GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida has lost another offensive lineman -- and now the Gators might have to adjust their spring game plans.
Reserve offensive lineman Trip Thurman has suffered what Florida coach Will Muschamp said appears to be a serious shoulder injury, and now the Gators have only five healthy scholarship offensive linemen available. The other five are either limited, out for spring because of previous injuries, or suspended.
Because of that, the Gators’ April 6 spring game might lose some of its excitement.
“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. “We’re adjusting as we go as far as this coming Saturday [in a scrimmage]. Even with the spring game, it may be more of a practice-like atmosphere for what we’re going to do.
“ ... We’ll have scrimmage snaps. I think if we’re incorporating within the scrimmage some 7-on-7, some special teams periods where we just concentrate and let those guys get a break. Last spring, we’d go 120-130 snaps in a scrimmage. You can’t do that with five offensive linemen. That won’t be good.”
Muschamp said he did not know the extent of Thurman’s injury and was waiting for team physician Mike Moser to view the results of an MRI, but that things didn’t look good. The 6-foot-5, 313-pound Thurman wasn’t going to be a starter in 2013, but he was the No. 2 left tackle behind sophomore D.J. Humphries.
Luckily, the 6-5, 280-pound Humphries is one of the five healthy linemen. The others are starting center Jonotthan Harrison, starting right tackle Tyler Moore, reserve guard/center Kyle Koehne, and reserve tackle Quinteze Williams -- who was a defensive lineman last season before moving to the offense this spring.
Walk-on Matthew Fuchs has been pressed into duty during drills when guys need a rest.
Starting left guard Max Garcia has been bothered lately by a sore back and missed time. While he returned to practice Monday, the team will closely monitor his situation. Starting right guard Jon Halapio (shoulder) has been limited as he continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery.
Guard Jessamen Dunker, who was expected to compete for a starting spot, has been suspended since his Jan. 16 arrest for allegedly stealing a motor scooter.
Those losses are hindering the Gators a bit in practice because they cannot do 11-on-11 situational drills. They’re modifying, sometimes using only half the line or going 7-on-7 instead.
“Can you simulate some positions as far as skeleton is concerned, half-line, half-line run, do some of the things where you’re not banging on that position constantly?” Muschamp said. “You can. At the end of the day, you’ve got to play football. That’s 11-on-11 and putting the players in situations, whether it’s first-and 10, second down, third down [and] coaches are off the field letting them play the game.”