Finally, on this Saturday, for the first time in more than four months, there will be people in pads in The Swamp. Florida's spring "game," the Orange and Blue Debut, kicks off at 1 p.m. today, and the Gators will be doing their best impression of a football team despite a lack of healthy offensive linemen that has forced a change in format.
If you're going — admission's now free, so there's little reason not to go if you're in Gainesville, where the weather today is beautiful — or watching on TV, where the game will be televised on Sun Sports or FOX College Sports Atlantic, or watching online at FOX Sports Florida's website, expect to see some game elements, and scrimmage-type snaps, but no full-blown game. And expect to be heavy on fun rather than competition, as Florida's spate of offensive line injuries and the specter of Ronald Powell's knee injury in last year's spring game have likely killed much of Will Muschamp's interest in risking his players' health.
You can still watch for some of the things we outlined on offense and defense and special teams, especially Loucheiz Purifoy showing out — minimal contact should allow him to electrify. But if spring games typically aren't the best possible barometer for success (Remember when Tim Tebow outplayed Chris Leak in 2006? Remember that Jeff Driskel holds the record for best completion percentage in it?), then a spring "game" is probably even less telling. Hope for fun and for good health, and you'll enjoy the proceedings far more than you would while watching like a hawk for sensational things.
I'll be at the game for the duration, so you can expect tweets if Verizon plays fair with 25,000 people in The Swamp, but I'll also be, if everything goes right, at all four other Gators home sporting events today, hitting lacrosse for a half-hour before football, the Florida Relays briefly after football, softball after that, and gymnastics as a nightcap of sorts. I'll be tweeting from all of those events, and Instagramming to the best of my ability, so you might want to follow along with that journey.
Also, because I'm going to be on campus all day, my spring game recap is probably going to have to wait until Sunday at the earliest, and maybe Monday. I promise it'll make up for the wait with depth, regardless.