Interior offensive line faces rebuilding project
Published: Friday, December 20, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 10:25 p.m.
This is the sixth of a 12-part series breaking down the Florida football roster, looking ahead to 2014 and projecting how the Gators might look at each position:
WHO'S GONE: Center Jon Harrison, guard Jon Halapio, tackle/guard/center Kyle Koehne and guard Ian Silberman, who graduated last week and will play his senior season at Louisville.
WHO'S BACK: Senior guard Max Garcia and junior guard/tackle Trip Thurman.
WHO'S NEW: Redshirt freshman Octavius Jackson, redshirt freshman Cameron Dillard, junior college transfer Drew Sarvary and incoming freshman Travaris Dorsey, who will enroll this summer.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Gators have some major rebuilding to do in the middle of their offensive line. It starts at center, where UF does not have an obvious choice to replace three-year starter Jon Harrison, who was converted to center from guard. UF may be looking to take a similar route with its next center — taking a guard or tackle and developing him into a center. Perhaps the most likely candidate to make such a move is offensive tackle Tyler Moore, the Nebraska transfer who had some issues with speed pass rushers on the outside this past season. Moore is kind of in the Harrison mold — big, strong, tough and agile, qualities needed to play the center position. The next big hole is at right guard, where the tough and dependable Halapio was a three-year starter. Silberman would have been a leading candidate, but he has decided to use his final year of eligibility at Louisville in the fall after earning his UF degree last weekend. The guy who may get the first look at Halapio's spot figures to be Jackson, who was so impressive on the scout team last fall that the UF coaches considered taking the redshirt off him and playing him in the latter part of the season. Another possibility is Sarvary, the junior college transfer who appears physically mature enough to step in and play guard in the SEC. He also could end up at tackle, but his likely starting point will be at guard. The only interior starter returning is left guard Max Garcia, who was forced to move outside to tackle late last season due to injuries. He's much more comfortable at guard, where he's the only obvious starter heading into the spring.
THE SKINNY: The Gators have to replace two-thirds of their interior offensive front, and they don't have a whole lot of options because of the lack of depth at guard, and the lack of a natural center on the roster. Except for Garcia, the Gators are going to be young and inexperienced inside, which probably is not a good thing, especially with UF transitioning to a new offense under a new coordinator.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.