Spring game format changed

Injuries on the offensive line have forced the coaches to be creative with their design of practices, and now it is changing the spring game. Florida has just six healthy offensive linemen to close spring practice. There aren't enough numbers to facilitate a full scrimmage, so the Gators will have an open practice, which will include some scrimmage segments, on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The set up will be different than past years.

The Gator Walk will still take place at 10:30 a.m. despite the lack of a true spring game. The Gators will host an alumni flag football game at 12:30 p.m.

When the alumni game is over, the Florida players will take the field shortly after 1 p.m. and go through the normal beginning to a practice. It will start with field goal and PAT work in front of a live crowd. Florida head coach Will Muschamp was happy with Brad Phillips' kicking in recent practices and said Austin Hardin has done good things, but Saturday will give them a chance to kick in front of a crowd. After kicking drills, the Gators will go into punt teamwork.

Practice will then gear towards the passing game with some one-on-one work between wide receivers and defensive backs. There will also be one-on-one work between the offensive and defensive lines.

The short scrimmage will then begin. The coaches will place the ball at the 35-yard line and let the offense go to work in a normal scrimmage. If the offense is stopped on third down, the coaches will move the ball back to the 35-yard line and let the unit start over.

Florida will then turn to red zone work with one-on-ones and situations work with the full offense. When the red zone work is over, the Gators will move the ball back to the 35-yard line and work for "eight or 12 plays" for two series to work on getting the ball down the field.

It will be back to special teams work after that, working on punt drills with some live punt coverage work. The Gators will then go through kickoff drills and go through two live kickoffs with the first team on each side.

It'll be back to the scrimmage reps with the ball at the 50-yard line after that, followed by red zone seven-on-seven work with one-on-one offensive and defensive line work going on at the same time.

Practice will end with a one-minute drill, setting the offense up in different situations where it needs a field goal to tie the game in the final minutes.

Muschamp will wear a microphone along with wide receivers coach Joker Phillips and running backs coach Brian White, so that the coaches can help explain the drills.

The event will also be free instead of the $5 charge previously planned. Fans that have already bought tickets can get a refund through the Florida ticket office.

"It will be a good, functional day for our guys," Muschamp said. "Good for our fans. If we were having a normal scrimmage, this is what we would do. We would take more snaps consecutively, but still mix the special teams stuff in with what we're already doing.

"We always end with a game situation in the fourth quarter tied ballgame type of deal. We won't do that as much, because of the consecutive snaps, which I don't think would be very productive for us."

INJURY REPORT: Offensive lineman Trip Thurman had surgery done on Monday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Muschamp expected it to be a four-month recovery process and for Thurman to be healthy for fall camp.

"He works hard," Muschamp said of Thurman. "He's done a good job for us this spring. Real pleased with his progress."

Defensive back Cody Riggs is dealing with a hamstring injury and remains day-to-day. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard has a hamstring injury and will be out for the rest of the spring. Muschamp said there is some scar tissue at the top of his hamstring that dates back to his time in high school.

Cornerback Jeremy Brown has a groin injury and remains day-to-day.

Fightin Gators Top Stories