It is a whole lot different this time around on the offensive line from a year ago. The Gators finished with six healthy scholarship linemen up front last spring, it was hard to get work done on either side of the ball in the trenches with those kinds of numbers.
Fast forward to this spring and the six has turned to about double. But, with only three of those having been through spring ball, the staff still needs to find the guys that will help them in 2016 and they need some of the ‘more experienced’ guys to help lead what is still a very young unit.
Junior tackle David Sharpe, redshirt junior center Cameron Dillard, and sophomore guard Tyler Jordan have stepped in to be the leaders of what should be a very improved unit this season.
“David Sharpe and Cam Dillard are guys that step out there right away as guys we have to count on,” Summers told the Florida media this week. “We have to make sure those guys are doing things the right way and they are setting an example for the other guys on the line.”
At this point, these three may not have a choice. Outside of redshirt junior Antonio Riles and sophomore Fredrick Johnson who have very limited starting experience between them, there are no others that can draw on anything as an example to lead.
“I’ve seen David try and be more vocal which is really not his strong suit, he’s tried to take that leadership role,” Summers said. “Certainly Cam has as well at center and it is easier at center because he is communicating so much.
Jordan is a guy that can play guard or center and did so last year. While he has spent most of his time as guard this spring and as a starter, he spent a good portion of the scrimmage Saturday at center because of an injury to Dillard. Summers likes the effort that Jordan brings to the table every day.
“We are so encouraged with his toughness, leadership and intelligence,” Summers said of Jordan. “We were all concerned about having three true freshmen starting in our last three games (a year ago), but now we can bank on that experience and Tyler is one that steps into spring with a little more confidence and he has a little bit of that edge that coach is talking about.”
For a line made up of so many young guys, it is imperative for the Sharpes, the Dillards and the Jordans of the group to stay on top and help lead them.