VETTEL: Offensive Line Getting Overlooked

There's one thing you can count on when it comes to the hype surrounding a football team; none of it will be directed towards the offensive line.

Oh you remember them, the big guys in the three-point stances. Most fans only pay attention to the guys in the trenches when one of them jumps the snap count or gets called for holding, but that's show biz. If you want fame, don't play there.

Still, the Gators' line deserves a world credit for the incredible offensive season Florida is having (more on that later this week). Florida's line has paved the way to 30 running touchdowns and allowed Tim Tebow to be sacked just 11 times compared to 255 passing attempts. And it hasn't been easy.

Florida had to overcome losing their top lineman, senior tackle Phil Trautwein before the start of the season. They lost freshman backup center Michael Pouncey to the defensive front, reducing their depth. Then on Saturday night in Columbia they lost the other Pouncey twin, Maurkice to a high ankle sprain.

No matter. The guys up front just keep on keepin' on. Jason Watkins has solidified left tackle in the absence of Trautwein; Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert stepped in to provide more depth and Maurice Hurt played almost the entire game against Carolina and helped the Gators rack up 537 yards and 51 points.

Oh, I understand why so much attention is paid to the incredible performances of Tim Tebow and the spectacular playmaking ability of Percy Harvin. Heck, I freely admit I'm part of the problem. We media types tend to under report on things like blocking. Let's face it; it is not a sexy topic by any stretch of the imagination.

But there are more reasons than Tebow and Caldwell for Florida having a big year on offense. It's more than Percy Harvin and Cornelius Ingram. It's also Fayson, Moore, James and Murphy. But none of them could be doing what they're doing without the so-called "big uglies" up front. Those "uglies" are responsible for some beautiful results.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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