Gators in-progress OL to start same five vs. CSU

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks gets off a pass before the Kentucky rush gets him Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

After a 27-16 loss at home at the hands of Kentucky, it would make sense for the Gators to re-evaluate the starting lineup throughout the week.

While multiple reserves will continue to make an impact, Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy doesn’t believe the team needs to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate the offensive line. Instead, the Gators continue to focus on competing in practice and carrying the physicality into Saturday.

“They’ve got to learn it. They’ve all got to learn it so it’s competitive every day in practice to learn and go,” Hevesy said Tuesday. “The five of them played and they’ve got to learn from it and the ones behind them have got to learn to practice the same way.”

Florida’s run-blocking has left much to be desired throughout the first two games, with the Gators managing just 128 rushing yards on 29 carries against the Wildcats as a result.

Meanwhile, UF’s pass-blocking appears much improved yet remains a work in the progress, and the Gators don’t have a quick fix in the near future.

Many have continued to float the suggestion that Florida insert redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Brett Heggie into the rotation despite his inexperience when it comes to development under the new coaching staff. Heggie, who missed all of spring camp as he recovered from ACL surgery, has yet to make a considerable push for playing time, and Hevesy doesn’t seem to think the Mount Dora native will contribute any time in the near future.

“He’s getting there. He’s had a good week of practice. Every day for him practicing, he’s had a great two days of practice. It’s still the same thing where he’s, in a sense, 30-something days behind a lot of people in terms of just playing the game again,” Hevesy said of Heggie. “The last time he played the game was really last November to now. It’s still getting back into the thing and you see it. I think he’s progressing at a faster pace now that he’s been back in there for three weeks doing it.”

Regardless of Heggie’s progression, coach Dan Mullen and Hevesy have continued to have discussions pertaining to the progression of the offensive line’s second-string rotation. The current goal, Hevesy said, is for the backup blockers to push the starting rotation for a job, increasing the competition at the position in the process.

“That’s part of the position and competitive nature. We discussed that Sunday and then Monday when we got in meetings. There’s ones, there’s twos, there’s threes: who’s making the push?,” Hevesy said. “That’s the pressure we put on the twos as much as the ones. Why aren’t you taking that job? The only way you’re going to prove that is out there on the practice field.”

If Monday’s practice gauged how Florida responded following a loss, Tuesday’s session revealed whether or not the Gators could sustain their work ethic and intensity throughout the week.

Like several aspects of the team at this early point in Mullen’s tenure, consistent work ethic appears to also be a work in progress.

“I feel like we came out with a practice and intensity that’s way better than what we did last week, the last two weeks,” UF right guard Fred Johnson said. “And just trying to, like, attack each practice each week, because the way we practiced with (Jim McElwain ) last two to three years was way different from how Mullen practices, and I think everybody’s adjusting to that change, and I feel like by midseason we’ll be where we need to be at.”

 

30 COMMENTS

  1. Hevesy– please explain to the RG that if he has to choose between standing around doing nothing and blocking someone who is running right at the QB, he should actually at least try to block the defender. I think this could help. Seriously.

  2. Our o-line is slightly better with pass blocking, but with the stable of RB’s that we have they have got to get on the ball with run blocking. Now that the Defense is mediocre, they definitely have to step up. I’m really disappointed in the Defense. As a team we have got to get it together, we look almost as bad as those Moles from the north. GO GATORS< GET IT TOGETHER!!!

    • Richard. McCoy was not all the good when he was healthy, and he then got injured and that injury has limited him even more. He will never be the starting center for Florida again, I imagine. Too small and now not mobile enough either. Heggie will become the center eventually, I believe.

      • Tampa, I’ve noticed that, in my opinion, you have a keen eye for O-line play and have provided some very astute analysis of individual players and their talents. Appreciate that. As for me, I just wanna see our guys try to push the pile with the same effort and enthusiasm that the best SEC O-lines do.

  3. I want to encourage fellow Gator fans to be very patient. The losing season we had last year and the loss to Kentucky (a much improved team under Stoop) is not surprising. Stoops has had a few years to build a good team and UK will probably go to a bowl game this year (I predict they will be beat Vandy and UT and maybe also USC). We now have our very desired HC, and his hand selected coaching staff. Coach Mullen has shown great success before (for the Gators and Mississippi State), and he will do it again here at UF. Give him and his staff time – do not criticize, as most of us (if not all of us) are not qualified to do so. Go with the flow – Coach Mullen and is most excellent coaching staff will build the Gator football team up so it can compete with the best (not only in the SEC, but in the nation). GO GATORS!!!

  4. Sorry glen there are many things to criticize but i will hold back on the many and just make 1.

    When you have 2nd and 1 from the 3 call a time out and run the fricking wildcat every frickin play until you get in the endzone don’t sub and run hurry up if you have to run the same play AT THE LEAST 5 TIMES till you get in the endzone!!!!!

    How hard would that have been CDM!!!

  5. The coaches see these guys every day at practice. They must be the best we have (at present) or they would not be starting. The problem is not that the coaches are playing these guys. The problem is that these guys are the best we have.

    • The coaches specifically said before the season started that they were happy with the progress of the starters, but there was a significant drop off with the backups that needs to get corrected quickly. Now that we see how the starters are playing, that speaks volumes for how bad the backups actually are. This is not shocking news at all for people that follow what the coaches say and not what the message boards do.

    • In 2007 Urban had to play guys on defense that may not have been ready and we as a result had to outscore many teams, including UK of that year. Tebow & Co pout up pinball numbers en route to his Heisman…we took our lumps defensively and came back, battle tested on our way to the 3rd title.

      I agree Trooper…fans don’t know the day to day and just need to relax…especially after a sample size of 2 games.

    • That’s a Catch 22 situation, Scott. If CDM thinks he can win some games with the current starters, I’m sure he’ll play them. On the other hand, if the Gators are just going to get beat anyway, there’s nothing to lose, and maybe much to be gained, by playing the younger guys. But, lose too many games and some of the same natives preaching patience now will start to get restless real quick.

  6. I wonder how it can take more than say a week to adjust to the new way of practicing? Now being able to do it properly could take some time especially if you are not really that competent to start. We lack talent on the oline, that is apparent.

  7. Our O and D lines are pathetic against real competition. It’s hard to understand since our last stellar coach said these same veteran guys were going to be “Road Graders” and everybody thought this years’ D line would dominate in every game. I’ve stopped worrying about it, just laugh as I look at the “men against the girls” crapfest on Saturdays. Was at both games this year; can’t say as I want to spend any more money watching linemen who just don’t seem to want to play the game of football. They most certainly do not meet CDM’s “Gator Standard”. I agree with Scott’s comment above. Since they refuse to block anybody and lose every 1 on 1 battle then play the backups and build for the future.

    • I’m all for doing whatever it takes……even to entertain such out of the box ideas such as take the Gators logo off certain player’s helmets until they perform “up to standards” (as has been suggested). So go ahead and start the backups, it might work. But of course, the minute there are untoward consequences, the fans will be screaming for Mullen’s head all over again, similar to what Joe Shiver envisions above.

      I swear, two jobs I would not take for all the tea in China: Vice President of the United States, and Head Football Coach at the University of Florida!

  8. It’s hard to imagine, maybe it’s a sign of the times, you know, the “snowflake” generation- that we have to cajole players into playing hard. There’s no “junction boys” here, fellas. Welcome to PC football, don’t hurt their feelings. Doesn’t seem to be a problem at Bama. Mac pretty much destroyed our program.

  9. Hevesy has little in the way of top line talent to work with on the o-line, due to terrible recruiting the last few years and bad coaching / development. He’s a good coach–but it will take time to acquire and develop real talent to compete with schools like Alabama and Georgia, that are loaded with 4 and 5 star players, with more on the way.

  10. I agree we need to practice a little patience. That said, when it comes to some criticism, some are simply stating the obvious. Those issues will eventually get hammered out, which (or course) takes time. Most are just venting a little frustration for various reasons. Perhaps it is that we care so much about the team, and realize they can be much better. Yes, we will get there. But we have talent now, and perhaps lighting a little fire under the boys might be a good thing every now and then….. you reckon?

  11. Can’t buy the “terrible recruiting” excuse either. We haven’t torn it up on the trail in a long time, but we always seemed to come in #10-#20 in the country, while KY was #20-30 every year. And they just whipped our arses man-to-man in our own house. That’s just lousy coaching. CDM hasn’t done the magic yet that we all thought he would. No excuses.

    • We almost lost last year man…should have lost. Maybe…just maybe Kentucky is not a bad ball club and we just aren’t better than them. He inherited a poorly coached, weak-minded team. Evaluating a coach after 2 games is over the top. Let’s see how the season pans out before we do that.

      You may end up being right, but for now it’s premature.