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Florida Football: Gators Will Turn Spring Game into Regular Practice

April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators guard Jon Halapio (67) protects the line during the first half of the Florida-Spring Game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Randy ChambersAnalyst IApril 3, 2013

The Florida Gators will not host a spring game this year. According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN, the Gators are too dinged up to participate in an actual game. Instead, it will be a typical practice that includes 11-on-11 situational scrimmages.

To me, it's about getting good-on-good work. Head coach Will Muschamp said. It's about getting your best players going against your best players. I see some of these spring games, these guys put their first group against the rest of them. You don't get any better doing that stuff. You get better when you're going good-on-good.

Florida does have a lot of youth that needs to pick up valuable experience in a time like this, but much of the reason there will be no spring game this weekend is that the offensive line is hobbled.

According to the report, there are only five healthy scholarship offensive linemen at the moment, which is simply not enough to run a game effectively.

We've got 11 offensive linemen on scholarship on campus, but with [six] of those guys being out right now, it's not fair to go in a spring game situation and ask these guys to take 60, 70 snaps in a row. Muschamp said. That's not healthy. It's not good. It's not good for our football team.

Other players that are nicked up include defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard, safety Cody Riggs and cornerback Jeremy Brown.

A spring game is the reward for players and fans after a grueling series of spring practices. After spending weeks of doing the same drills over and over, you look forward to participating in a game-like atmosphere that allows you to do something different and add a little competition to the activities.

But if guys aren't healthy enough to go and depth is an issue, Muschamp is making the right decision by canceling the game.

At the end of the day, a spring game isn't meaningful if it puts players at risk. National championships aren't won in the month of April. A victory in the spring is making sure majority of your team is able to come out of the workouts healthy and ready to go in the fall.

If that means canceling a spring game that majority of Gators fans were looking forward to, it is all worth it in the long run.

 

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