Kan Li / Scout

Position Analysis: OT Strengths and Weaknesses

We continue with our look at each position on the Florida Gator football roster and talk about the strengths and weaknesses as we head into the 2016 season.  There was a lot of turnover on both sides of the ball in terms of personnel from the 2015 squad, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Today we’ll talk about the offensive tackle position.

Expected Contributors: Junior David Sharpe (6-6, 347), Redshirt sophomore Kavaris Harkless (6-5, 307), Sophomore Martez Ivey (6-5, 312), Sophomore Fredrick Johnson (6-6, 315), Redshirt Sophomore Andrew Mike (6-6, 303), Freshman Stone Forsythe (6-7, 314)

Strengths: The strength of this position steps up a grade if Martez Ivey moves to tackle from the guard position he played a year ago. Nothing has been determined just yet, but with the lack of numbers and experience at tackle, it really makes a lot of sense to move Ivey outside.

With Ivey there, the trio of him, Sharpe, and Johnson would be the guys that have seen some real playing time and are the real difference makers in the group.

Sharpe spent a lot of pre-spring losing some weight and getting in better shape in order to try and handle faster speed rushers. He started all of the 2015 season and was the best of the linemen a year ago with certainly much more room to grow.

Ivey played well as a freshman in 2015, but was moved inside and is likely the best drive blocker on the offensive line. That could keep him inside, but his experience, quickness, and overall ability should make him a future elite offensive tackle.

Johnson started the last couple of games of 2015, but struggled. That was to be expected from a true freshman that really only played one year of football before arriving at Florida. Is strength lies in his future with immense raw ability that just has to be honed.

Those are the three that we can call strengths of this unit, the others still have to show something.

Weaknesses: You really can’t call any of the group an All-Star just yet. Certainly any of the three mentioned could be this year or next, but they aren’t there yet. The real weakness of the group however is the lack of experienced depth… it just isn’t there. That is to be expected after last year’s offensive line rotation which saw the two sophomores have to play pretty prominent roles as true freshmen.

When talking about a weakness in play, you would have to believe that pass protection would be suspect. Florida was the worst in the SEC in sacks allowed a year ago and until we see that improve a great deal that area has to be considered a weakness. Getting more quickness in Johnson and / or Ivey outside should help that. Still, they have to show me.

Comparison to 2015: Florida brought in a Division 2 offensive tackle in Mason Halter to man one of the tackle positions opposite Sharpe a year ago. Given that Sharpe played sparingly as a freshman, offensive tackle was in grave shape a year ago. Sharpe now has a full year of experience in a season where he played pretty well. Ivey played a lot too and has elite tools. Johnson played in big games and also has elite tools.  Again, a lot of how this group looks will depend on Ivey playing tackle or guard, but if he’s outside, the offensive tackle position should be much better compared to a year ago.

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