Trautwein Back on the Line

If the Gator Football team has quality play off the bench this season, there is one guy who will deserve most of the credit. Not Urban Meyer, not offensive line Coach Steve Addazio, not even former recruiting coordinator Chuck Heater. No, the guy who has done the most for Florida's depth in the trenches this fall is senior tackle Phil Trautwein.

Not only did the Voorhees, New Jersey native bolster the line with his decision to return as a fifth year senior. He also helped the Gators by helping uber-talented freshman guard James Wilson through his personal issues.

Trautwein's return is critical for the upcoming season. With him back at left tackle and Jason Watkins on the right side Florida is in good shape there. Trautwein finally got the "all clear" on his injured foot and was able to be full contact during Saturday's scrimmage. It was his first extended action in a year and I spoke with him about it after practice.

LV: You got a lot of activity out there today. How did it feel to be back in the mix?

PT: Good. I'm full go now and it feels good to be back. I was a little rough out there, but it felt great.

LV: Was it a really frustrating time for you to be out for such a long time?

PT: Yeah it was. Last year just seeing my team playing while I was sitting on the sidelines knowing that it was my senior year and I was having to redshirt it was kind of tough. Then having surgery four weeks ago and I didn't know if I was going to be able to play this spring. Just being to be out here with my friends and my team is awesome. I'm pretty happy about it.

LV: How about this offensive line, what's the potential of your unit?

PT: We should be the best in the nation. We have some of the best lineman with J-Wat, Jim Tartt, the two Pounceys and me. I think together we're one of the best lines in the nation.

LV: In a way will the redshirt season last year be a blessing in disguise for you because not only do you get another year to develop. You also get a fresh chance to go out competing for a championship?

PT: Yeah, definitely I get a chance to get a lot bigger. I was kind of small (for a tackle) last year at 295 so thinking about the future I got a lot stronger. I now have the whole off-season to get even bigger and stronger.

LV: What were you able to do for James Wilson to help him through his personal struggles?

PT: Oh I just talked to him because he was in the same boat I was. He had a serious injury and had surgery and was just sitting on the sidelines for the last year. I was just talking about what the coaches were saying and helping him to understand what was going on. He just had to grow up and understand that he's just going through some tough trials. I told him I'm going through the same thing and you just have to look at the positives and he did.

LV: Is it gratifying to you to put your arm around a guy and try to help him and have James respond the way he did?

PT: Yeah, it was awesome. When I found out he was staying I was so happy for him that I was happy for the next week. It was a really good feeling and we have a special bond now. I think of him as one of my good friends on the team.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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