ACL Tears a Trend or an Outlier?

Right when Andre Debose appeared to be getting on Will Muschamp’s good side, he went down with a torn ACL that will put him out for the season. He hopes to gain a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA in order to outlast his senior season.

Within just the past week, Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators have watched two different players go down with ACL tears, one on each side of the ball.

On Tuesday, WR/KR Andre Debose tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, which dealt a blow to the explosiveness of the Gators return game. He wasn’t much of an impact at receiver anyways, with just 29 receptions for 543 yards in his career, but it was nice to have an extra body who seemed motivated for his senior season.

Then, on Thursday, freshman linebacker Matt Rolin re-tore the ACL in his left knee, a debilitating blow to his psyche after a long recovery from the same injury during his senior year of high school. A depleted Gators line-backing corps could have used Rolin to add depth on defense.

All in all, these injuries may not move the needle much on the win/loss scale for Florida, as the defense will still be strong and the offense wouldn’t be able to beat the likes of South Carolina’s or LSU’s defenses with or without Debose.

However, the injuries occurring in such a short span reignites never-ending debate across the college football world. Do coaches push their players too hard, too soon? Does playing in a hot, humid state like Florida make players more susceptible to muscle tears?

Personally, I think it’s hard to say (full disclosure: I’m not a doctor). Two ACL tears can happen in any one day of training camp across the country at the Division I level. I’m not sure what the magic number of torn ACL’s is in order to start wondering whether it’s a serious problem, but two ACL tears don’t seem like a major cause for concern.

In a sport with so much quick, lateral, violent movement, ACL tears are due to happen every now and then. So, don’t worry about this becoming a serious/significant trend, but don’t forget that Debose and Rolin have a long, arduous recovery process ahead.

One final note: Debose, a senior, is planning to apply for a medical redshirt in order to gain a sixth year of eligibility.