SPRING: The Left Side of the O-Line

Offensive guard Jim Tartt celebrated the offensive scrimmage victory running across the field with a barrage of loud groans where he finally greeted game winning wide receiver Louis Murphy by grabbing him, tossing him around, and depositing him back onto the Florida turf. If only the Florida defense had played with that emotion the results might have been different.

The coaches had announced before the snap of the ball that the play would determine the winner. Murphy hauled in Chris Leak's pass running across the field and was hit rather hard, but it was too a little too late. The offensive victory was delivered and Murphy had been shaken and then stirred in the process. Urban Meyer's winner take all philosophy continues to spark moments of enthusiasm at practice.

Just as they did a few days ago, the offensive front outplayed a veteran defensive front. The one aspect of the offensive game that needs addressing involved players lining up in the backfield. Other than that, it was an overall good scrimmage session for the group.

Today, I focused the majority of my attention on the left side of the offensive front. Starters Phil Trautwein (LT) and Jim Tartt (LG) were very good today. The teamwork Traut and Tartt demonstrated on the left side have obviously made the transition for both players into the starting lineup much easier. The chemistry between the pair works well and it has seemingly elevated their play. It certainly did today.

That is especially encouraging since a majority of the running plays went right during the first scrimmage.

During the man-on-man portion of today's workout, Trautwein only struggled with Jarvis Moss. Then again, everybody is struggling with Moss. He did get Moss once with a pretty good block. He beat Brandon Daniel soundly in another set. Again, while Traut was sound in the individual drills, he wasn't as sharp as when he was paired with Tartt.

In the scrimmage session, Traut had several good blocks. Perhaps his best block was when he teamed with Tartt to wrestle Derrick Harvey out of the play. Harvey tried to split the pair in the gap, and honestly put forth a good effort, but was kept from making a play.

He missed a key block on outside linebacker Darryon Robinson who was coming over to make a play on a sweep left. Robinson made the tackle and kept the back from running into the secondary, which they did on many plays today. Traut even made a couple of pretty good blocks on Jarvis Moss.

Jim Tartt is looking pretty comfortable at guard. Tartt's best block was a beauty- he pulled to the right and popped Joe Cohen, who was looking to cut off the play. The hit echoed on that side of the practice field and the play went for big yardage. Cohen didn't go down on the play, but wasn't able to get off of the block in time.

I watched Tartt cut one guy and mow him down. He got a pretty good block on a linebacker who was knocked backwards. I think it was Ryan Stamper, but I couldn't tell as the mass of bodies thwarted any opportunity I had to see who took the tag. Tartt was also solid in pass blocking situations.

He also appears to be healthy and having a great time out there.

Not bad for a guy a certain moron with a rival network said wouldn't see the field when he committed to the Gators instead of the ‘Noles. Yes, I know that the regular season has yet to begin, but Tartt has already exceeded that idiot's irrational analysis.

Sophomore Jason Watkins (LT) and true freshman Maurice Hurt have been running with the second unit. This was the first scrimmage that I can recall seeing Watkins look as impressive. He too teamed with Hurt to open a couple of holes for the running game on the left side.

Watkins worst block was when defensive tackle Javier Estopinian got low and drove him a yard or two back into the backfield to interrupt a pass play. Quarterback Tim Tebow took the ball and took the long route around the pair and down the left sideline. It was really Watkins only major faux pas. He looked pretty good in pass protection too.

Hurt pancaked Brandon Daniel as he tried to make a move and get a rush on Tebow. I didn't see everything Daniel did on the play, but as he dipped back to his right, Hurt popped him and he went down. The move probably wasn't one that Daniel will try to repeat.

I also watched true freshman Carl Johnson work out a little bit. Johnson missed a couple of assignments in his brief appearance. He obviously needs more time to familiarize himself with the offense. He's a true freshman, making typical freshman mistakes. Coach Hevesy worked with him after a few of the plays- telling him what and sometimes where he should have been on the play.

I'm eager to see these guys in a controlled scrimmage to see if they can repeat this performance. Again, it wasn't perfection, but it certainly appears the left side is ahead of where I thought they'd be at this point.

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