The Gator football team begins practice Friday for its 2013 season. Gator coach Will Muschamp enters his third season at Florida with an 18-8 record through his first two seasons.
The Orange and Blue will be without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for a week or two after needing emergency surgery for an appendectomy. With Driskel missing the opening of camp junior Tyler Murphy will see the majority of the first team snaps until Driskel returns.
Muschamp says there’s nothing to worry about and that Driskel will miss minimal time.
Muschamp also announced that several players will be unavailable at the start of fall camp today. Starting tailback Matt Jones has been ruled out indefinitely with a viral infection. Starting right guard Jon Halapio is also out for an unknown period of time after partially tearing his pectoral muscle while right guard Max Garcia is out with a back issue. Offensive lineman Tripp Thurman is also not cleared to practice.
Muschamp says the timetable for Jones to return is unknown.
The Gators made some additions to the coaching staff as three former Gators will roam the sidelines in 2013. Former Gator quarterback Chris Leak, defensive lineman Duke Lemmens, and recently inducted University of Florida Athletic Hall of Famer linebacker Mike Peterson will all work as graduate assistants this season.
Muschamp talks about the additions they’ve made to improve the staff.
The Florida defense will be slighty revamped as seven starters from last year moved on from the program. One player in particular Florida will rely on is junior defensive lineman Ronald Powell, who missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a torn ACL.
Fellow defensive lineman Dominique Easley says Powell has worked hard to get back and is anxious to take the field.
Offensively, Muschamp says Florida must be more consistent throwing the football and that the wide receiver group must make improvement if the offense is to get better.
Special teams will get a new face in new coordinator Jeff Choate and replacing departed placekicker Caleb Sturgis will be important as Brad Phillips and Austin Hardin compete for that spot.
Florida opens its season August 31st at home against Toledo.