Spring Forward: Gators “Oh My” Line

The condition of the offensive line has gotten as bad as I have ever seen it. Who is to blame? Certainly not the current staff. I also don’t know how much the previous staff can be blamed as well. But nevertheless, the Gator staff has their work cut out for them both in coaching up with they have and in getting more help on hand.

We can sit here and blame Will Muschamp and his staff for the offensive line woes at Florida, but is it really their fault for the condition the current roster is in?

Career ending injuries or diagnosis to 2011 signee Tommy Jordan, 2013 signee Roderick Johnson, 2013 signee Octavious Jackson, and 2014 signees Drew Sarvary and Nolan Kelleher really can’t be blamed on the previous staff. Some of the issues were congenital ones and at least one injury (Kelleher) was something he showed up at Florida with.


David Sharpe

Trevon Young, a 2013 signee felt like he wasn’t good enough, so that is one that they made a mistake with. Certainly they couldn’t foresee the trouble that Jessamen Dunker would get in. A probable starter in 2013 and from the 2012 class, Dunker had a very bright future ahead on the football field.

Not many could envision either D.J. Humphries or Tyler Moore opting for the NFL after their junior seasons a year ago. We all know by now that Humphries made a great decision and is projected as high as the middle of the first round in this month’s NFL draft. So that wasn’t a mistake made by the previous staff.

Moore, won’t get drafted, isn’t likely to make a team right away, and will likely just pursue off the field opportunities with his degree from the University of Florida. He started for most of last year, and can’t be considered a mistake by the previous staff. It isn’t uncommon for one or two players to not want to play for another staff anyway.


Riles

It is a position never has this kind of attrition and one that usually is very low in terms of attrition. Linemen come in for the most part, understanding they need to redshirt and get bigger, stronger, and faster.

If there is a reason to blame, it would be the light classes on the offensive line in 2011 and 2012. Trip Thurman is the only one left of two classes that had just two linemen each. There should have been four each and you would hope that the other four linemen total would still be around. But, I think the thing we need to do here is quit blaming anyone for the situation, and to realize just how dire the situation is.

The fact is, we don’t know if senior Trip Thurman will be able to even play next year. I’ve been told if it isn’t 100% and he doesn’t feel great about it, he will end up giving up on it. I don’t believe that will happen, but it is a real possibility.

That would mean there would be six offensive linemen returning and not a single one of them is an upperclassman. Then add in six more freshmen to the mix. That is 12 freshmen and sophomores with zero starts under their belt that will be exposed to the toughest conference in college football. Anyone that can make anything positive out of that, I will see you on cloud-9.

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Martez Ivey

The six include tackles David Sharpe (SO), Kavaris Harkless (R-FR), and Andrew Mike (R-FR), guards Travaris Dorsey (R-FR) and Antonio Riles (R-SO), and center Cam Dillard (R-SO).

All but Mike started on the orange squad Saturday to close the spring. The orange was basically made up of all the projected starters and contributors for next year. Both lines struggled on the day.

Florida is going to have to find at least three true freshmen to get in the two-deep if not start. You have to start with the most physically ready to play and guys with the mechanics at the high school level can jump in a little quicker as well.

Of course Martez Ivey, the nation’s top high school tackle was projected to come in and take a spot. That has yet to happen, but it seems very likely at this point. With sophomore Sharpe playing pretty well at left tackle so far, you have to believe Ivey would come in and grab the right tackle spot or certainly fight hard for it. The other possibility at tackle is true freshman Frederick Johnson. He’s massive, like Sharpe and physically ready to compete. Where will he be mentally is the big thing.

At guard, the Gators signed three possibilities to come in and compete with Riles and Dorsey. Freshmen Nick Buchanan, Richerd Desir-Jones, and monster Brandon Sandifer are a solid group. Of the three, Buchanan seems the most likely to come in right away, but they have to show up and work out first to get a real feel for what they are capable of.


Tyler Jordan

Finally center Tyler Jordan is expected to come in and compete right away with Dillard. Jordan has physically prepared himself and will arrive at college in the 290 pound range. That is good enough for the center position and he will get bigger. He’s intelligent and very physical as well, so he has a real chance to make a move when he arrives.

This is what they have to deal with. It means things are going to be different in 2015 than they will in later years. They are going to have to coach around the issue and simplify things, take a lot of mental part of the game away so that these young guys can use all of their energy on the physical part.

Others will also have to step up. The quarterbacks are going to have their heads swimming early too, so the running backs, receivers, and tight ends are going to have to play at a level that maybe we weren’t expecting.

Maybe another body or two moves over to help. There is some depth at defensive tackle right now and they are relatively young. If there is no attrition there, maybe a physical player could come and see the field earlier on offense.

It isn’t the best position to be in, but it is one without much fault elsewhere and one they have to deal with. The “Oh My” Line for Florida in 2015 may not have the positive connotation we hear from Mick Hubert on Saturdays. Just the way it is.


Nick Buchanan


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