Five position battles to watch during Orange and Blue game

The Florida Gators’ annual Orange and Blue spring game will take place on Saturday, April 12th at 1:00 PMĀ and streamed on SEC Network+ while a radio broadcast will be available on the Gators Sports Network from Learfield.

The team will split into two squads (Orange and Blue) and on game day, each team will run out of separate tunnels using both the home and visiting locker rooms.

The game will feature four quarters, a 15-minute halftime and a running clock with the exception of the last four minutes of each half. The clock will also stop for penalties, change of possession and scores.

Gator Country provides you with five position battles to look out for during the Orange and Blue game.


Florida has plenty of competition within their safety room after adding three transfers at the position this offseason.

Jordan Castell, who led the Gators in defensive snaps as a true freshman in 2023, will represent team Orange along with redshirt senior transfers Asa Turner and Trikweze Bridges.

Tulane transfer DJ Douglas, who has impressed the staff with his experience and playmaking ability this spring, will play with Team Blue alongside sophomore Bryce Thornton and true freshman Greg Smith.

The Gators have depth and experience at safety having a combined 4,471 from their scholarship players in the unit. Realistically there’s five players who could find significant playing time this season (Turner, Bridges, Douglas, Thornton, Castell).

Wide ReceiverĀ 

Florida added Wisconsin transfer Chimere Dike to pair with sophomore Eugene Wilson, who exceled in his first year as a Gator. The Gators also trust redshirt junior Kahleil Jackson, who started his Florida career as a walk on.

Florida lacks experience and consistency outside of those three. The Gators are searching for some of their younger or less experienced players to step up and play a big role this season.

Redshirt junior Marcus Burke is one player to watch as his ability to make the big-time plays should not go unnoticed. Burke also provides this unit with a bigger, more physical frame, standing at nearly 6’4, 193 pounds.

Florida added two freshmen receivers in TJ Abrams and Tank Hankins who provide even more track speed to an already fast position group.

Dike, Wilson, Jackson, Fraziars, and Hawkins will play on team Blue with returning quarterback Graham Mertz while Abrams, Burke, and Mizell will be on team Orange with five-star freshman DJ Lagway.

Andy Jean is not expected to play in the game as he’s still nursing a hamstring injury and has been sidelined throughout the second half of spring camp.


The star/nickel position has been very competitive throughout spring camp with second years Aaron Gates and Sharif Denson headlining the position. Denson will play with team Orange, which is primary the first-team defense. Gates will play with team Blue and true freshman Josiah Davis will play on both teams.

Those are the only three scholarship players at the position currently.

Right Guard

The offensive line in general will be a position to watch going forward, but with offensive tackle Austin Barber sidelined for the game, the real competition comes at right guard.

Damieon George, who started 11 games at tackle in 2023, moved to guard in the offseason. George has some experience at guard having played there in his time at Alabama. He believes the position better suits his body and style of play.

Bryce Lovett is another player to watch at the position. The redshirt freshman completely transformed his body in the offseason, dropping 16 pounds while also switching to guard from tackle this offseason. Lovett has made a ton of noise this spring camp and is expected to compete for a starting spot along the offensive line. He played all five offensive line positions this spring, displaying his versatility and maturity at just 18 years old.

Lovett will play with team Orange while George will play with team blue.

As far as offensive tackle is concerned, keep a close eye on transfers Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson and Devon Manuel as they are expected to both start for team Blue. With Austin Barber sidelined, this is a great opportunity for them to put their talents on display as we creep closer to fall camp.

Interior Defensive Line

Much like the safety position, the interior defensive line is a crowded room. The Gators added UPenn transfer Joey Slackman, who has impressed his teammates with his leadership ability through just 14 spring practices.

Sophomore Kelby Collins moved to interior defensive line this offseason after coming off the edge in 2023.

Florida returns Cam Jackson, Caleb Banks, Desmond Watson, and Jamari Lyons, who all found significant playing time within the DT rotation a year ago, all of which logged at least 175 snaps in 2023.

The Gators also added true freshman D’Antre Robinson and Michai Boireau.




Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.