Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy has a simple game plan for his linemen Saturday in Knoxville.
Play hard and fast — and hit somebody. Always hit somebody.
“We’ve just got to play with confidence,” he said. “We’ve got to go out and play with confidence and have fun playing the game and not be frozen, ‘OK, what are they going to do?’ Just play the game. If you screw up or do something, great. Just do it 100 miles an hour. Stop worrying about being exactly correct or doing it perfect, just go play hard. Go play hard, go play fast, we’ll correct everything we have to correct after.
“(Hit somebody) as hard as you can. And come off the ball as fast as you can. If you’re standing there doing this, A, you’re probably going to be wrong. B, you’re going to get the crap knocked out of you. Better off just go hit them than you be hit.”
Hevesy said the line showed improvement in the win over Colorado State, but there is still plenty of work to be done to become the line he and coach Dan Mullen are demanding.
“We’ve just got to keep working and grinding,” he said. “The biggest thing is just the details, the sense of urgency, the details to everything we do. That’s constantly got to get a lot better. Are there things that we did better in terms of communication? Yes, but to me the attention to detail and a sense of urgency still has to improve. That’s got to improve at a rapid pace and even more now that we’re into SEC games.”
After the line was pushed around in the loss to Kentucky, there was an emphasis in practice last week to play tougher and be more physical. That was evident on the field at times in the win over Colorado State.
“It was better,” Hevesy said. “You see them trying and that’s still a day-to-day process we’ve got to keep getting better at and keep understanding that.
“It’s 100 degrees out here. Learn to fight. Nobody cares if you’re tired. Nobody cares if you’re sore. It’s hot, it doesn’t matter, still have to play the game this week. It could be hot there. We’re going to play in front of 100,000 people. Block it out, and go play hard.”
Pierce ready to rock
The loss of Malik Davis with a broken foot has knocked a hole in the depth at running back. It also gives talented true freshman Dameon Pierce an opportunity to get more game reps. He flashed his potential with a 68-yard TD run last Saturday.
“I’ve been saying Dameon Pierce is a very talented kid,” junior running back Lamical Perine said. “He goes hard on the field and off the field, in the weight room.
“I’m not surprised when he scored. He’s a talented guy, he’s a guy that’s going to be good for the next three to four years. It was nice to see him get the touchdown, first one in The Swamp.”
Freshman TEs developing
True freshman tight ends Kyle Pitts and Dante Lang have seen only very limited playing time, but the coaches are going to continue developing them in practice before making a decision on whether to redshirt them this season.
With the new redshirt rule, a player can play four games at any point in the season and still redshirt.
“The new redshirt rule gives you that flexibility to kind of play that along the season a little bit more than it did in the past,” tight ends coach Larry Scott said. “We’re fortunate enough with that new rule that we don’t have to do that. You can keep their attention, keep them learning and working hard and progressing the way you want to see freshmen progress.”
Scott said Pitts and Lang are talented prospects.
“Love the potential,” he said. “They’ve got size, pretty good football IQs, they’re learning the game, how to play the game and the transition from high school to the speed of the game here in college. And all of the other obligations and different things you have being a student that come along with it. It’s provided a nice platform to do a really good job developing the freshmen.”