Notebook: UF’s offensive line still work in progress

    Florida offensive linemen Brett Heggie (61) and Jawaan Taylor are making progress in forming a strong unit. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

    Florida rushed for 215 yards against a strong LSU defensive front last Saturday, which would be considered quite an accomplishment by most.

    But offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator John Hevesy obviously is not that impressed. When asked to assess the line’s run-blocking in the game, he called it “average.”

    “We have to be able to run the ball downhill more than we do,” Hevesy said. “We’ve got to be able to move people off the ball and knock people back more than we did.

    “LSU is good up front, big up front, but, to me our pads have to be low and we have to be able to knock people off the ball to run inside zone better than we do. We got great runs on the perimeter, we have to help ourselves inside to open up more of that outside game.”

    Tar Heels to Gators

    Two years ago, Kyree Campbell and Marlon Dunlap were all set to become defensive line teammates at the University of North Carolina. That never happened. They ended up being d-line teammates at UF, instead.

    Campbell, from Woodbridge, Va., committed to UNC, but never made it to the school due to an academic issue that led him to enroll at a prep school. Dunlap signed with the Tar Heels and played a year there.

    “Coming out of high school, UNC rescinded my offer because of my grades coming out of high school,” Campbell said. “So I had to go to prep school. The only offers I had coming out of prep school were here, Alabama, Penn State, Pittsburgh and there was a few other ones. I came down here for a visit and just fell in love with it, so I committed on the spot.”

    Shortly after Campbell signed with Florida, Dunlap decided he wanted to transfer out of UNC. He picked Campbell’s school — Florida.

    “Me and him were supposed to go there (UNC) at the same time, but it didn’t happen,” Campbell said. “I was here first, and he transferred here. I was actually his host (on his official visit). That’s my dog. Marlon’s my dog.

    “He’s doing pretty good, he’s fast off the ball. Coach loves him.”

    Campbell has become the starter at nose tackle, while Dunlap is seeing playing time at tackle coming off the bench. The two haven’t been on the field at the same time yet, Campbell said.

    “I don’t think so, but I’m hoping we’ll get there soon,” he said.

    First-time starter

    Redshirt sophomore C.J. McWilliams got this first career start against LSU, getting the nod at cornerback over true freshman Trey Dean III, who had started the previous three games.

    McWilliams earned the start in practice last week. Both players saw extensive playing time against the Tigers.

    “It’s just preparation, practice,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We’re going to play guys relative to how they perform in practice and how they’re doing. It’ll be the same this week. You earn your reps through practice, so we’ll continue to do that.”

    Massey full-time DB

    Senior slot receiver Dre Massey apparently is now a full-time cornerback. He made the move to defense after starting cornerback Marco Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Kentucky game.

    Massey is no longer listed on the offensive depth chart. He’s third on the defensive depth chart at the one corner spot, behind Dean and McWilliams.

    Starting cornerback CJ Henderson said Massey has the ability to help out in the secondary.

    “He’s very good with the ball in the air,” Henderson said. “That’s very good for any DB. That’s what helps him out a lot.”


    1. Man, how many articles did we get where McElwain said that Massey was poised to breakout, maybe even be another Percy Harvin type? Great team player though, to make the switch. If he gets into a game and picks off a pass and gets into the open field, watchout, there’s nobody on an opponent’s offense who is gonna catch him.

      • massey got hurt and then we recruited toney for his slot, and then last year was a trainwreck and now Massey is having to take a lesser role than it once seemed he would have. and not every talented player ever finds a way when it counts, which is painful to see but part of life everywhere. we as fans hate that side of the game, but its a reminder to appreciate what we have even more. My memory is we had a guy years ago Jimmy Spencer that it just didn’t seem to happen for at florida, but he figured out a way in the nfl, played 10 years there, and even coached there for a while. Perhaps a similar story might happen again here.

    2. The offensive line should always be a work in progress. Even if you have a superior first unit, some might be injured or leave for the NFL, so depth is something you always need to be working on. Now this line is not yet a superior first unit, let’s hope it gets there later this year.

    3. Good to hear the comments from our coach re– Oline. They are getting better, but they have the potential to be GREAT, and he wants to get them there. Also love reading about the UNC guys and Massey making the move to help the team. I feel like these guys have gotten the team first concept.

    4. What a difference one year makes. Seems like every thing I read here is about players that are improving, or coaches that understand coaching and call things as they are, not as they want us to believe. Great to read about players that are about the team and not themselves. I’m even enjoying the comments section. Great discussion and lots of great insight, even from grumpy Gators. Go Gators!

      • Amen to that Galvez!! This comment section was becoming unreadable, with most posts either by trolls, or a group of 3 to 4 posters who were either having a spat (usually over something stupid and non-Gator related like puncuation or spelling) or using the site as their face book page to have a personal conversation. It was the summer though, it is much better now.

      • the powerful gator nation is a big part of it, I think cdm must have loved firing up the crowd last saturday, which means maybe he is happy here and will have a long and successful run to go with a tremendous start. I’m glad to see the enthusiastic comments which recruits may not read but they know this is a program that wants them to come here and do well, as opposed to other places where its just not the same.
        as far as the offensive line, and the whole team, showing toughness is the real difference I think this year. stats just don’t do it for me. these guys battle, they keep misfortune from spiraling out of control, they stay focused, and maybe some young guys are up and down a little but even then the guy right behind them is ready just in case, in the matter of Mr. Dean. no question our DBU has the horses, really all around we are developing new talent each week. of course this week is not to be overlooked, I hope the guys are sharpening their craft as the fans argue about if we are back fully or not.

        • True. Possibly the best part of being able to hire Dan Mullen away from MSU, was that he had a successful run asan SEC head coach, and most importantly, he wanted to be here and understands the culture of Gator Football. Muschamp wasn’t 100 percent ready at the time, but seemed to like it here being a long time SEC guy, while McElwain just didn’t seem to fall into either category whatsoever. Couldn’t have gotten Mullen when Mac was hired, but the train wreck that was that coaching term allowed us to get the right person at the right time.

      • Even though McWilliams was being picked on and struggled, I think the fact that he was in the game period was a wakeup call to every player on that team. These coaches are setting a precedent that they don’t care who you are, if someone is practicing harder and giving more effort than you, then they’re going to take your spot. I love that, it’s going to make these guys stayed focused and play hard every day.

    5. Our secondary is being helped by perhaps the best pass rush in the country. Polite, Zuniga, CeCe and Joseph have been unblockable.

      Take care of business this Saturday, stay healthy and come home with two weeks to get ready for Georgia.

    6. Massey being moved to DB reminds me of Quinten Dunbar. He had a minor role at UF as a seldom used receiver, somehow got to the NFL and was converted to a DB. I think he has had some success with the Redskins. Just being on the team for four years is success.