Humphries comfortable in sophomore year

The first days in Gainesville weren't much fun for D.J. Humphries. He enrolled at Florida to go through spring practices in 2012 and was tossed around. He came in weighing less than 270 pounds while trying to block some of Florida's big defensive ends. Through the struggle, Humphries learned some tricks to blocking. Now at 283 pounds, he's still trying to add weight before the start of the season.

D.J. Humphries enrolled to play early last season, and it worked. He started the season as the sixth offensive linemen, coming in when Florida ran its jumbo package as an extra blocking tight end. As the season continued, he earned his way in at left tackle during sets with five offensive linemen.

But it didn't smart smooth at all.

"Those first weeks, it was rough," Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said with a smile. "You eventually get your feet together and just stop being so wide-eyed and start playing ball."

Being wide-eyed was only part of the problem. Humphries wasn't build to succeed yet. He needed weight, and even though he had success with his advanced technique in high school, Humphries knew he had to get bigger. He has worked hard to do that this offseason. Now at 283 pounds, Humphries is hoping to get up to 290-295 pounds by the start of the season with the end goal being 300 pounds at some point.

He has the frame to add the weight. Sitting on a bench in the visitor's locker room earlier this week during an interview session, Humphries still has the look of a tight end. He knows there's more weight to come, and he's trying to make it happen as soon as possible.

In the meantime, going up against some of Florida's elite defensive linemen last year in practice and during this spring is helping him learn to play with his weight.

"Going against guys like that every day, you learn the tricks to stop a lot of things," Humphries said. "It helps you out when you get in real live game situations because it's not like I'm going against bad competition every day. I'm going against top-notch guys every day. When you're going against good guys and you're small, you learn the tricks to help you out against an oversize opponent."

Humphries insists that he doesn't have a hard time putting on weight. The focus has become putting on the right weight. He doesn't want to add fat simply to get his weight up to a higher number. He's trying to monitor that with the Florida strength staff this offseason.

"You don't want to put on too much weight and be fat and get hurt," Humphries said.

This spring has delivered plenty of opportunities for Humphries and the healthy offensive linemen to get reps. The Gators have 11 scholarship offensive linemen on campus for spring practice, and just six of them are healthy during the final week of spring practice.

That has forced a change to the spring game, but it's also something the Gators have to work through in practices. It has limited the live reps on the practice field, forcing more positional drills to help the linemen catch their breath.

The on positive is more reps for the healthy players.

"It's helped a lot," Humphries said. "I'm getting a lot of reps and getting a chance to tweak a lot of things. It's helping my game out a lot. I can feel myself getting better every day."

The setup isn't ideal, but with none of the injuries expected to keep anyone out of fall camp, Humphries and the linemen know they just have to push through the spring to get the entire group healthy.

"I feel like we're battling," Humphries said. "The guys that we have in there, we're battling, so I feel like our core guys are getting a lot better. When the other guys roll in, we'll show them the way that we do things up front on the o-line. We'll continue our success from last year."

Two players benefiting the most from more reps are the transfers -- Max Garcia and Tyler Moore. Garcia was on the scout team last year and was the scout team's offensive player of the year, but he's now getting reps in anticipation of playing this fall. Moore didn't play football in the fall and has used the reps to get more comfortable on the field.

Humphries has seen those reps help both players, as they continue to add more depth.

"They're both strong," Humphries said. "Those are two strong guys. Big Max on the interior -- physicality. They're both physical guys. We don't really have too many finesse guys like that, trying to be physical. We have a lot of physical guys up front."


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