Two fans covered in orange and blue glitter cheer on the Gators during the Gator vs Arkansas game October 5, 2013. (photo by Sally Ince)

Gators Football Looks Ahead To Spring Game

The Florida Gator football team came into Tuesday’s spring practice with one agenda in mind; finish strong. The Billy Napier led Gators were in high gear as they prepare for their annual Orange and Blue game on Thursday. With free admission, fans will get the chance to witness a new-look Florida squad.

A team that is coming off the Anthony Richardson Era and will be introducing a new quarterback at the helm. However, Napier has not committed to a starter just yet. But, graduate transfer Graham Mertz and Jake Miller III will duke it out for all to see Thursday.

Mertz, whom throughout camp received high praises from teammates and coaches alike, will get his first taste of what the Swamp has to offer.

Florida Tight Ends Battle Injuries

Napier and staff entered the second year of spring camp with a similar issues as last year; help at the tight end position. The departure of Kemore Gamble from a season ago left UF  looking for a replacement. With little experience among the group, Napier turned to Dante Zanders.

Zanders made the transition from defensive line to be Florida’s co-starter at tight end. Along with Zanders, senior Keon Zipperer became a co-starter and Johnathon Odom received some action as well.

With a deeper insight into Zanders shift into a new position, newly appointed tight end coach Russ Callaway spoke about the guys he coaches.

Callaway, who took over after the departure of William Peagler has spent most of the spring camp developing new talent at the position. The 35 year-old coach recently expressed his new role under Napier.

Since the start of camp, the Gators has been without their top contributors at the position.

Odom and Zipperer are both recovering from apparent knee injuries. Zipperer will likely be sidelined for some time as Napier mentioned the injury is ‘severe.’ Meanwhile, there is hope among Napier and staff that Zanders’ will return sooner rather than later as he suffered a shoulder injury during camp.

With the various injuries in the room, UF will turn to some young talent at the position. Redshirt freshmen Arlis Boardingham and Hayden Hansen have picked up the work load thus far. Both have made impressive strides as they enter year two said Callaway.

The duo of Hansen and Boardingham should see a significant amount of action during Thursday’s spring game. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30pm from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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