Watkins Looks to Tennessee

The Florida offensive line took a lot of heat after the Miami game, but senior tackle Jason Watkins said it was nothing more than a couple of mental mistakes. With Tennessee on the horizon, the O-line has taken the bye week to improve on those mental mistakes.

With all the hype behind Florida's offensive line heading into this season, the play against Miami was considered by most as disappointing, but the Gators were also short starting guard Jim Tartt and were starting two players in Marcus Gilbert and Michael Pouncey who were facing the toughest challenge of their young careers.

"We've looked at the film and it was more of identifying your man," Watkins said. "We had some mental lapses that held the whole line back. They had blitzes coming from everywhere and in that case you just have to sit in your gap and pick the guy up."

One thing that is important on the offensive line is accountability. They view themselves as a unit and if one guy doesn't do their job then it lets the whole line down.

"Everyone needs to be accountable," Watkins said. "If you mess up, you have to find a way to get it fixed. Not only do you have to get it fixed, but you have to go over it and over it again and again. That's how you get to be accountable and everyone has to be accountable for themselves. You have to do your job, especially on the o-line. If one guy doesn't do their job, it makes the whole line look bad."

Watkins did say that the injury to Tartt and shifting of positions has created some issues across the line.

"That's part of it," he said. "It's trying to get everyone to mold together. Miami was a good experience game for us. We can only hope to learn from our mistakes and move on."

With Miami, the Gators got a taste of what an SEC line is going to be like before the SEC season starts.

"They had guys that were stout inside and fast on the outside," Watkins said. "That's the typical SEC defense."

"For me personally, I like taking on the speed guys. The guys that are bigger, you just have to sit back and wait for the bull rush. The guys with the speed like Miami, they give us a better advantage because we can get our foot work right, and that helps us out a lot. Especially heading into the SEC because in the SEC you not only find guys that are big but are also fast."

Heading into Tennessee week, Watkins expects the intensity to increase, but not that much.

"Coach will take another step up, but we never take any game easy though," Watkins said. "We know that Tennessee is going to be a tough game, so we just have to go in and work hard. We just have to keep on going and fighting. … We love the pressure. We love taking it on and stepping up to the plate. Like the Miami game, we loved it because everyone put it on us, so we know the O-line has to step up."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski

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