Offensive Line Gaining Experience

The struggles for the offensive line in the last two weeks can be blamed on a few areas. After allowing just two sacks in the first four games of the season, the youthful offensive line has allowed five sacks in the two losses to Alabama and LSU. Part of it has come from playing against better talent, but the youth also started to show up in a negative way for the Gators.

"It was our first big games, and on the offensive line, we're all pretty young," Kyle Koehne said. "I did have some jitters, but I can't speak for everybody. I was a little nervous, but everybody gets nervous."

Koehne and center Jonotthan Harrison both spoke about the atmosphere that affected their play. For first-time starters like Harrison or linemen getting on the field for the first time in their careers like Koehne, the atmosphere in the stadium before a big game can be too much to overcome.

The young players think it might have caused them to get lost in the atmosphere and affect their play.

"You just get hyped off with the mood of the night," Koehne said. "You're playing in the Florida-Alabama game after growing up watching this game. You want to come out and perform your best and you feel a lot of pressure to play your best."

In both games, the offense was hurt by a struggling run game. Florida ran for 128 combined yards in the two games, and especially in a game against LSU that forced Jacoby Brissett into his first collegiate action, the offense stumbled and never settled in.

Heading to Auburn this weekend, the Florida offense knows they have to get their running game going. Auburn has the second to worst rushing defense in the SEC, allowing 201.8 yards on the ground per game.

"Our game plan starts with running the ball," Koehne said. "You have to be able to run the ball well. If you want to be able to pass the ball, you have to be able to run the ball. That's our first mission is to be able to run the ball down their throats and control the line of scrimmage."

Saturday will also provide a chance for the Florida offense to open up the playbook. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was purposely conservative with the offense against LSU to avoid throwing Brissett into a situation he wasn't ready for. Brissett has one game of experience and Jeff Driskel has played in five games this season, so the atmosphere shouldn't overwhelm whoever gets the start Saturday.

The comfort of having playing time in the past will also give Weis freedom to call a more versatile set of plays.

"Some of it was predictable (against LSU), but Coach Weis looked at it all, and he knows how to coach against them," Koehne said. "He'll throw enough stuff in to keep them back so they're not attacking too much."

It's hard to win any game with inexperience at quarterback, but the Gators have made it tougher in the last two games by committing penalties. It has been an issue all season as Florida ranks last in the SEC with 70.8 yards of penalties per game.

Koehne said most of the penalties have been undisciplined ones, where players jump offsides or line up wrong. The coaches have harped on it in practice, but it hasn't made it to the field during a game yet.

"All the undisciplined penalties like false starts or lining up wrong, you'll probably be pulled out," Koehne said. "They're just unacceptable right now for how many we've been getting per game. They're not being tolerated."


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