Gator OL Making Strides

The Florida Gators rank third in the SEC in rushing offense and second in sacks against. Those numbers can be tied directly to quarterback Tim Tebow, but Tebow can't do it all himself. He's gotten by with great protection up front.

Slowly, the Gator offensive line is emerging as one of the best in the country, and the future looks even brighter.

"If you look at the future of our offensive line, you'll have one of the best offensive lines in college football in the next year or two," head coach Urban Meyer said after practice on Wednesday. "I like the way they're coached, I like their demeanor, I like the way they are working. We're certainly not there yet, but there are also some guys that haven't played a lot of football."

One of those guys is Maurkice Pouncey who as a true freshman stepped into a starting role after senior tackle Phil Trautwein was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot a week before the season started. Against LSU, Pouncey won the battle against Glenn Dorsey who is considered to be one of the nation's best defensive players.

"If he continues to develop, he will be one of the best to ever play at Florida," Meyer said. "That's how much confidence I have. He loves to play football. He loves to train. He likes to be coached. He's not asking me why are we going 15 periods instead of 20 periods. That's a special player. His brother is going to be really special, too."

Pouncey continues to improve each and every week, and that's all Meyer is looking for from a young Gator squad this season.

"Maurkice is a fine football player," Meyer said. "He wasn't at the beginning of the year just because he hadn't played a lot of football. He's jumped in there, and Jim Tartt is playing very good football."

Meyer doesn't just like the offensive line for what they do between the lines, but he also respects them off the field as well.

"I love who they are," Meyer said. "I don't know if we are playing great. We're playing pretty good."

Having a Good Week

The Gators couldn't have had more distractions off the football field over the last few weeks, but this week, those issues appear to be not bothering them on the practice field. Meyer has called the last three practices some of the best workout's of the year, pointing to the effort of the stars.

"Percy Harvin and Bubba Caldwell are two of the primos that have kind of pulled the string the last couple of days," Meyer said.

Both receivers are getting healthy, which may be part of the reason for a good week of practice. But Meyer also points to a new relationship between Harvin and his new mentor.

"He and Cris Carter have a little deal," Meyer said. "They talk to each other and spend some time together. Cris always talks about taking your game to the next level. Percy is one of the guys that admires Cris Carter. That may have something to do with it, but maybe also that he is 100 percent healthy."

Andre Caldwell isn't quite 100 percent after suffering a sprained knee in week two, but he's getting there.

"He's getting close," Meyer said. "The old Bubba is pretty special, so we're trying to get that old Bubba back."


  • Markihe Anderson was confident after practice that he would be ready for the weekend matchup with Kentucky. Meyer said he's still limping around a bit, but expects him to contribute against the Wildcats.
  • Meyer is looking to Torrey Davis, Lawrence Marsh and Terron Sanders to help out on the defensive line. Said Meyer, "I think if we can get a five-man rotation going in there, we'll be a little better off."
  • Offensive lineman Carl Johnson left practice wearing a boot. Meyer said it's a sprained ankle, but he doesn't know how bad it is.
  • Defensive lineman Brandon Antwine is experiencing pain in his lower back and will not play on Saturday.

    Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

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