Spring Practice Improves Line of Scrimmage

Following games last season, Will Muschamp was frustrated. Even if Florida recorded a win during the 7-6 campaign, it wasn't hard to notice Muschamp's frustration because of what was struggling to happen. He wants his offense to run the football and his defense to stop the run. The Gators struggled to do either last season, but the head coach is optimistic that spring practice improved both.

"There's no question we're better," Will Muschamp said on Tuesday during the SEC Coaches' Teleconference. "How much better we are, we'll find out more in the fall when it's live bullets and we're going against some of the teams we've got to face in our league."

The talk of spring practice was the offensive line. Most of that improvement came from another year of learning on campus. Dan Wenger, who transferred to Gainesville to play one season, is the only offensive lineman that graduated and moved to the next level.

The rest of the line returns. Natural progression helps them improve and get stronger simply by being another year older. First-year strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman has drawn rave reviews for helping them grower stronger and more physically mature.

First-year offensive line coach Tim Davis, who made the move to Florida from Utah, has also made an immediate impact.

Instant changes from last year's team have helped players make quick improvements.

"We're much better up front offensively," Muschamp said. "We're returning some guys, and hiring Tim Davis up front—a guy I've known for a long time. We're really pleased with our progress on the offensive line."

With all the positives of the run game behind the strong offensive line, it also works the other way for Muschamp. He wasn't thrilled with the way the Florida defensive line stopped the run during the spring, but they also showed progress. The unit also did it with starting defensive tackle Dominique Easley out and recovering from a torn ACL.

"There's no question—if you look at us playing on the first level, climbing to the second level and securing blocks, we're running more of a downhill style," Muschamp said.

Part of helping the offensive line comes through more depth. The Gators took another step toward having the desired depth when the transfer of Max Garcia was officially announced on Monday.

Garcia gives the Gators 14 offensive linemen on scholarship this fall. Muschamp would like to be in the range of 15-17 offensive linemen on scholarship. Xavier Nixon, Sam Robey and James Wilson are the three seniors that will graduate and move on after the 2012 season. Florida currently has three offensive linemen committed and is looking for more.

The addition of Garcia gives Muschamp closer to the number of bodies he wants on roster to make practices easier.

"Max is a guy that has played before," the head coach said. "He's a good football player and an outstanding student. I'm very pleased to add him in the mix with our offensive line."

INJURY UPDATE: The only notable injury heading into the offseason is the torn ACL for Ronald Powell. Muschamp said Powell went through surgery to correct the injury on Monday and the reports were positive.

"We'll see what the timetable is on that," Muschamp said. "If anybody can come back, it'll be Ronald. He's a very determined young man for his rehab."

ATTRITION: Muschamp said last week before speaking to the Titletown Gator Club in Gainesville that there was a chance some players could elect to transfer as he was going through exit meetings with players following spring practice.

On the teleconference Tuesday, he said that was overblown and that he isn't expecting any attrition at this time.

"That was a little blown out of proportion," Muschamp said. "What I always say is when you're in your evaluation meetings with your players, there are always things that come up as far as homesick, depth chart and different things. At this point, we don't have any, but you never say never on these situations."

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