Nothing is official yet, because Florida officials have not yet finalized plans for spring football. But here’s something Gator fans should prepare themselves for: There’s a good chance that many, if not all, Florida practices will be closed to the public and the media.

This has been the word floating around out there now for the past few weeks. If it happens (which it likely will), I’m sure it will be disappointing to fans who have been looking forward to catching a glimpse of the start of the Will Muschamp era — and looking forward to seeing what offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will do with his quarterbacks (especially John Brantley) and this offense, and what new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense is going to look like.

But I do understand the reasoning behind UF’s possible decision to shut things down.

The Gators have a lot — and I mean a lot — of work to do this spring. UF will be putting in totally new offensive and defensive systems, and with an almost totally new coaching staff, the players and coaches will still be in the very early stages of developing relationships that will be critical down the road later this year — and in seasons to come.

Under normal circumstances (and this the way it became under Urban Meyer), spring football at UF was usually pretty laid back, with much of the focus being on the development of the younger players.

This is a different situation now. With the new coaching staff (and the new offensive and defensive systems), there will be an open competition at every position on the field this spring. It’s going to be intense for newcomers and veterans alike. And there is going to be a lot of teaching going on as the Gators go through the process of learning to adapt to Weis’ offense and Quinn’s defense.

This is going to be a spring about competing and staying focused as the Gators move into a new era. If the coaches decide the fans and the media might be a distraction, hey, I’m cool with that.

The reality is, our first look at this Florida team very well might not come until the April 9 spring game at Florida Field.

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