Florida Gators Offensive Line Heading into 2008 with Plenty of Motivation
The most underrated offensive line in college football resides in Gainesville. Not one All-American has been named off the front five from UF.
The preseason magazines that people are forced to read aren't reliable. For example, Athlon's College Football preview listed the top 10 O-lines in college football. Guess where they ranked the boys in Orange and Blue?
If you guessed not ranked, then you are CORRECT!
Doesn't this group deserve more credit? I can think of at least 55 reasons why this unit deserves more respect and recognition. A man by the name of Tim Tebow would probably agree with me.
23 rushing TDs and 32 TDs through the air: Those were the numbers of Tebow's 2007 season. Tebow earned college football's most prized award and became the youngest player to ever win it.
We all know that Tebow is an alpha male and can scare the Boogeyman away. But I'd be more likely to ruin my underwear playing against an SEC linebacker than having an encounter with a dark shadow wearing a mask.
In other words, that O-line gave Tebow enough time to throw for well over 3,000 yards last season and made lanes for Tebow to run for 800-plus yards.
Tebow will be the first one to acknowledge that the Heisman was a team award and not an individual award. The '07 Gator offense was third in the nation in scoring and first on third down conversions.
So where is the love? Can we at least get one or two preseason third teamers?
The Gators are losing only one starter on the line from last season. Jim Tartt, Phil Trautwein, and Jason Watkins played on the 2006 National Championship team. Trautwein and Tartt both started while Watkins got a significant amount of playing time in 2006. Tartt and Watkins both started last season.
In the summer of '07, Trautwein suffered a season-ending foot injury that was actually a blessing in disguise, according to coach Urban Meyer. Trautwein received a medical redshirt and worked on his technique, along with his strength, during his time off the playing field. Now No. 75 is looking and playing better than ever.
The other two spots on the line are held by what I like to call "The Twin Towers." Yes, Mike and Maurkice Pouncey are actually identical twins. Their 6'4", 310-pound frames make them a pretty intimidating identical duo.
Maurkice started at guard last season and is making the transition to center, while his brother Mike switches from starting defensive tackle to starting guard, where he belongs.
The Gators have more depth at DT, which allowed Mike to play next to his brother at the guard spot. Tartt remains at the other guard while Watkins and Trautwein fill the tackle positions.
The starting front five for the Gators has more than enough experience to lead the Gators to Atlanta.
Another thing the media doesn't realize is the depth of Florida's offensive line. Carl Johnson, James Wilson, Marcus Gilbert, and Maurice Hurt can play anywhere in the SEC, according to O-line coach Steve Addazio.
Addazio plans to use this depth to constantly have fresh legs in the game. If someone isn't at 100 percent, the Gators have more than enough talent to substitute. Urban Meyer believes this is his best offensive line he's had at Florida.
Once again, why isn't this unit getting the recognition it deserves? After reading this, I think you can agree that the Gator O-line is a wee bit underrated. With the RB position deep with talent, this special group is going to put up huge numbers. August 30 can't get here fast enough.
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