By Alex Gray
Jonotthan Harrison is not going to budge.
Perhaps that won’t be the case when the 6-foot-4, 299-pound junior lines up at center on Saturday against No. 4 LSU, but definitely not when it comes to the No. 10 Gators overhyping the Tigers and changing their normal preparation on game week.
Repeating a popular line among players and coaches since last year, Harrison said LSU is just another “nameless, faceless” opponent that will be on the west sidelines on Saturday.
“We like to approach each game — same thing you guys are gonna get out of me — nameless, faceless,” Harrison said. “Yes we’re going against some better athletes, but we — especially as an offensive line — we have come a far ways from last year and we’re more meshed as a unit and we’ve been working hard this whole offseason for a situation like this.”
The Gators’ offensive line has been repeatedly referred to as the team’s most improved unit from by the Florida coaching staff since the end of spring practice in April. The group has yet to disappoint with its play in this young season, and Harrison has been leading the charge for the linemen according to offensive coordinator Brent Pease.
“I think they’ve been good every week,” Pease said. “They’re led by the guys in front you know, Jon (Harrison) and (Jon) Halapio, and the young guys kind of fall in to place with them — I appreciate the fact of how they approach each day.”
Harrison cited the team’s need to stay “locked in” for four quarters on Saturday as the key to being successful against the Tigers — something it did not do last year.
“They’re a high motor team and this year of course we’ve shown that we are a four quarter team,” Harrison said. “[Being a four quarter team] will help us this game with their high motors — the fact that we can last all four quarters — we can handle their defensive front.”
Harrison continued to reiterate that the Gators are not changing their mentality or their offensive philosophy just because the Tigers are rolling into town.
“Our team likes to place an emphasis on running the ball in general,” Harrison said. “We’re not saying ‘OK this is LSU, we’re gonna run the ball more’ … as I said, we approach every game nameless, faceless. We don’t care what color the jersey is, what number’s on the jersey — we’re gonna do our job.”
Although he would not admit to any special preparations ahead of the Gators’ matchup this weekend, Harrison did say that new offensive line coach Tim Davis is making sure the unit is mentally prepared for the challenges it faces each week.
“He just emphasizes the fact that all five lineman must be locked in at the same time when were on the field,” Harrison said. “We’re doing more mental reps. We get the physical reps in early in practice just to make sure we’re completely well rounded (and) well prepared.”