VETTEL: One-On-One With OL Coach Hevesy

One of the fascinating things to watch this spring is the evolution of the Gator offensive line. With young guns trying to make an impression and veterans trying to hold on to jobs, John Hevesy has plenty to keep his attention.

Florida has plenty of linemen on campus right now with proven performers in Mike Degory, Randy Hand and Lance Butler. Steve Rissler has played a good bit and Drew Miller has already made an impression. Tavares Washington has spent two years at UF with little to show for it, ditto Carlton Medder. Add in Jason Watkins, Phil Trautwein, Jim Tartt and newcomer Eddie Haupt and the competition is going to be quite interesting.

After Saturday's short yardage scrimmage I spoke with the Gators O-Line Coach to get his thoughts on how the line is shaping up.

Coach John Hevesy and and Coach Steve Adazzio during Bull-in-the-Ring drills

LV: John, you guys got physical Saturday. How do you feel about how the guys went out and competed?

JH: I'd have to say about average. We still have to build up the intensity level and turn on the switch, especially down here.

LV: You were without Lance Butler. Did that give some guys extra chances to get some reps?

JH: Yeah, we were able to move Drew Miller up and let him get in there at left guard position and Steve (Rissler) on the right. Gave him a shot to go out and prove himself on the first day. I wish we had Lance out here to compare them with but it did. We moved a couple of guys around just to get them in there and see what they got. That's what we do every day. That's what spring practice is for.

LV: Talk about Drew a little bit. He's a young guy who played a little bit last year. How far along is he?

JH: I think he's right there with all of them. I think the one fair thing for all of them is without game experience. Just learning the offense is new for all of them. So they're all kind of at the same level, I think, in terms of learning the schemes. I don't think he has the savvy of game experience and the high speed of it is not there yet, so he's little behind some of the older guys like Randy, Mike and maybe Lance…. But it's getting there, and that's what all of this is for.

LV: Tavares Washington is in a unique situation, he's a fifth-year guy who redshirted last season but really has not played much at all in two years. Does he seem rusty?

JH: No, I think that it helps all those kids that it's a new offense so we start at square one with learning things so we all stay on the same page. So I think Tavares has done an admirable job as of right now, but we've only had one day in pads.

LV: How important is it to define guards and tackles as soon as possible?

JH: It's a priority. To me, the guards have to be road-grader guys. They have to be willing and able to knock your ass out and move those inside guys. Our tackles gotta be athletic guys and the center has to have all those credentials.

LV: When you look at the raw ability of the guys you have here, are you confident the talent and potential is there to put together the kind of line you'd like to have?

JH: Yeah. It's still a building process for all of it, and I think besides building it position-specific it's about building the mentality we want first.

VETTEL'S TAKE: One of the biggest decisions Hevesy will need to make is where to best utilize the skills of Lance Butler. Florida's most versatile lineman could play either guard or tackle, but he's a lock for the starting lineup. If Steve Rissler can nail down the right guard spot, it may be a battle between Drew Miller and Tavares Washington with Butler playing tackle if Miller wins and guard if Washington comes out on top.

Saturday's scrimmage will give us our first extended look at both the physicality and mentality of the front wall for the 2005 Gators.

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