Sophomore offensive guard Jim Tartt has been slowed by shoulder injuries since his arrival at the University of Florida. Tartt was among the most devastating blockers in the state as a junior and senior at Wakulla High School.
After surgeries on both shoulders, the 6-3 315 said that he is finally close to full speed. He expects no less than to establish himself as a key member of an offensive front that will lead the Gators back to the top of the SEC Eastern Division and a December trip to Atlanta.
Mark McLeod: I’ve noticed they’re still holding you out of the contact drills. Give us an update on the shoulder.
Jim Tartt: “It’s just that they’re going to ease me back in. You see last year when I had surgery on my left shoulder, they kind of rushed me in and wanted me to get back sooner. This year they’re taking it a little bit easier. My shoulder was so tired the second week, I really couldn’t do anything with it.”
Mark McLeod: It looks like it’s still a little tight for you. I noticed that you are having to stretch it out quite a bit.
Jim Tartt: “That and the small muscles in there aren’t as strong as they should be right now. I don’t have the endurance in there that I did.”
Mark McLeod: Is there some concern this close to the start of the season about recapturing the endurance through rehab?
Jim Tartt: “Oh, yeah. I’ll be fine. I’m almost there right now. They’re just taking it easy. They’re just making sure that I don’t do anything to tweak it or mess it up.”
Mark McLeod: What other precautions are being made?
Jim Tartt: “Yeah, I’ll have a shoulder harness on.”
Mark McLeod: Personally speaking, what are your strengths right now?
Jim Tartt: “Probably starting the three games that I started last year. I kind of know what to expect And right now, I’ve got the best front four in college football lined up across from me, so that’s an advantage too.”
Mark McLeod: What are your thoughts on how the line is coming along. Obviously there have been some moves and not a lot of experience in those positions. Are you guys comfortable picking up the defensive stunts and understanding the assignments?
Jim Tartt: “Yeah, we all understand it better. We just gotta mostly work on technique and get better at that. We’ve got get better footwork. But, we all understand the offense pretty good. We just need to get our fundamentals right.”