The Florida Gators announced on Thursday that the program’s spring football game, the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut, will be structured like a game after all, despite the fact that head coach Jim McElwain insinuated multiple times over the last few weeks that it would be more like a glorified practice due to the team’s lacking depth along the offensive line.
The spring game has taken strange twists in recent offseasons. In 2013, due to a roster ravaged by injuries and the Gators only having six healthy offensive lineman, Florida basically ran a glorified practice. Last season, despite holding a strange “selection show” for marketing purposes, Florida ran first-team offense against first-team defense (and so on). Therefore, instead of there being two teams going against each other – one wearing orange, the other blue – both defenses wore orange and both offenses wore blue. That contest ended in a 23-23 tie.
For 2015, Florida announced that there will indeed be an orange team and a blue team, which will square off over four 12-minute quarters and an un-timed overtime. Between each half, the Gators will hold a 12-minute halftime. There will also be a running clock for the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
“It gives guys another opportunity to play in The Swamp, compete – people hopefully being there, that kind of thing. We’re going to try to work. We’re hanging on from the O-line standpoint, believe me,” McElwain said on Thursday.
“We’re going to try to go 12-minute quarters, actually have two teams and have as much a competitive game [as possible], using some of the special teams, but not live. Try to create an atmosphere that way and create some situations, including hopefully finishing with some overtime and work as we go with the Orange against the Blue.
“We’re still kind of piecemealing those groups together right now. And yet, I think we’ll be able to go have a good competitive game as much as we can.”
The contest will emanate from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, April 11 with “kickoff” set for 12:30 p.m. It will air live online via SEC Network + with former Florida wide receiver Chris Doering serving as a color commentator.