The beginning of the 2013 football season is closing fast and the Gators are slowly preparing for their matchup against Toledo.
Coaches, players, and fans alike will be expecting big things this season after finishing 11-2 overall in 2012 including a trip to a BCS bowl game. The Gators may finally see some consistency from year to year with Jeff Driskel set as the starting quarterback and offensive coordinator Brent Pease back for his second year to run the offense.
However, the one consistency this off-season has been the injury bug. Beginning with the viral infection for starting running back Matt Jones and a partially torn pectoral for offensive guard Jon Halapio, there have been many questions as to who will be there for the Gators.
The past week was particularly tough for the Gators as they lost two key players to season ending injuries. In two non-contact situations, senior wide receiver Andre Debose and freshman linebacker Matt Rolin both tore their ACL’s. With this being Debose’s senior year, a medical red-shirt for a potential sixth season could be a possibility.
Gator coach Will Muschamp also said Matt Jones has been doing some running and exercising but is still unable to practice, and his status will be unknown for another week or so. Also this week cornerback Jaylen Watkins sprained his ankle and could miss a week or two, along with defensive lineman Damien Jacobs who sprained his knee. Even kickers have been hurt as senior kicker Brad Phillips slightly pulled his groin, and with his injury freshman Austin Hardin has slowly gained the edge in the kicking battle.
With Driskel returning from his appendectomy, Muschamp talked about his progress and what he’s seen from his junior QB.
Switching over to the defensive side of the ball, sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison rejoined the team this past week for team meetings. However the linebacker is still suspended and working to get back on the field. With a lot of talk of the down areas of camp so far, there have been strong points starting with the secondary and defensive line and Muschamp explains why these positions are so important.
Despite the injuries the Gators are progressing forward and as Muschamp says, one man down, one man up.
Driskel says he is fine after his appendectomy. As of right now, he is doing more and more every day and practice, and says he could even take a hit now if he had to but of course UF will be very careful with their starting quarterback. Driskel discusses just how he feels at the current time and where he’s at in preparation.
With Driskel returning to full go, the Gators hope to see many more improvements during the next couple of weeks. Week 1 against Toledo is inching closer and closer and barring further injuries it looks as though this team will be ready to go.