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FLORIDA’S HIGHLY RATED OFFENSIVE LINE

      Florida's Offensive Line      

Today, Cardinal Dominance starts a series on the Florida Gators.  With today's writing, we will start with the Gators’ highly touted Offensive Line and tomorrow, CD Senior Writer, Shane Stovall will tell you about their successful Defense Line.  Early next week, CD will have blogs on the Florida Receivers followed by an article on the UF #1 Passing Efficiency Defensive Backfield in the country. Then late next week, we will present their Running Backs and Quarterbacks and conclude our Florida series with the Gator Linebackers.  Dimori scouted many of these guys in High School and should have some special insights into their talents.

 

Next, during Christmas week, we will have our normal series pitting the Florida O versus the Cardinal D; then Shane will pit the Gator D against the Teddy Bridgewater led Card Offense;  finally, Dimori will present the official Cardinal Dominance prediction.   

Picture  of Xavier Nixon by bleacherreport.com

 

Today, we delve into the Gator Offensive Line.  We will talk about their position Coach, their starting experience, their rankings, and what you can expect they will do and why they will do it. 

 

To set the tone, in his Monday Press Conference, Head Coach Charlie Strong set the stage with his throw down statement: “Our players have got to understand it is going to be a physical game and if we cannot control the line of scrimmage, we are not gonna win the game.”  Florida’s Offensive Line is big, successful, and experienced.

 

The Florida Offensive Line Coach

The O.L. position coach, Tim Davis, has quite a bit of experience in producing positive results.

 

OL Coach Tim Davis has 29 years of coaching experience at the NCAA and Pro level.  Apart from being Director of Player Personnel at Alabama for one season, he has always focused on the Offensive Line/Tight End positions.  Davis has coached in 15 FBS bowl games and won a pair of National Championships with Southern California where his O.L. protected 2 Heisman Trophy winners. 

Picture of Jon Halapio by gatorcountry.com

 

Introducing the Gator O Line

The Gators have had eight different Offensive Linemen start games this season and 11 linemen have seen game action.  Their two deep roster consists of eight players.  Coming out of High School, their Scout rating is an incredible average 4.0 while it is a 3.9 with Rivals. Their starters average 6’4.5” 314 pounds.

LEFT TACKLE, 6’6” 314 POUND XAVIER NIXON.  In 2009, Nixon became the first true freshman to start at left tackle for UF since 1992.  Currently the true senior has 33 starts.  He is on the Senior Bowl watch list and made Phil Steele’s Midseason All-SEC 3rd team.  He was a 5 star with Scout and a 4 star with Rivals. 

LEFT GUARD, 6’4” 323 JAMES WILSON.  Wilson has appeared in 48 games with 16 starts in his career with UF.  The red shirt senior has started in 10 games this season.  He was a 5 star with both Scout and Rivals.  He was Co-Offensive Player of the Game versus uk.  Picture by gatorcountry.com

CENTER, 6’4” 299 POUND, JONOTTHAN HARRSION.  Harrison has started 26 games in his career.  The redshirt junior moved to Center in 2011 and started 13 games and 12 more this season.  He was Co-Offensive Payer of the Week against Texas A&M and is on the Rimington Award Watch List.  He made Phil Steele’s Midseason All-SEC 3rd team.  He was a 4 star for both Scout and Rivals.

RIGHT GUARD, 6’3” 321 POUND, JON HALAPIO.  The redshirt junior has started every game this season and was named Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman for his efforts against Vandy.  He was Phil Steele’s Midseason All-SEC 2nd team and 3rd string Midseason All-American.  Coming out of High School, he was a 3 star for both Scout and Rivals.  He started 7 games as a freshman and was named to the 2010 Sporting News All-Freshman Team.  He has 32 total starts for the Gators.

RIGHT TACKLE, 6’5” 310 POUND, CHAZ GREEN.  The red shirt sophomore has 18 starts as he missed 2 games early in the season with an ankle injury.   He was a 4 star with both Scout and Rivals.

 

Redshirt senior Sam Robey of Louisville Trinity backs up at Left Guard and Center.  Freshman D.J. Humphries was named to the S.E.C. All-Freshman team.  He started three games for the Gators and participated in all 12.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FLORIDA TO DO

Run, run, and run again.  Through 11 games, 66.4% of their plays were runs while producing an amazing 66.1% of their total yardage.  Although they have a 1st string Phil Steele Midseason All-American RB Mike Gillislee, you can be sure that trench warfare is a big part of that success. 

 

The Gator’s tendency to run --- and their domination --- is quite evident when you look at two other stats.  First, on first down, they run 77% of the time.  Second, they average an incredible 5.26 yards per rushing attempt on first down. 

 

When a team is starting out at around 2nd and less than five, your Offensive Coordinator has a ton of flexibility and can go for big plays.  And through 11 games, the Gators have been successful on 70 of those plays (gaining more than 20 yards) while for comparison purposes, the Cards have 55.

 

Running the ball so much of the game will normally wear an opponent down.  What further indicates that is what the Florida OL is dictating, UF is outscoring their opponents in the 2nd half 168 to 55.

 

The Gators do have a pass protection problem as they are giving up an average of 3.0 sacks per game ranking them 105th in the country after 11 games.

Picture of Jonotthan Harrison by gatorcountry.com

 

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

As Coach Strong indicated, the Cardinal D is going to have to figure out a way to win the trenches --- particularly on 1st down.  If the Gators run the ball 66.4% of the time and average facing UL at 2nd and 5, the Cards are in trouble.  UF will suck the life out of the game and the Cards.  The great gigantic Gator Offensive Line is what allows this to happen. 

Florida's Offensive Line

Begining picture by palmbeachpost.com

Closing picture by gatorzone.com

Views: 260

Tags: Cardinals, Cards, Florida, Gators, Louisville, Sugar, UL, bowl, football

Comment by Jim Wetherton on December 12, 2012 at 10:15am

Good Stuff, Rick.  Being in SEC country here in GA we hear all about them and see 'em up close.  Big and experienced and deep says it all.  Our kids are going to have to stay in their gaps or 5 yards will be a short run. 

 

A fan based pick bowl winners site from the Atlanta papers has our game as the most lopsided pick of all bowl games...95% pick UF...I'm a 5%er!

Comment by Lakinit on December 12, 2012 at 10:20am

I like your optimism!!!  Go Cards!!!

Comment by Will Murray on December 12, 2012 at 11:35am

This will be a first hand introduction for the Cards lineman on the goal of what Strong & company are wanting to build here at UL.  I think if our Def can make just a couple 3 & outs we have a shot.  Teddy & the O can probably hang and I think we all know if turned loose, they can produce when it matters.  Just need that 2-3 stops and the special teams to show up.  Go Cards!  Not in it for a moral victory, handle those gators!

Comment by dimori on December 12, 2012 at 11:52am

Good post Lak as You said this line was a highly recruited Ol from Fla and NC...

Chaz Green was a 4 star prospect coming out of Tampa Catholic.Was Offered by programs like UF FSU N.D.Alabama.

Sam Robey 1st BCS Program to offer the two Time All State Player in Kentucky..Coach Kragthorpe and OL Coach Brent Myers really liked the kid..Din't have a lot of Big Programs after Him but look at what's He has develop to

Jon Halapio played ball at St.Pete Catholic and was a 4* prospect coming out UF Indiana UM FSU recruited Him

Jonathan Harris 4* 5* Recruit depending Who you ask in Florida.He had major offers as well...UF ND OHIO ST USC UM FSU

James Wilson definitely a 5* Prospect coming out of Nease HS in St.Augustine..Big Time HS Program that turns them ot every year.He had offers from Just about everybody..UM never had a shot at Him and idnt recruit Him much.

Comment by dimori on December 12, 2012 at 11:55am

Xavier Nixon came out of North Carolina Jack Britt HS and was also a 4-5 star player depending who You asked Butch Davis really liked Him and recruited Him hard at UNC but He decided on the Gator Tradition

Comment by Shane Stovall on December 12, 2012 at 1:09pm

Great stuff Lakinit, enjoyable read and very informative. Mine is a little different looking but that's what I like about the way we do these...difference is key!

 

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