Gilbert Happy to be Back at Tackle

There aren't many concerns about the 2009 Florida football team, but offensive tackle is one area that has to be settled. Long time starters Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins have moved on leaving two large voids in the Gator offensive line. One of those voids is likely to be filled by junior Marcus Gilbert who has played more guard than tackle in his Florida career.

However tackle is the natural position for the 6-5, 318-pound blocker from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale. In speaking with me and another media person, Marcus Gilbert says he's excited about 2009 and plans to hold on to the number one spot at right tackle.

MP: How did it feel to be out there with the ones?

MG: "It feels good. It feels good to be out on the field either way. I'm just trying to get some reps in and get back on my grind and try to do better next year."

MP: How do you feel about this season?

MG: "It's going to be a good year, and a good line, too. We have a great line returning and we should be able to fill our two deep at every position. We're going to be good this year."

LV: Do you feel more comfortable at tackle?

MG: "Yes, I think tackle is a more natural position for me."

MP: Are you more confident now than you have been in the past?

MG: "Yeah, because I was always playing tackle and was more comfortable with that. Making the transition to guard was something new and it was like being out there for the first time. It made me better as a player to learn and be able to play both positions, but I'm happy to be back at the tackle position."

LV: Did you feel all along that you would end up back at tackle after Phil and Jason moved on?

MG: "I did and the coaches told me that too. I always knew I was a natural tackle."

LV: Is there a little different feeling coming out to practice knowing that you're the right tackle that it's your job?

MG: "It does a little. I'm happy to be back on the field with all my boys, regardless but I have to respect my spot here and try to get better every day."

LV: What do you think about the young guys now that you've gotten a good look at Nick (Alajajian), Johnatthon (Harrison) and David Young?

MG: "They're coming along pretty good. We've all got a lot of work to do. They're young and everything is new, so they are going to struggle. I struggled when I was a freshman but they're coming along really well from when they first got here."

LV: How can you help the young guys?

MG: "It starts with extra work. (We need) extra time in the film room going over plays and learning the basics (of the offense). Plus we have to get in extra work during practice and after practice whenever they mess up so they learn the proper technique or whatever. I have to push them to be the best players they can be."

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The best bet for the upcoming season is that Gilbert and Carl Johnson will be Florida's tackles with James Wilson favored to win the left guard job in competition with Mo Hurt among others. It will be a challenge for David Young, Matt Patchan and the other young linemen to disrupt that thinking.


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