Graham Mertz? Defense? Tight End? Nope, Florida football's top issue is this

Gainesville Sun The last time Florida football fans got a good look at the Gators’ offense, they came away feeling queasy at best. It was the spring game, which featured about as many bad snaps as completed passes. That led to a final score of 10-7 and a summer of indigestion whenever the topic of scoring points came up.

Fans got their first good look since then on Saturday. It was a rare open practice where fans, media and maybe a Utah spy wearing a Tebow jersey were allowed to watch two-plus hours of football sausage being made. With that in mind, I conducted a decidedly non-scientific survey midway through the festivities.

What is your biggest worry? “The defense. Will it be any better?” one fan said. Tight end,” said another.

“The quarterback room,” another fan said. “I don’t know about Mertz. ” No.

1 in your program:Princely Umanmielen out to prove why he deserves No. 1 Glimpse at the Gators:WR Ricky Pearsall, CB Devin Moore out and other takeaways from UF open football practice “That my only choices for president will be Biden or Trump,” said another. Okay, I made that last one up in hopes of amusing you enough to continue reading.

Because you know what Gator fans should be most worried about? The offensive line. Zzzzzzzz. Nothing makes readers skip to the fishing report quicker than a story about offensive lines, which is unfair in many ways.

Offensive linemen are some of the smartest, largest and hardest-working players on any football team. But trench warfare doesn’t exactly match the thrill of watching Trevor Etienne running through the secondary. And you inevitably have to use a cliché like “It all starts up front.

” He speaks:Former Florida QB Jalen Kitna breaks silence after being cleared of child porn charges Fall preperations:LB Shemar James out and other takeaways from Florida football practice. So, at the risk of having you jump to NHL free agency news, here is the latest intel on Florida’s offensive line: It’s looking much better than it did the last time fans filed into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for a preview. Of course, you can’t really tell anything from watching 2½-hours of drills.

But at least the centers didn’t have a completion ratio of about 69. 8% to the quarterbacks. That’s largely because Kingsley Eguakun was back at center.

He missed the spring game with an injury, and the fill-ins were young and overwhelmed. Eguakun is expected to be a rock at center, much as he was last season when the offensive line was by far Florida’s best unit. Sophomore left tackle Austin Barber looks like a future pro.

But the offensive line lost four starters from last year, including All-American O’Cyrus Torrence. That doesn’t mean this year’s line will be a problem. It could turn out to be pretty good, though that’s based more on speculation and hope than hard data.

Junior guard Richie Leonard has started two games in two years. Transfers Dameion George Jr. from Alabama and Micah Mazzccua from Baylor could work out fine.

If nothing else, people say entertaining things about Mazzccua. “He’s got some freakin’ dog in him,” offensive line coach Rob Sale said. “Micah just comes in the building sometimes in the morning and just looks pissed off.

” Unfortunately for UF, Mazzccua has had a hard time opening the building door the past few months. He needed shoulder surgery after spring practice and has seen limited action in fall camp. That’s given freshman Knijeah Harris a lot of snaps.

He looks promising, as does freshman Roderick Kearny. He’s the guy who had so much trouble completing snaps to the quarterback in the spring game. Though it should be noted he was an early enrollee and could have still been enjoying his final few weeks of high school.

Kearny also had a broken hand, which isn’t ideal for hiking a football between your legs. The starting five could be solid, but depth will be an issue. It just won’t be as interesting to most fans as what’s happening at QB or whether the defense has figured out how to tackle.

But Florida will have a run-heavy offense. That makes sense when you have backs like Etienne and Montrell Johnson. It also makes sense when you want to keep the pressure off Mertz.

Given his roller-coaster ride at Wisconsin, UF fans have reason to be apprehensive. Tight end is indeed a concern. Running backs are not, but they can’t block for themselves.

As dull as it sounds, there is one big reason the offensive line is Florida’s biggest worry. It really does all begin up front. .

David Whitley
Filed 08.07.2023

Latest Player Notes

If that really was Drake Maye’s last game in Chapel Hill, it provided a fitting full-circle ending

UPDATED NOVEMBER 13, 2023 2:49 PMHere was Drake Maye in the middle of it all late Saturday night, in the middle of the kind ...

Shedeur Sanders closing in on CU Buffs single-season records through pain of all the sacks and hits

PUBLISHED November 13, 2023 at 12:38 p.m. | UPDATED: November 13, 2023 at 12:40 p.m.BOULDER — Shedeur Sanders is closing ...

Tenth Anniversary of Kick Six: Inside video, "Official" look at Historic Iron Bowl Shocker

Published Nov. 13, 2023, 6:00 a.m.By Creg Stephenson See and hear history behind Kick Six (excuse the ads, but this is ...

Goodman: Jimbo Fisher is out and Nick Saban wins again

Updated: Nov. 13, 2023, 10:00 a.m.|By Joseph GoodmanJimbo Fisher is out at Texas A&M, which goes to show that even when a ...

Huard on Huskies: Why a win over No. 10 Oregon St would be huge

The No. 5 UW Huskies’ quest to make the College Football Playoff went through the two-time defending Pac-12 champions on ...

USC’s loss to Oregon exposes clear flaws in program-building up front

EUGENE, Ore. — In January, Lincoln Riley was on the sidelines at SoFi for the College Football Playoff championship game, ...

Two years after winning school-record 12 games, Brady Hoke out as Aztecs football coach

Brady Hoke is out as San Diego State’s football coach.SDSU released a statement Monday morning saying that Hoke is retiring, ...

Oregon’s Bo Nix named Pac-12 offensive player of the week for third time in 2023

Oregon’s Bo Nix earned his third weekly honor from the Pac-12.Nix, who went 23 of 31 for a season-high 412 yards with four ...

Oregon Ducks’ head coach Dan Lanning mentioned as a leading candidate for Texas A&M job

Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning has been mentioned as a leading candidate to replace Jimbo Fisher as coach of the Texas ...

After ‘tough day,’ Boise State AD searches for a football coach; defensive analyst promoted

Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey was on the job for less than a week the last time he began a search for a football ...
See More Player Notes