The Florida Gators‘ injuries are coming from every which direction before the 2013 season even begins. Add starting redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green to the list of starters unable to kickoff 2013 in fashion against Toledo. Green will miss the entire 2013 campaign with a torn labrum after hurting it last week in practice.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp had told the media that Green was playing at the highest level he had ever personally seen this fall camp. Green became the second starting offensive lineman who will miss the season opener.
Jon Halapio, the starting right guard as a redshirt senior, had battled back from a torn right pectoral suffered back in July, but to no avail. Halapio will not only miss the season opener, but possibly more time than originally thought after not practicing at all this fall. Halapio was supposed to come back on Sept. 21 for the conference startup with Tennessee at home, but that’s largely in doubt.
Florida not only loses 18 career starts by Green, but 44 combined with him and Halapio. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Green is no stranger to injuries after missing the Kentucky and Tennessee games in 2012 due to an ankle injury.
Florida has been dismantled with the injury bug. Starting receiver Andre Debose also suffered a season-ending injury with an ACL tear, and starting running back Matt Jones is out this week with a viral infection. It was found out today that Jones will return to the lineup next weekend against in-state rival Miami at Sun Life Stadium.
Florida is better inclined to replace starters at these position than previous seasons. Offensive line coach Tim Davis knows he has a lot of fresh bodies — that’s why he has already begin to shuffle others at different spots. Starting right guard Tyler Moore has already been moved to right tackle to fill Green’s void, with the versatile redshirt senior Kyle Koehne starting at right guard until Halapio’s entrance in 2013.
This is an interesting decision, mainly due to the fact that Koehne already had three starts under his belt at Florida. Moore, a St. Petersburg native, was the first true freshman to start a season opener for Nebraska two years ago, and had the most starts by a true freshman offensive lineman in school history with four.
The losses of Xavier Nixon and James Wilson coming into the offseason would be a story in itself, but Max Garcia and D.J Humphries have all but sealed that position down. Davis, for precautions sake, had already asked some starters to play multiple positions.
Starting left guard Max Garcia is behind left tackle D.J, Humphries, while Koehne is backing up center Jonotthan Harrison. The wildcard is thick and towering tackle Trenton Brown at 6-foot-8, 370 pounds, a junior college transfer from Georgia Military College. Brown is now in line to get a lot of reps behind both Moore and Humphries as the weeks progress.
The Gators rushed for 22 touchdowns, a grand total of almost 2,500 yards and the third-best average in the SEC at 87 yards per contest. It might be difficult for this rebuilt offensive line to expand on those numbers until Jones is fully back, but the inconsistent pass blocking from 2012 needs to better unfold after allowing 39 sacks, a chart-topping figure for a team that inches close a national championship berth.