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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

O-line injuries pile up, group in flux for spring game

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Florida’s biggest players should expect the least amount of breaks

during UF’s spring scrimmage next weekend.

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Guard Nick Alajajian suffered a torn meniscus Wednesday, and tackle

Xavier Nixon has been limited by a sprained ankle — leaving the

Gators with just seven functional offensive linemen. Nixon should

be back either Saturday or early next week, but Alajajian is

expected to miss three months. 

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With the position group so thin this spring, coach Will Muschamp

said several linemen will play for both the orange and blue squads

in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage April 9. 

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Fans should also expect to see plenty of Chris Rainey, as he is the

team’s only scholarship running back still practicing. Mike

Gillislee (stress fracture in his foot), Mack Brown (broken fibula)

and Mike Blakely (arthroscopic shoulder surgery) are out, and

senior Jeff Demps is running track.

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Muschamp and the rest of the coaching staff met Friday morning to

discuss how they would structure the Orange and Blue Debut.

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“We need a good, functional day within teaching our schemes,”

Muschamp said. “I don’t want to get a guy in a bad mismatch issue

and you can’t get the ball off in some situations. That certainly

can happen, as thin as we are.”

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addition to Alajajian and Nixon, offensive linemen Matt Pathchan

(wrist), David Young (knee) and James Wilson (knee) have been

limited this spring. 

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“Injuries are part of the game,” Muschamp said. “There’s nobody

feeling sorry for the Gators now, I can tell you that. … You’ve got

to have other guys step up. One man’s misfortune is another man’s

opportunity.”

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Other injuries: According to Muschamp, Brown

successfully underwent surgery Wednesday. Sophomore receiver Andre

Debose, who has sat out this week with a sprained ankle, should be

back Saturday or early next week, Muschamp said.

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