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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Spring ‘game’ offers Gators chance to evaluate

GAINESVILLE - The University of Florida’s Orange and Blue Game, the annual end of spring football practice, won’t really be much of a game today, but more an open practice with drills and scrimmaging. The change was made because of injuries on the offensive line. There will be some “normal football,’’ with two series between eight to 12 plays, Gators coach Will Muschamp said. The event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is free. Though the format might be a disappointment to fans, spring football isn’t really about a game, anyway. It’s about answering questions.
Florida, 11-2 last season, suffered some deep losses on defense, has a 1,000-yard running back to replace, needs a place-kicker and still has to find a way to become more of a big-play offense. Some solutions, Muschamp indicates, have been found. So, today is a chance to finish the spring showing what’s been accomplished, game or no game. “This is no different than if we would have a scrimmage,” Muschamp said. “To me, it’s about getting good-on-good work. It’s about getting your best players going against your best players. We’re going to get one-on-one work. We’re going to get red zone one-on-one work. We’re going to get move-the-ball situations. We’re going to create some situations.’’ Among the topics of interest: The kicking issue will go into the fall, after Caleb Sturgis ran out of eligibility. “Certainly, no one has taken the job yet,” Muschamp said, “but (I have) been very pleased with our progress there.” Kelvin Taylor, a running back recruit who enrolled early, has shown he’s capable of big things. UF lost Mike Gillislee to graduation. For now, though, it seems like Matt Jones of Armwood High has the position if he can hold onto it in the fall. Defensively, the secondary will remain a question going into the summer. But some new stars at other positions have stepped up, including linebacker Antonio Morrison, linebacker/end Dante Fowler and defensive lineman Jon Bullard. Demarus Robinson has been hobbled, but he already has the Gators excited about his prospects at receiver. The experiment to play defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy at wideout seems like a go for the fall. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is making progress with a full spring as the starter. Last spring, it was a competition with split reps between him and Jacoby Brissett, who has transferred.
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