Lack of offensive line depth was a known – and thoroughly discussed – issue entering spring practice for the Florida Gators. As it turns out, it has now become an even bigger problem for the program after redshirt sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson was ruled out indefinitely on Monday.
According to head coach Jim McElwain, who did not address the media on Friday due to the holiday weekend but held a press conference on Monday, Johnson was banged up during Friday’s practice, suffering a “stinger-ish type deal” that caused his fingers to go numb. Doctors that evaluated Johnson “found out there were some things that he might have had well before” the stinger in his shoulder area. Further evaluation is now needed.
“We took a pretty big blow in the O-line with Rod Johnson – kind of went down, got banged up a little bit. We’ve got to check on some pre-existing injury-type stuff there to see where he’s going to be at,” McElwain said.
“He’s out indefinitely, obviously, until we have more information on it.”
Florida entered spring practice with eight scholarship offensive linemen, seven healthy enough to take the field. With Johnson out for the foreseeable future, the Gators will be forced to operate with just six bodies on scholarship, which gives even more credence to McElwain’s decision not to hold a traditional spring game.
“That obviously hurts us in an area where we didn’t have a lot of people to begin with. That will really alter kind of what we’re able to do Saturday [and] moving forward,” he said.
Florida will run offense and defense on Saturday during the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut, mixing in two-minute drills, end-of-game situations and the like in what will wind up being a glorified practice at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Though UF will keep score, like it did a year ago, this will be the third-straight year that the Gators will not have a traditional spring game due to depth issues or injuries.