Beat Up O-Line Nothing New

There's one thing Florida offensive line coach Steve Addazio knows how to deal with. That's a banged up offensive line early in training camp. Florida went through its first scrimmage Saturday without Maurkice Pouncey, Matt Patchan and James Wilson. That means the Gators went through the workout without two probable starters and one of the top two or three reserves.

As a result Addazio, the Gators offensive coordinator watched a scrimmage in which execution was not at a particularly high level. Addazio says it's pretty much an annual event at this stage of camp.

"It seems like every year we're having this story so I think I'm getting used to it now. It's crazy. We're a physical football team, bottom line. We coach ‘em hard. They play hard so you're going to get banged up around here. You gotta feel bad before you feel good on our pre-season camp. Up front you got five guys and you gotta have some gel; you gotta have some chemistry. They're not independent contractors. All of a sudden you got guys who are out and young guys are in. You get a mistake here and a mistake there and what do you lose? You lose execution."

Addazio was quick to point out that having veterans banged up is not a completely negative thing.

"The good news is a guy like Jon Harrison got to run with the ones today. He's a freshman. He got in there and I thought he competed really hard. That's what you're hoping to get out of that. (As for) The execution level of all that, nah, (it was) not very good. You're not happy with that, and when the offensive line is not executing it causes the offense to misfire."

While Pouncey missing practice isn't much of a concern because of the amount of playing time he's had, Addazio says that's not the case with the other two linemen who sat out the scrimmage.

"(Wilson) He's had a run of some dinged up, bad luck injuries. He's still a young guy who hasn't played a lot of football here. He's done some good things in camp, but this was a day he could ill-afford to miss. That's a concern that he missed it and the same with Matt Patchan. Through the eyes of that being my position that was upsetting for me that two guys that I really counted on and wanted to see work today didn't work today."

Addazio says while those factors contributed to a less than productive first scrimmage he was able to give the offense some other important work.

"What we brought in today were sideline mechanics. We called it from the sidelines. We wrist-banded it. That's a first. We haven't done that in camp and that kind of takes you out of your little groove. Players get used to coaches in practice being right there standing by the huddle. Now all of a sudden you're not. We got that done today"

Addazio also made it clear the offense better improve a lot for the next scrimmage.

"The next time we do this; this thing has got to be firing much more consistently. You certainly hope the guys who didn't go are in. We are in a race against the clock at every position, not just the offensive line, every position to get as many guys ready to play in a game."

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All indications are that freshman tackle Xavier Nixon continues to impress and may well be the second team right tackle on opening day.


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