Florida Gators are running low on players for 2015

Jim McElwain is struggling with a numbers problem in his first spring coaching Florida. (AP photo)

Jim McElwain is struggling with a numbers problem in his first spring coaching Florida. (AP photo)

Florida coach Jim McElwain has said he thinks he can win with his dog Claribelle playing QB, as he proclaimed at his introductory news conference in December.

At this rate, he might need to adopt some more pets for the 2015 season.

Rod Johnson, who had the inside track to start at right offensive tackle, was forced to retire with a spinal condition, leaving the Gators with just six scholarship offensive linemen until the freshmen report.

Another offensive lineman, Trip Thurman, who started 10 games at guard last fall and was projected to be the starting center this season, has missed spring practice after shoulder surgery and linebacker Antonio Morrison, the team’s leading tackler, is out this spring with a knee injury.

This is from the Gainesville Sun:

The Gators will likely have to rely on true freshmen for playing time and depth this season. UF signed six offensive linemen, led by five-star prospect Martez Ivey.

Johnson is the fourth UF offensive lineman in the past 18 months to give up football due to health issues. The others are Drew Savary, Octavius Jackson and Nolan Kelleher.

There also is a lack of depth at WR, where only Demarcus Robinson has substantial experience. He’s the only Florida player with more than than 44 receptions in a season since 2009, finishing with 53 catches for 810 yards and seven TDs in 2014.

“There’s a lot of great things here. There’s a lot of things that we can point at,” McElwain told the Gainesville Sun. “I’m really excited about what we’re about to go into. You can’t hide the reality and you can’t run from it, and yet, you know what, that’s just part of building something and making sure we get a solid foundation first and implement these guys in as they come.

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