How sketchy will Florida’s offensive line be this season?

It’s true the Gators have lost a bunch of starters on the o-line, but David Wunderlich thinks they’ll be okay there, subject to one caveat.

Put it all together, and age is probably more important than starting experience along the offensive line. Replacing a true senior with a redshirt junior as Florida is at left tackle likely isn’t a recipe for a dramatic falloff. Stone Forsythe has had plenty of time to mature physically (losing bad weight and building muscle in his case), so the Gators aren’t rolling the dice on a younger player who may or may not be there yet. He’s also played a million snaps in practice, many of them in the past 18 months with the guys who will be starting this fall thanks to four starters leaving at once.

Obviously age doesn’t explain everything. Jean Delance is a fourth-year player starting at right tackle, and no one expects him to be as good as Jawaan Taylor was in his third year on campus in 2018.

However, the line consists mostly of upperclassmen. The top five also set itself apart early, as the current starters played most or all of spring on the top line of the depth chart. John Hevesy didn’t lose much chemistry building time in March and April trying to find his best players.

Florida’s offensive line probably will be just fine this year. It may even start ahead of where 2018’s line was thanks to the players having more time in the system. The fact that only one scholarship backup is above redshirt freshman status means it can’t afford any injuries, but the starting five may not be such a concern after all. At the very least, having a relatively low number of returning starts doesn’t mean the line is guaranteed to experience a decline in quality.

Hevesy is a good position coach and David’s point about age for offensive linemen is credible.  That all being said, there’s a certain amount of hope substituted for analysis in his last sentence.  You can’t expect a wholesale reshuffling of an offensive line to be seamless.

Beyond that, he’s hit on Florida’s potential Achilles heel for 2019.  Between the state of the offensive line and that of the secondary, a couple of key injuries have the potential to turn the Gators’ season into a train wreck.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “How sketchy will Florida’s offensive line be this season?

  1. Not hoping for injuries, but the potential for this season to be a train wreck for FU is a prayer from our lips to the Man Upstairs’s ears.

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  2. Salty Dawg

    I rewatched last year’s FL game yesterday and I found myself thinking how FL was better than I had remembered and the Dawgs, in the beginning, seemed off. It gave me a feeling of pause in my thinking of wiping the field with them this year. Winning is winning, but the 2017 game was so, so, sweet! Sic ’em, Dawgs!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Russ

      To be honest, we struggled with consistency all season long. It bit us in LSU but the random shuffling of QBs killed any momentum and we had bits of WTF on the goalline many times. Luckily, we had enough explosions that overall we were very good. But compared to ’17, we were up and down throughout the game. I expect we will be more consistent (back the ’17 standard) this season.

      And we will crush Florida. #FTMF

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  3. practicaldawg

    Most of the preseason hype around Florida is predicated on zero injuries and Franks having a breakout Heisman season. It’s wishful thinking at the most extreme.

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  4. Uglydawg.

    CDM is on the mother.
    Realizing his OL is shallow and will need to conserve it’s energy, he plans on the defense being bad enough to keep the offense off of the field.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. W Cobb Dawg

    Rose colored glasses aside, replacing 4 starters on the OL is never easy. Even with all the talent Pittman’s landed, I’d still expect a drop off if it were us.

    Plain and simple, last year’s fu team was significantly more talented than this year’s team. They expect to get the breaks and win squeakers like last year. As Wahlberg said in Deepwater Horizon, “That’s hope. And hope is not a strategy.”

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    • Plain and simple, last year’s fu team was significantly more talented than this year’s team.

      If by that you mean deeper, I wouldn’t argue. But in terms of the starting 22, I think you overstate things. They’re good at receiver, Franks has a year under the new system and they’ve got backs on offense. On defense, don’t forget they lost one of their starting corners in the first game of the season and took more hits from injuries as the year progressed.

      They are dangerously thin in certain places and injuries could derail their chances. But if they stay healthy, they’re not a bad team at all.

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      • W Cobb Dawg

        I believe they are gonna slide and I’m sticking with it. The schedule is tougher. They trade Colorado State for Miami, and away at Kentuck, scu and LSU. I predict 8-4 at best.

        Losing Taylor & Ivey at OT is a stab in the heart. The lone returning OL starter, Buchanan, would be 3rd string in Athens. Also lost their 2 best DEs, arguably their best LB, TEs and #2 RB (770+ yds). And let’s not forget Swift’s favorite tackling dummy, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, moved on. Finally, mix in a mediocre recruiting class and lousy off season.

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  6. Cousin Eddie

    So because the players are “older” they should be just as good? They weren’t good enough tot beat out any player last year but are better this year because the have practiced more?
    “At the very least, having a relatively low number of returning starts doesn’t mean the line is guaranteed to experience a decline in quality.” I thought that was a stat Phil Steele looked as important in his analysis.

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    • Yeah I don’t get know if I buy this either – I’m sure there is data on the subject out there, otherwise people wouldn’t push this narrative. Seems the same argument is being made about Auburn’s offensive line. So your shitty line has a year’s worth of starting experience, so they magically become world beaters? Not saying it can’t happen, but it is definitely a bit of wishful thinking. Hope springs eternal.

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  7. Pedro

    But for turnovers, which is a big but for, they could’ve had a game last year. Winning into the third quarter. I already have money of the game a 4.5 though. Injuries for them will be the issue. They have very few positions now with depth.

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    • Russ

      They lead for about 3 minutes with 25 minutes left in the game. They wound up losing by 3 TDs. Not sure I watched the same game.

      Could they have won if they didn’t turn the ball over and we did? Maybe. You could say that about pretty much any game. This is about the same as saying we almost won the LSU game. Sure I can figure out the ~5 or so plays that we needed to make to win. We didn’t and we got whipped. In the end, neither game was that close, and the score accurately reflected that fact.

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  8. Yurdle

    Hate it for the kid, but UF lost a CB today to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Non-contact injury.

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  9. GruvenDawg

    Their line will be good enough for most games. The issues won’t show up unitl LSU, UGA, AUB, and potentially MIZZ/USC. I think their line was better last year and Franks was a 52.7% passer against power 5 competition last year. Not sure that completion percentage goes up that much this year if hes running for his life on third down..

    We shouldn’t sleep on the gators, but they are super thin at multiple positions. They play Miami, UK, UT, Aub, LSU, and USC before they get to us. It’s the SEC they are going to be beat up. The Aub and LSU games before us means they will definitely be coming in with at least 1 loss, possibly 2 by the time JAX rolls around.The only thing I will give them credit for is their o-line should be tested by the time play them.

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  10. whb209

    UF has some players, not a large load, but some damn good players. I think their biggest problem is something internal that we don’t know about. You can’t have as many guys transfer and HS guys turn down offers if there was not some attitude problems with this team. One important thing Georgia must remember is it is still Florida and we must play them in Jacksonville therefore the Dawgs must be prepared physically and mentally for that game or bad things could happen. I don’t think Kirby will allow that, but the Dawgs better be ready.

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