OL Prepared for Adjustments

One of the key facets to a Steve Addazio coached offensive line is for his guys to be able to play more than one position. Such was the case this week when a couple of left tackles missed practice and others had to be inserted in their place. Marcus Gilbert was the latest to move to left tackle on Saturday when Florida scrimmaged for the first time this fall. He said he was used to it.

Florida scrimmaged Saturday, another rough practice where there are going to be some bumps and bruises. At the same time, the staff can eyeball the guys that are starting to get ready to play for this 2010 version of the football program.

Senior Marcus Gilbert has been through too many scrimmages to count and now he spends a lot of his time making sure his teammates are getting prepared.

"It was pretty good to see all the young guys flying around and getting back in the groove with a scrimmage," Gilbert told the media Saturday after the scrimmage. "It was game tempo, so pretty fun. We have a long way to go."

Matt Patchan has missed more than a week of practice with a broken hand and now Xavier Nixon is out with undisclosed foot or leg injury. Both are expected back before the season starts, but in the meantime some adjustments will have to be made with the top two players missing from the left tackle depth chart.

"I played left tackle a bit and Carl Johnson played a little left tackle (also)," Gilbert said. "I played right tackle, Kyle Koehne did too, and Michael Pouncey played right tackle and center."

It is par for the course with a Steve Addazio coached offensive line, the guys have to be able to step into other positions. Addazio wants to play the best five linemen regardless of position, and if there is someone out, it may cause a move or two to get that best available five on the field.

"In any situation we have someone could go down and you have to be prepared to play another position," Gilbert said. "The thing on the offensive line is we have to know all the calls for every position."

Gilbert said he doesn't prefer left or right tackle, but was a star at right tackle a year ago. He is busy waiting on the return of Nixon and Patchan to the line up. Patchan is someone we haven't seen much of, but everyone is expecting a lot out of.

"He will have a really big impact," Gilbert said of Patchan's return. "We want to have an eight man lineup and rotate guys in and out and have a fresh offensive line so we can run off the ball and make big plays."

Gilbert thinks the running game can be explosive with such a veteran group of linemen that returns four starters from a team that finished in the top ten in rushing a year ago. He also knows the running backs at Florida are dynamic and can break a game open at any time.

"We did a great job last year and this year I think we will do an even better job," Gilbert said of running the ball. "We have Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody, Mike Gillislee, and the young freshman Mack Brown. I am really excited to see those guys take a lot of carries and help us win."

Gilbert was asked specifically about Demps who has always been known for his straight ahead speed, but has been talked about this fall as a guy that has added some wiggle to his game.

"He was always a straight ahead go hard guy and now he is out there making moves," Gilbert said of Demps.

The running game will need to be a strong staple of the 2010 offense with a new quarterback and receivers that are going to have to step up in the passing game. The staff and the offense will have to lean on the leadership of the backs and especially this offensive line to make the offense hum in the fall. Marcus Gilbert seems up for the task.
Follow Bob Redman on


Fightin Gators Top Stories