Gators will lean on Sharpe

Florida needed David Sharpe to have a good spring with limited numbers, and that was before Roderick Johnson’s football career ended.

For the first half of the spring, David Sharpe worked at left tackle with Roderick Johnson at right tackle. Johnson’s football career coming to an end means the Gators are down to seven scholarship offensive linemen, and that’s only if Trip Thurman’s chronic shoulder issue allows him to play this fall.

With Thurman back, Sharpe becomes the second most experienced offensive lineman, even though he has only played in six games with zero starts. In his limited experience last season, Sharpe showed he can handle protecting the blindside of Florida’s quarterback. He’ll be forced to do that this fall.

"He’s a guy right now that’s got all the reps. What’s he have, about two (reps)? So he’s the vet of the crew,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said with a smile. “That’s really where Rod’s going to fit in. There’s a lot of things he could bring to the table to help us and help this team and really affect the people around him in a positive way.”

At 6-6, 350 pounds at the start of spring, size isn’t a problem for Sharpe. The sophomore wanted to drop weight and played between 335-340 at the end of the spring. Over the summer, his goal is to drop a little more weight while trying to get stronger.

Whenever he takes the practice field, his teammates and coaches know about it.

“You talk about comfort to look out there and see a guy with his kind of size,” Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers said. “At some point, a shadow kind of comes over the practice field and I think it’s getting ready to rain, but it’s just him walking past me. He is really starting to develop a personality that is expressive. I think he spent most of last year just trying to figure out what to do, was very reserved in his ability to communicate at the line of scrimmage. He’s learning how to communicate.

“He’s a very gifted athlete at tackle. We just have to refine his skills so that the things that he’s good at we continue to grow at, but the things that he needs help with, we need to continue to put him in the right position. But I’m excited about what he can be. He is everything that you would want to have in a young offensive lineman.”

Fightin Gators Top Stories