Orange and Blue Debut Becomes Glorified Practice; Are the Days of a Spring ‘Game’ Gone?

The Orange and Blue Debut was more spring practice and less spring game this time around, and it may be a sign of things to come.

Jeff Driskel - Florida Gators

Under former head coach Urban Meyer, the Florida Gators’ annual spring game took on a differing look depending on the whim of the coach. In mid-game, if Meyer wanted the field goal unit to keep kicking and kicking and kicking, they did just that. Under current head coach Will Muschamp, not much has changed. Gone may be the days of a true game and here to stay may be a glorified practice designed to end the spring in front of Florida fans in The Swamp.

There were reasons for the altered format and it had mostly to do with injuries. A depleted offensive line only allowed the Gators a practice environment. Without the ability to run out two full units, Florida turned the spring game into a scrimmage at times and a practice session at others. It came down to whatever works and whatever you can do with what you have.

There’s little to take from the Gators’ spring game, and even less so if it truly becomes a practice session like it did on Saturday. For every spring star that doesn’t bring that talent with him to the fall, there is a player that is relatively quiet during the spring semester only to break out when the games that count begin. Feel free to be disappointed now or overly excited at the prospect of a breakout star, but keep most of whatever it is you are thinking bottled up until August 31.

It’s hard to gauge exactly how much quarterback Jeff Driskel has improved. The passing game has to develop; that much we know. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease may find himself looking for work elsewhere if it doesn’t. It starts and ends with Driskel as he will enter the 2013 season as the undisputed leader of the offense. That wasn’t the case before the 2012 season. An 11-2 record may have given the soon-to-be junior some confidence heading into 2013, but now he needs to make the plays to go with it. Driskel can use his running ability to his advantage, but with a talented stable of running backs, he may not need to. He needs to develop as a passer and stretch the field. We’re all waiting for the fireworks to come back to Florida’s offense. And we’re long past waiting patiently.

Speaking of the running backs, the starting job belongs to Matt Jones and that’s a good thing. Jones came on strong in limited action as a freshman, ending the 2012 regular season with his coming out party in the victory over instate rival Florida State. Jones has distanced himself from the pack during spring practice, but there’s still talent behind him. Mack Brown has stuck around and hopes to earn carries and then there’s the player we’ve all been waiting for years to see in a Gators’ uniform. Kelvin Taylor didn’t disappoint on Saturday and we all hope he has many more successful Saturdays in his future.

Like Taylor, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson enrolled early and was able to participate in spring practice. Unfortunately for Robinson, he missed eight practices due to a high-ankle sprain. Despite not being entirely healthy, the freshman was still able to show what he can bring to offense on Saturday. And fans weren’t the only ones impressed by Robinson. Muschamp is ready for Robinson to step in right away and cornerback Jaylen Watkins had the following to say:

“He got an injury and instead of backing down, he took on the challenge to go into the training room and get better and pushed out there while he was hurting. Today he was limping and still making great catches. When you see a guy like that, you know he has something great.” – Jaylen Watkins, Cornerback, Florida Gators

The spring has ended for the Gators and now the true wait begins. We have more than four months before we see the orange and blue in action again and all we have until then are the memories of the spring game that wasn’t a game at all. That leaves us plenty of time to discuss debate the good and the bad we expect to see from the Gators in the fall. It may be premature, but it feels mildly appropriate to break out the first one of these for the 2013 season now–just win.

We Have A Winner In Our Rename The Orange And Blue Debut Contest!

Congrats to Patrick who submitted the winning entry in our contest to rename the Orange and Blue Debut. Patrick’s entry of The “I’m Not Giving Up Football For Lent” Game took home 49% of the vote for the win. He is the lucky winner of a Florida Gators flag courtesy of CVS Flags.

Thanks to everyone that entered and everyone that voted. Hopefully we’ll have more of these in the future and be able to provide you with even more items to Gatorize yourself or your home.

Vote Now In Our Contest To Rename The Orange And Blue Debut

Last week, we asked you to help us rename the Orange and Blue Debut. While we love anything and everything Florida Gators, we aren’t fans of rhyming when there isn’t music involved. You gave us your thoughts and we narrowed it down to three. Take a minute and pick your best from the finalists below.

What would you rename the Orange and Blue Debut?

    The "I'm Not Giving Up Football for Lent" Game (49%, 22 Votes)

    The Chomp at The Swamp (38%, 17 Votes)

    War of the Reptiles (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

Loading ... Loading ...

*And yes, we’re very aware one of these rhymes, but it works. What can we say? We make the rules up as we go. I guess we’re just not fans of bad rhyming.

This contest is sponsored by CVS Flags who is giving away a Florida Gators flag to the winner. Thanks to all that entered and to CVS Flags for their support.

Rename The Orange And Blue Debut For A Chance To Win A Florida Gators Flag

We aren’t the biggest fans of rhyming around here. It has its place in the world, but athletics may not be it. There are better taglines than “The Foundation for the Gator Nation” and we keep our fingers crossed that someone will come to their senses and stop calling it the “Orange and Blue Debut.” They may work for some, but not for us and that’s where you come in.

It’s your chance to rename the Orange and Blue Debut. We’re pretty sure that Florida won’t take any of your suggestions, but we’re also confident there’s enough creativity out there (and humor) to come up with some great choices. So give us your best shot.

Leave your best attempt (or attempts) in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a Florida Gators flag from CVS Flags. Enter as many times as you wish. The TBG staff will pick the best three (be sure to hit the Thumbs Up to like the ones you think are the best because that may just sway our judging) and then you’ll be able to vote for which one you like the best. The winner will get the flag linked to above sent directly to them from CVS Flags.

Enter early and enter often. We’ll be taking submissions through Friday, so do your best (or worst).

Gators Defensive Tackle Nick Alajajian Has Wrist Surgery

Senior Nick Alajajian underwent wrist surgery on Tuesday. The Florida Gators defensive tackle had been having trouble with his wrist throughout spring practice. With the Orange and Blue Debut having come and gone, now was the perfect time for Alajajian to have the surgery and have the time to get healthy for fall practice.

Already a senior, Alajajian’s career at Florida seems to have gone by almost too quickly. Having spent his first three years as a reserve offensive lineman, Alajajian made the switch to defensive tackle in preparation for the 2012 season.

He has appeared in 32 games and got his first start in the Gator Bowl following the conclusion of the 2011 season. Although Alajajian will provide depth at DT, his path to significant playing time won’t be any easier. He shares the position with Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Omar Hunter, Leon Orr and Damien Jacobs. JaFar Mann and Dante Phillips will join the Gators in the fall.

For more Florida Gators coverage, like the TBG Facebook page and follow TBG on Twitter.

Injury Report: Ronald Powell Tears ACL; Florida Gators Defender Out 4-6 Months

Florida Gators defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell experienced a setback to his rise to superstar status when it was discovered that he tore the ACL in his left knee. Powell suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut, but it was first thought it was just a sprain. After an MRI, it was revealed the junior’s injury was more serious and Powell will miss four-to-six months.

There is never a good time to tear an ACL, but April is better than August in Powell’s case. If he can recover completely from the injury, there’s a chance he won’t miss a single game of the 2012 season. However, it was only a few years ago that a torn ACL was considered a 12-month injury. With Powell’s new found determination and dedication to redefining his play, he will look to take care of his knee and do everything in his power to limit his time away from football-related action.

While many would say Powell has yet to live up to the lofty expectations that came with being the nation’s top high school player, he has shown flashes of greatness even if at times they may have seemed few and far between. Those flashes coupled with his outstanding speed and pass rushing ability provide hope though. Powell has always had potential and during this particular offseason, it seemed as if he was more than ready to live up to it. This is a setback definitely, but head coach Will Muschamp has said the defender’s spirits remain high and Powell is already working hard to get back to 100%.

“Ronald is in good spirits and is very eager to do whatever is necessary to have a healthy, speedy recovery.” – Will Muschamp, Florida Gators Head Coach

For more Florida Gators coverage, like the TBG Facebook page and follow TBG on Twitter.

Orange And Blue Debut To Feature Football, Recruiting, And Fun With Rhyming

Today the 2012 football season begins, in a way. The Florida Gators spring game – rhymingly called the Orange and Blue Debut – takes place, giving us a glimpse into Will Muschamp’s second season as head coach. It’s an exhibition for the fans just as much as it is for the coaches and players. While the staff gets a chance to see how spring practice is paying off, it isn’t always an indicator of what we’ll see when September rolls around.

It’s a special day for fans and a chance for the players to get out on the field in The Swamp and experience at least a little bit of what a real game day has to offer. There will be a lot to learn from what we see on Saturday, but also just as much that will be hidden from us as Muschamp and his staff iron out the wrinkles and continue to plan for the 2012 season.

Go to the game, watch it on television, read the recaps later, enjoy your weekend. The Bull Gator is caught in the middle of HTML fun, but we’ll be watching and analyzing and critiquing and hoping for glorious news from the recruiting side of things.

Basketball season ended recently, baseball season is in full swing, but today is about football and we absolutely love it. Go Gators!

For more Florida Gators coverage, like the TBG Facebook page and follow TBG on Twitter.

2012 Orange And Blue Debut Set For April 7 At 1:00 PM

It took a lot for me to type out “Orange & Blue Debut.” Yes, that’s what it’s called, but I’m not a big fan of rhyming. The Orange & Blue Game was fine with me. No need for change, but alas we need catchy things in our lives and from that came Debut. Coaches and players do make their debuts in the game, so it makes sense, but it’s also not a children’s book. Okay, rant over.

The 2012 spring game will be played in The Swamp on Saturday, April 7 at 1:00 PM. Tickets will be available for $5 the day of the game or you can order them online at GatorZone.

The game itself is sure to feature two of the most important players on the Gators roster in 2012 – Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel. It would be safe to assume the two will quarterback opposite teams as they both make their case to be named the Florida starter. New offensive coordinator Brent Pease will be keeping a close eye on both as he attempts to determine which one is the better fit for the offense.

The entire staff of Hail Florida Hail (there is actually more than one of us; I just haven’t updated the list yet) will be in attendance and odds are we’ll be watching the replay on Sun Sports on Sunday, April 8 at 9:30 AM too.

For more Florida Gators coverage, like our Facebook page and follow @TheBullGator on Twitter.