When Will Muschamp came to the podium at Florida’s media day last year, he came with a list of injured players. Jeff Driskel was recovering from an appendectomy. Running back Matt Jones was dealing with a viral infection. And that was just before fall camp started.
The injuries continued to mount through fall camp. Wide receiver Andre Debose and linebacker Matt Rolin both suffered torn ACLs, and more injuries followed after that -- some serious and some that took just a few days to recover.
“It was unfortunate,” Chaz Green said. “And we’ve definitely been fortunate up to this point. It’s just something that happens with football. Last year we did have a lot of injuries, but we don’t like to look at it as an excuse.”
Green was another player on the long list of the injured at the end of camp. He tore his labrum and took a redshirt last season. The injuries were especially clear on the offensive line. Jon Halapio played through a torn pec last season while D.J. Humphries and Tyler Moore both suffered injuries that caused them to miss multiple games.
The only benefit of it was that this year’s offensive line has more experience. Players played out of position last year, and now that they’re all healthy this fall, it adds to the depth of the unit.
“We have more depth, though, and everybody’s healthy,” Gren said. “We feel like across the board we just have more depth on offense as a whole. We have enough for three groups on both sides of the ball pretty much at every position.”
Getting Green back is a big deal for the line. He’s slated to start at right tackle on a veteran offensive line with all five starters are seniors or juniors. His teammates understand how much he means to the group, having a fifth-year senior that has been in the program for so long.
“That experience, playing beside somebody with a lot of knowledge for the game -- it helps out a lot,” Trenton Brown said.
The group has struggled to protect quarterback Jeff Driskel over the last two years, and they feel better prepared to keep him upright this season.
“It’s something as offensive linemen you want to pride yourselves on, keep the quarterback clean,” Green said. “It’s something every year we go into we talk about it. I would say this offseason we worked really hard as an offensive line just to get in shape and make sure everybody is ready for this new offense.”