Once again the Florida Gators offensive line has become the butt of jokes and drawn the ire of the fan base.
Currently the Gators have the 9th ranked rushing offense (185 ypg) and have allowed four sacks, a number that would be higher if not for Feleipe Franks’ mobility. Needless to say as they currently stand there is much to be desired.
That has brought the endless stream of a single question: Where is Brett Heggie and why isn’t he starting?
Heggie played in eight games in 2017 including seven starts before a knee injury at Missouri ended his season. He missed spring football while rehabbing the knee injury and was ready to go for fall camp before a case of turf toe sidelined him. Heggie did what he could in the classroom but he couldn’t practice and was left behind. There’s also not much you can do in terms of treating turf toe, which is a sprain in the ligaments surrounding the big toe. All you can really do is ice it and give it time, frustrating for the redshirt sophomore who was set to be one of the five starting offensive linemen.
So the answer to the question of where Heggie is has a simple answer. He’s there; he’s just not where he needs to be yet. His turf toe limited him so much during fall camp that he wasn’t even able to really get back on to the practice field until Florida was in game preparation for Charleston Southern.
“Coming off the injury and coming back into it, it was a whole new coaching style how he wanted things done, new plays, stuff like that,” Heggie said of working with a new offensive system and a new offensive line coach. “I just had to get used to the offense overall. That was the main thing.”
Heggie played a limited role against Charleston Southern, just enough to get his feet wet near the end of the game. He didn’t play against Kentucky but got some early reps against Colorado State and then finished the game. Heggie is one of Florida’s best offensive linemen, so getting him back in the fold is critical. Offensive line coach John Hevesy knows that and is trying to work him back into the mix.
“That’s why he played some, that’s why I played him after third and fourth series, to go play two series in a row,” Hevesy said. “That was, to me, just keep getting him somewhere in the fifth and sixth series just to go play and to me it’s getting him in there a certain amount each week.”
Heggie came in last week late and paved the way for Dameon Pierce’s 68-yard touchdown. He’s a road grader in the middle of the line and will help Florida’s rushing game when he’s back in the starting lineup. Since 2000 the team that rushes for more yards in this game is 14-4.
Heggie can and will help Florida’s rushing game. He just needs to get back to the form he was in before his knee injury in 2017.
“I’m getting better, I think every day,” Heggie said. “I still got a little bit to go
to compare to where I was last year. I’m working on it. I’m getting there.”