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  • David Sharpe, Antonio Riles, Orange and Blue Debut, Gainesville, Florida, University of Florida, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

    David Sharpe and Antonio Riles will hold down the left side of the offensive line in 2015. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators fixing the
numbers game on offense

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Written by Nick de la Torre, June 24, 2015, 2 Comments,
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A pizza delivery guy, a bartender and an engineering student, walk on to a football field. No, that isn’t the beginning of a bad joke but that is who Head Coach Jim McElwain joked helped the Florida Gators finish out the spring with just six healthy offensive linemen.

If the past few years have taught Florida Gators fans anything it’s that injuries happen. Football is a violent game where overgrown humans are running full speed into each other and throughout the course of the season those collisions will result in injuries. A team needs to be prepared to withstand that and the Gators barely had enough offensive linemen to field a starting five, let alone have any sort of depth to be able to handle an injury.

Coach McElwain made comments that the Gators were “insufficient” numbers wise in some areas and since taking this job he’s done everything he can to build those numbers up. On top of signing seven offensive linemen in his first recruiting class, McElwain has added two-time FCS All-American offensive lineman Mason Halter (from Fordham) and another transfer in T.J. McCoy (North Carolina State Wolfpack). Both upperclassmen will be eligible immediately. Halter and McCoy will enroll with the rest of the freshman class this week for the start of Summer B. With the addition of the two transfers and the freshman, the Gators will go into fall camp with 15 offensive linemen on scholarship, right about the numbers that Coach McElwain will want.

The numbers may be right and the Gators are certainly in a better place today than they were two months ago, but the line will be young and inexperienced, far from strength on the offense. Question marks will surround the line. Can a FCS offensive lineman — an All-American — transfer and be reliable in the SEC? Can freshman like McCoy and Martez Ivey beat the learning curve and provide depth — if not immediate playing time — from the start?

Thanks to tireless effort from Coach McElwain and his staff the Florida Gators will be able to field an offensive line this season. That didn’t look like it would be the case when they took over.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. malscottJune 25, 2015, 12:26 am

    In the spring we were all scared. Currently, I’m impatiently waiting with a decent bit of optimism and obviously some consternation. But, really, those coaches have filled a void here in the offseason. Only time will tell-but we’re sure in a better place than we were a few months ago. Go Gators.

    • Nick de la Torre
      Nick de la TorreJune 25, 2015, 3:34 pm

      Agree, a much better place numbers wise but it is hard for freshmen to come in and play right away on the line. Time will tell.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-04-11_104_David-Bowie_Florida-Gators-Florida-Football-Orange-And-Blue-Debut-2015_Florida-Gators-offensive-lineman-David-Sharpe-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,
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A pizza delivery guy, a bartender and an engineering student, walk on to a football field. No, that isn’t the beginning of a bad joke but that is who Head Coach Jim McElwain joked helped the Florida Gators finish out the spring with just six healthy offensive linemen.

If the past few years have taught Florida Gators fans anything it’s that injuries happen. Football is a violent game where overgrown humans are running full speed into each other and throughout the course of the season those collisions will result in injuries. A team needs to be prepared to withstand that and the Gators barely had enough offensive linemen to field a starting five, let alone have any sort of depth to be able to handle an injury.

Coach McElwain made comments that the Gators were “insufficient” numbers wise in some areas and since taking this job he’s done everything he can to build those numbers up. On top of signing seven offensive linemen in his first recruiting class, McElwain has added two-time FCS All-American offensive lineman Mason Halter (from Fordham) and another transfer in T.J. McCoy (North Carolina State Wolfpack). Both upperclassmen will be eligible immediately. Halter and McCoy will enroll with the rest of the freshman class this week for the start of Summer B. With the addition of the two transfers and the freshman, the Gators will go into fall camp with 15 offensive linemen on scholarship, right about the numbers that Coach McElwain will want.

The numbers may be right and the Gators are certainly in a better place today than they were two months ago, but the line will be young and inexperienced, far from strength on the offense. Question marks will surround the line. Can a FCS offensive lineman — an All-American — transfer and be reliable in the SEC? Can freshman like McCoy and Martez Ivey beat the learning curve and provide depth — if not immediate playing time — from the start?

Thanks to tireless effort from Coach McElwain and his staff the Florida Gators will be able to field an offensive line this season. That didn’t look like it would be the case when they took over.

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