As the Gators prepare to open the season Saturday at home against Toledo, head coach Will Muschamp released the team’s season-opening depth chart Monday.
Here are a few noteworthy observations:
- Offensive tackle Chaz Green was not listed on the two-deep depth chart. It turns out Green suffered a torn labrum and will be out for the season. Transfer Tyler Moore will be the starting right tackle.
- Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne will be the starter at right guard until Jon Halapio returns from a torn pectoral. Halapio will miss at the least first two games of the season.
- Freshmen running backs Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane were not listed on the depth chart. It is appearing more and more likely that at least one of the two, if not both, could redshirt this season. On a positive note, it seems projected starter Matt Jones could return for the Gators second game of the season against Miami. He has been progressing well since being diagnosed with a viral infection a few weeks ago.
- Quinton Dunbar, Trey Burton and Solomon Patton will be the starters at wide receiver. True freshmen Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood and Chris Thompson should receive playing time as well.
- There are not many surprises on the defensive side of the ball. Although, redshirt junior Leon Orr will start at nose tackle over senior Damien Jacobs. A knee injury has sidelined Jacobs for much of camp but he is expected to return to practice this week.
- Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin appears to have won the starting kicker job over senior walk-on Brad Phillips. However, the battle will likely continue throughout the season, with Hardin just getting the first crack at it.
- Muschamp also pointed out that sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison, who was arrested twice this offseason, had his suspension reduced from two games to one. He will be back on the field for the Gators second game against Miami.
Overall, there are not many surprises. Losing Green would’ve been a huge blow last season, but Florida has recruited well along the offensive line and the depth is much improved from last season. What may actually be surprising is the situation with the freshman running backs. Both Taylor and Lane are highly touted and there is no denying their talent. But the fact that a former walk-on (Mark Herndon) and a converted safety (Valdez Showers) are ahead of them certainly says something. Perhaps it is just Muschamp’s way of keeping them on their toes. However, it just makes it that much more important that Jones is expected to return from his illness sooner than expected.