Makeshift o-line hurts UF offense

Florida Gators offensive linesman Jonotthan Harrison (72) prepares to hike the ball during the second half of the game on November 9, 2013, at The Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Elizabeth Hamilton / Correspondent
Published: Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.

One of the bright spots in Florida's loss to Georgia was the improved play of its offensive line.

UF coach Will Muschamp said quarterback Tyler Murphy had more time to throw than in previous games, and he only faulted the linemen for one of UGA's four sacks.

But with offensive tackle Tyler Moore breaking his elbow Tuesday, the Gators were forced to put new starters at two spots against Vanderbilt. Max Garcia moved outside to left tackle, while Ian Silberman made his first career start at left guard.

The results were not great in Saturday's 34-17 loss.

“That hurt us in the game,” Muschamp said of Moore's season-ending injury. “You move Max from left guard where he's been playing all year to left tackle. Then you got a new left guard in Ian, who really, going into the Georgia game before we had another injury (D.J. Humphries' sprained MCL), was going to play tight end for us. It's hard.”

The offensive line gave up five sacks in the game, one fewer than the season-high, and Murphy faced heavy pressure from the Commodores all afternoon. The Gators have surrendered 19 sacks during their four-game losing streak after allowing just seven in their first five contests.

Senior right guard Jon Halapio attributed some of the recent struggles to Florida's makeshift starting lineup, noting that having to shuffle players around creates communication issues.

“It's very difficult, especially with the injuries,” Halapio said. “But I'm just going to stick with what coach Muschamp says, 'We don't make excuses.' We prepare just like Vanderbilt prepared for us.

“There was some things we could have did better up front. We can't keep creating mistakes and playing catch-up.”

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