Notebook: Offensive line playing confident

Kurt Roper saw the replay as many times as Florida fans. He saw the two offensive linemen blocking each other, mostly because it was hard to miss it.

The Florida offensive coordinator was the first to downplay the impact of that infamous play. He saw it happen at Duke last season. The Blue Devils were down 25-24 late in a game against North Carolina with the outright Coastal Division on the line. On the final drive that produced a field goal to win it, Roper dialed up a play that had one of the guards pulling.

Instead, both guards pulled and ran straight into each other. That didn’t make sports television shows, in Roper’s mind, because of the success his team had.

“That doesn't get mentioned because we went 10-2 in the regular season,” Roper said. “Nobody sees it. How many times defensive linemen run twist games up front and run right into each other. I think it's just a product of the season because you could watch any game and see those things all the time."

With those memories behind the offensive linemen, the unit is playing much better under first-year position coach Mike Summers. When talking about the new position coach, the Florida players have all used the same word -- technician. He focuses on every little part of the technique, something that wasn’t the case last season with Tim Davis.

The first team is set at three positions -- left tackle D.J. Humphries, right tackle Chaz Green and center Max Garcia. The guard positions will be filled by two of Trenton Brown, Tyler Moore and Trip Thurman. Depth continues to build behind them with Roderick Johnson and David Sharpe.

"I think we’re pretty good there,” Roper said. “We've got to go play a game. You like to take it one game at a time and not get too far ahead of yourself, but I think we've got a good group. I really do."

LEAK IMPRESSING: Roper’s advice for any young coach is the same. He tells them to be the first coach in the building and the last one to leave. It’s that work ethic that can turn a coach into an effective assistant, even if he’s not used to coaching the position.

It’s exactly what Chris Leak is going through. Despite playing quarterback at Florida, he was thrown into the receivers’ coach job when Joker Phillips left the program.

" I think he's done a really good job,” Roper said. “I think the guys are working hard for him. I think they're getting better fundamentally on some of the things that he's working on with releases and things like that. You see development in the group, and I think you see a group that goes to the field and work hard for their coach. And that's what you're looking for. I think he's done a good job."

RUNNING BACK DEPTH: The running back position took a hit last week as multiple scholarship players were injured, but they’ll all be healthy for the season opener against Idaho on August 30.

“I don't think you can ever have enough numbers there. I really don't,” Roper said. “I think that's a physical position that is hard to stay healthy. I'm glad we've got a bunch of guys.”

The number of carries for players remains in question. Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones will likely lead the team in carries, but senior Mack Brown has made an impression this summer. Adam Lane has been hurt in camp, but freshman Brandon Powell could carve out a role with his speed and pass catching ability.

“I believe if a guy earns the right to play, you've got to find a way to play him some,” Roper said. “It doesn't mean maybe he plays the whole game, but we need to be prepared to use all our weapons. And really all we want to do is score points. Who is capable of scoring? I think those guys getting the football are good with it in space."

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