Kan Li / Scout

Burning Questions on Gators OL & Special Teams

As we complete our “Burning Questions” segment, we answer our Fightin’ Gators members’ questions that they have about the offensive line and special teams. There was a lot of turnover in both units, and with the season about to unfold we have some answers.


Fightin’ Gators Question: I have heard a ton about Jawaan Taylor stepping up big. Who are the offensive linemen who aren't starting now but will be getting consistent playing time by the end of the season?

Bob Redman: I do think Taylor will continue to challenge Fredrick Johnson for that starting right tackle spot. I think the next backup that comes to mind is redshirt freshman guard Richerd Desir-Jones. He has made quite a move since the end of spring ball and has positioned himself, I believe, as the first guard in when someone comes out. His classmates and fellow redshirt freshmen Brandon Sandifer and Nick Buchanan are right there on his heels. T.J. McCoy does everything great, but has had issues snapping the ball. Then maybe the biggest surprise in terms of coming out of nowhere is redshirt sophomore Kavaris Harkless who will back up David Sharpe at left tackle.



Fightin’ Gators Question: Who is the third guard behind Ivey and Jordan or would it be a different guy for each position?

Bob Redman: Answered above, but it is Desir-Jones. He was behind the other two guys at the conclusion of spring drills, but had a terrific summer and came in to the fall and moved quickly ahead. He’s a bowling ball of a guard and getting some experience will be huge for the young man.


Kan Li / Scout

Fightin’ Gators Question: If Martez Ivey is to shift to OT why not play him now at RT then use Jawaan Taylor at LG? Not sure about Fred Johnson. The OL combos seem odd to me. 

Bob Redman: I know I beat that horse to death in the summer, but right now it appears that Ivey is staying inside. The main reason for that is Taylor, who lost a lot of weight and is moving pretty well and has the length and size to be a really good player outside. Fred Johnson has improved a great deal in the last two weeks as well, so I think they are in decent shape at tackle at the moment. If one of the starting tackles goes down, it will be interesting to see if that does anything with Ivey.



Fightin’ Gators Question: How much more Improved is the O-line?  

Bob Redman: I think we will see a marked improvement in pass protection and the sack number will come way down. I also believe the holes for the running backs are going to be much more noticeable.  However, I think SEC average is about what we should expect from these guys at least until they get more time under their belt. They are still very young and maturity is just not something that can be taught. Next year, this will be a very good offensive line.




Fightin’ Gators Question: Do you anticipate Eddy Pineiro kicking the ball out of the end zone regularly or are we going to try to pin the other team deep with high kicks?

Bob Redman: I believe we will see some of both, but Pineiro is really good at kicking a very high ball and deep and getting it to where they want it. Coaches love to pin teams deep so I believe that is what we will mostly see. In the case of some super return guy, they will likely tell him to boom that thing through the uprights.



Fightin’ Gators Question: Has accuracy been a problem for Pineiro at any point this fall. Assume he has the leg strength but is he reliable as far as accuracy goes?

Bob Redman: He has had moments where he struggled with the accuracy thing. But McElwain believes in the kid. They are doing everything they can to try and prepare him for what lies ahead.

Logan Bowles / USA TODAY Sports

Fightin’ Gators Question: Who will be returning kicks?

Bob Redman: It appears that Dre Massey will be the main kick returner and Brandon Powell back with him playing a little shallower than Massey. Antonio Callaway could do some kick returns as well.



Fightin’ Gators Question: How good will our special teams be?

Bob Redman: I think the big misnomer for last season was that the special teams were horrific.  That really was only the case with one part of the special teams… field goal kicking. Assuming that Pineiro has taken care of that issue, the Gators were average or a little less at kick-off returns.  They moved Powell to the shallow receiver back there and think they can get something out of Massey. Punt returns were pretty awesome last year with Callaway. Punting was great with Johnny Townsend. Kickoff coverage and punt coverage were near the top of the SEC. Every unit except field goals relies mostly on team work to make it work and I think they do that stuff very well. In a nutshell, I expect Florida to have some of the best special teams in the SEC.


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