Offense cleaning up issues up front

The turnovers were the biggest factor in Florida's only loss of the season a week ago, but another big was the blocking and protection up front. The offensive line takes the majority of the blame usually and even thought their were issues with blocking from most positions on the offense, the line needed to do much more. They know it and are working on it.

Junior center Jonotthan Harrison had his own issues in the game even if it wasn't all blocking. A bad snap near the end zone may have helped prevent a touchdown in the first half that could have swung the game in a new direction. There were other things that happened for him and his linemates, the biggest issue was just playing their assignments up front and blocking the man they were supposed to block.

"One person misses the block or steps too far to the left or whatever," Harrison said of the problems they had on Saturday. "We just need to get everyone fundamentally sound and on the same page every time."

One thing that inevitably happens during a season is defenses catch up to the offenses and what they are running with all of the game film they prepare for during game week. Harrison agrees but feels it shouldn't matter if they just do what is written in the play book.

"I feel it is starting to happen a little bit," he said of defenses catching on. "Every team does watch teams. We are going to catch other's tendencies just like they catch ours. I just feel, as long as we carry out our assignments defenses won't stop us."

A few times the gators were caught off guard by stunting linemen. An end may loop inside and tackle outside on a play causing the linemen to have to switch their blocking responsibility or really maneuver in a difficult way to get the man they were assigned to block in the first place. Harrison explained that it is part of the game and depending on the protection called, any number of things could be the right move up front for the offensive line.

"Each pass protection is different with assignments," he said. "Some work with the backs and tight ends. The difficulty is just keeping good body position. Sometimes a guy can get over their toes and leaning to one side more and it is hard to get back in position to block the defender. "

Georgia had five sacks for (-40) yards on Saturday and other pass protection issues that resulted in bad plays. Even though they weren't all the fault of the offensive line, Harrison knows they need to get better and have done better.

"The last game wasn't our best performance, but we have shown what we are capable of and the potential," he said. "I love pass protection as an offensive lineman and have been pleased with what we have put out this year. I just know we will bounce back this Saturday and make sure everyone is fundamentally sound.

"You guys won't see that anymore out of the offensive line. "

The thought this week and prevailing theme is that Florida has been too "run-happy" with the offense. On first downs in the toughest six games of the year the Gators have run 75% of the time. The staff and players all know they need to pass the ball more and a successful passing game will open up the running game even more. As an offensive lineman, Harrison is in favor of the style of play inserted by offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

"More balance would help, but I won't use that as a crutch for why we didn't protect as well as we could in the last game," Harrison said. "It would benefit us to do a little more, but we have all week to prepare for it. We just need to take each live rep in practice as if it were a game so we can get better.

"I love coach Pease and what he is doing with the offense. I love the plan what he is doing every week. It may take a play or two to see what works better against a defense. I would say as an offensive unit assignment wise, we will be good."

More play in the passing game will inevitably help with communication issues which Harrison says is the biggest issue up front when they go to pass the ball.

"There are times where there is some miscommunication between center and guard or guard and tackle," he said. "When that error occurs, the play will not function like it is supposed to."

Now they have to move on. Winning the SEC Eastern Division Is out of their control, but they have four games left in the regular season. The best way to get past a tough loss is to realize what worked and fix the things that didn't and move on. They can find some motivation from the bad day in Jacksonville.

"You just have to point out the positives," he said. "It's hard to find the positives in a loss. Everyone hated that feeling in the locker room after the game and don't want to experience it again. It will motivate everyone that much harder to have great Saturdays.

"The older players that have been there before… it's easy for them to let the younger guys know that we will bounce back from the loss and come back swinging. Even though the starting offensive line is older for the most part, we know that we can't just give up and throw in the towel. We have to work hard to come out on top Saturday.

"The best way (to bounce back) is to come back and win, come back swinging."

Harrison said the entire team met out of meetug time to go over what needed to be done to get back on track. The offensive line met and then spent extra time with in each section of the line (centers, guard, and tackles) working on things they needed to get better at.

"Each position met," Harrison said of the team. "The offensive line met without our coach and just talked in each position group. We talked about the game, watched film and what went wrong. We talked about our goals this week and as long as we carry out our goals we will come out on top. "

It is the last SEC game of the year and Harrison says the Missouri Tigers have their undivided attention.

"We will go in there with the attitude that as long as our assignments are understood and focused on ball security this week, we will go in and be successful," he said. "We won't psych ourselves and play the game before it is played. As long as we take it one at a time we will be fine."

Harrison Speaks of James Wilson's Time at Florida

Senior guard James Wilson is in his sixth year on campus and has played more football in the first eight games of the year than the rest of his career combined. Met with a rash of injuries from the onset of his time at Florida, Wilson was almost an after though as his time winded down in the orange and blue.

Harrison can't imagine not having Wilson's leadership and ability inside on the offensive line this year.

"James Wilson is a great player, has a lot of experience, and has been here a long time," Harrison said. "Despite the knee injury he got some years ago, he still battles through it. I don't even hear anything about the knee during the game. He is a huge big strong guy inside with Jon Halapio and I and we really appreciate him."

Harrison said Wilson is all about the team and as unselfish as they come. It tore Wilson up when he was unable to play for whatever reason.

"His attitude was he will do it for the team and for his boys," Harrison said. "The offensive line is a real bonded unit and he hated seeing us out there knowing he can help us.

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