Spring is now fully in bloom, which is great news for college football fans everywhere. Practices have been ongoing for a few weeks now, and as more of them come to a close, we are now getting into each team’s spring games. The next notable team to hold such a spring game is Florida football.
The Gators had an up-and-down season in 2022, Billy Napier’s first as head coach. The Gators had some highs, such as beating then-No. 7 Utah at home to open the season, but also some very low lows like losing to Vanderbilt. A three-game losing streak to end the season had the Gators finish at 6-7, marking the first time they’ve had two straight losing seasons since the late 1970s.
Of course, Florida will be looking for a massive improvement in Year 2 under Napier. The process has already begun with spring practice and will culminate in the annual spring game. This will be fans’ best look at the team until the season, so they won’t want to miss it.
Florida Football Spring Game Info
DATE: Thursday, April 13
TIME: 7:30 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN+, SEC Network+
How to watch Florida football 2023 spring game
Now that the general info is out of the way, we can get into the nitty-gritty about what fans can expect to see on Thursday night.
To call Florida’s offseason chaotic would be underselling it just a bit. Yes, the Gators have put together solid recruiting classes from both high school and the transfer portal, ranking top 20 in each. However, they’ve also had a mass exodus of players leave for the portal or the draft, and there was the infamous saga with top quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada. Needless to say, the Gators have been one of the more interesting teams in college football this offseason.
That’s all off the field, though, so what about the on-field product? Well, the biggest question there is who will take snaps under center. With Anthony Richardson off to the NFL, the quarterback position is a true mystery for the Gators.
The three contenders for the starting quarterback job for Florida football are Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz, redshirt sophomore Jack Miller, who started the bowl game last season, and redshirt freshman Max Brown. According to those who attended spring practice, Mertz appears to be the favorite to start thanks to his experience. However, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Miller or Brown win the job either. Mertz and Miller will suit up for both teams on Thursday, while Brown will do so for Team Blue.
Whoever ends up winning the starting job, they should have a solid cast of receivers to throw to. Senior Ricky Pearsall, who led the team with 661 yards and five touchdowns in 2022, returns for another go-around. Freshmen Aidan Mizell and Andy Jean have impressed in practice, and Eugene Wilson III will be enrolling in the summer. Pearsall will suit up for Team Orange, while Mizell and Jean will for Team Blue.
On defense, the Gators should look quite different under new coordinator Austin Armstrong. The most intriguing unit will probably be the defensive line, with Louisville transfer Caleb Banks, Memphis transfer CamRon Jackson and freshman T.J. Searcy all looking good in spring practice. On the backend, the Gators are hoping for key contributions from players like Kamari Mitchell and Miguel Mitchell, both sophomores, after losing both starting safeties from 2022.
For full rosters and more on the Gators’ spring game, check out their official website.
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