp On the offensive Line: "Matt [Patchan] and Xavier [Nixon] both played tackle for us. We're looking at Matt as more of a swing guy that can play right and left at this time… James Wilson has been granted an extra year. He'll be back and be slotted in there at left guard. He really played well for us as the year rolled along, is a physical guy, a guy that's got a little more girth and can get some movement… Sam Robey is a guy that you can see the asterisk there, will cross train at guard and center… Kyle Koehne will cross train at center and guard. John Harrison is back obviously at center. We expect for Kyle to give him some great competition there at right guard… Jon Halapio has had a good off season. Jessamen Dunker is another good offensive lineman we've had in mid year. Real pleased with his progress. He's a guy that's 6'4", a 315-pounder that really moves well. He's a big guy that can move… And then Chaz Green, who played probably his best football in the Bowl game, really progressed there, has had a good off season. Trip Thurman is another young man that we're excited about that will figure in the right tackle position or possibly an inside position."


Injuries and out for the spring on offense include… OL #69 Tommy Jordan, OL #77 Ian Silberman, and walk-on OL Cole Gilliam

Muschamp said sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard is on an indefinite suspension.

"A.C. Leonard is still suspended from our football team," he said. "He's working through some measures to work his way back as far as being a part of our team again. There's no timetable on that, and it's not a right to be a part of our team, it's a privilege, and you've got to act a certain way. He's working through that, and he's jumping through a lot of things to get back on this football team. I've got zero timetable, and no decision will be made on fall for a while. This is a day to day, week to week operation for me."

There is no mention of a few players in the spring depth chart, but Muschamp talked about these guys a little on Tuesday.

WR #80 Ja'Juan Story (R-FR, 6-3, 206) is a big target and has the size the Gators don't have a lot of in the receiver group. "(He) needs to step up for us," Muschamp said of Story. "He was red shirted last year. Let's see what he can do."

QB #10 Tyler Murphy (R-SO, 6-2, 209) will remain at the position, despite his athletic ability and the fact two others in his same class are ahead of him on the depth chart. Muschamp likes Murphy's work ethic.

"Tyler is battling in there with Jacoby and Jeff and obviously they've kind of distanced themselves a little bit, but I'm very pleased with Tyler," Muschamp said. "He's a very good athlete, very smart, very dependable guy and a guy that certainly will get his opportunity and reps in the spring.

The highest rated player in Florida's 2012 recruiting class came in with a lot of buzz and at a position of great need. OT D.J. Humphries is making his mark early and before practice even starts.

"DJ Humphries is a young man that will figure into that position mid year and really looked good in the off season program," Muschamp said. "Mature, smart, driven, everything we thought in the recruiting process. He certainly has displayed that. We'll see how he does when the pads come on."

Staying on the offensive line, Trip Thurman is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman that could play a few spots on the line but isn't designated in the two-deep just yet.

"Trip Thurman is another young man that we're excited about that will figure in the right tackle position or possibly an inside position," Muschamp said.

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