Florida was so depleted along the offensive line this spring that the Gators lined up with just seven healthy scholarship players up front during their spring football game, forcing many to play for both teams.
On Friday, the Gainesville Sun reported that help might be on the way, as former Notre Dame center Dan Wenger will transfer to Florida.
Wenger is a former St. Thomas Aquinas standout who played on the same offensive line as former Gators tackle Marcus Gilbert – a line that fielded four future Division I players.
After high school, Wenger went to Notre Dame to play for Charlie Weis, the current Florida offensive coordinator.
He redshirted with injuries in 2006 before playing in 29 games with 19 starts from 2007 to 2009. His 2009 season was cut short with injuries.
He suffered two concussions in fall practice before the 2010 season, ending his last year of eligibility with Notre Dame. However, the NCAA has granted him a sixth year of eligibility.
Citing his Facebook, the Gainesville Sun reported that Wenger has “been cleared to play and he’ll be playing in The Swamp this fall.”
UF officials could not be reached for comment by Gator Country.
Assuming the Gainesville Sun report is accurate, Wenger’s addition adds another big body to the Florida offensive line and gives the Gators 12 scholarship linemen heading into 2011.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for Florida is the experience with Weis’ offense Wenger brings to the table.
Having played under Weis for four years at Notre Dame, Wenger could be a big boost to the Florida offensive line in terms of learning the schemes and making the right checks.
Essentially, he would give Florida another on-the-field coach.
Given his injury history, it’s hard to say with any certainty that Wenger will actually make any significant impact on the field during his final year of eligibility.
Redshirt sophomore Jonotthan Harrison moved from guard to center during spring football and looked fairly comfortable making the transition. Coaches were pleased with his progress.
Regardless, his addition would be a very positive one for a unit that looked like one of Florida’s weakest this spring.