Offensive line coming into shape

Ethan White, the Florida offensive lineman, has lost more than 70 pounds since arriving on campus in 2019. The weight loss is palpable as his long hair hides the sides of his face, White, measures 6-foot-5 and now weighs just under 330 pounds, looks very different from what he did as an aspiring candidate for Calvary Christian in Clearwater.

Although he knows questions about his smaller stature will come before him, often before asking about his game, White is not obsessed with his size, as do outsiders who do.

After all, he doesn’t have a scholarship to get in shape – it’s just the first step in being able to produce at a high level.

“Really with the physical transformation, as you like to say, it just does what Coach (Nick) Savage and his (strength and conditioning) staff say. When they say do this workout, eat like this, drink a certain way, I mean, I’ll do it because they know best, ”White said. “I came here to be coached and to learn from these guys so I just follow the program they set out.”

Ultimately, what matters to White is how the weight loss affects his ability to play on the soccer field, a junior who is expected to take on a starting role on Florida’s offensive line this season.

“It’s cool, it’s always nice to see that the work is paying off. But it’s nice to get trimmed and all that, but of course it still has to be transferred to the field and you have to play well and all that, ”said White at the end of the training session on Thursday. “I’m not worried about the weight right now. It’s kind of easy, like this off-season, I focused on losing body fat, just leaning out. The weight is just a kind of number at this point. As long as I can move well and feel good, it doesn’t matter. “

According to all reports from those who see him struggling at his craft, White has the size, speed, and ability to play on all five places on the offensive line, although so far he has spent most of his time working inside the left while the first two weeks of the preseason camp.

“I’m still trying not to get too stuck in one spot, you know, I like that positional flexibility, just like Coach Hevesy, so I don’t just play one spot,” said White, “but I’ve mainly focused on that left guard. “

With all of White’s growth, it’s not the weight loss or muscle gains that his position coach has noticed, but rather an increase in confidence and confidence as he goes into his first season as a senior man. It’s something Hevesy first noticed last year with White at the start of prep camp before an injury hampered his progress and limited him to just four games in 2020.

“I think his confidence skyrocketed at the center last year until that injury,” said Hevesy. “Since then I’ve been thinking, even looking through spring training, I still think a little bit and now at camp he really hasn’t bothered to think about these things and he plays with a lot of confidence. What helps the whole group, you know, I mean really helps the whole group. When you have guys, I mean the five, six guys who play with confidence should really help the young guys behind them.

Gouraige uses the left tackle

Redshirt junior Richard Gouraige is aware that replacing the 6-foot-9-stone Forsythe on the left tackle won’t be an easy task, and the Tampa native didn’t step into camp with the expectation that the offensive would skyrocket overnight would arrive.

But Gouraige, who has been tasked with protecting the blind side of Emory Jones or Anthony Richardson this season, said the group is only focused on daily improvement.

“Everything worked out fine. I’m just trying to get better every day with my teammates and I’m still trying to build good chemistry with everyone else, ”said Gouraige about the first two weeks of camp. “The quarterbacks were great and the O-line was great. It’s been great so far. “

You saw the numbers as motivation. No. 93, where UF, for example, ended the season in rushing yards per game.

Though Hevesy prefers to include another statistic to bolster his offensive linemen: the loss in the SEC championship game.

“The coach always comes to team meetings and talks about ‘We lost with six, lost with six, lost with six.’ The critical details and things like that are, as he says, man, it comes down to the little details, “said Gouraige,” and we come to camp every day and try to zoom in on everything and the little (details). ”

The Gators’ offensive line is getting into shape

And the rest of the line?

Previously, in his comments on the offensive line competition, Hevesy mentioned six players “who played some soccer” but there is no doubt that the Gators will rotate more than six down the offensive line this season.

“(When) we have eight guys ready, you’re ready for a game. You can of course level up to nine or 10. I think you can check now, there are eight guys, nine, 10 and 11 are fighting kinda … nine or 10 are. They fight every day, that’s all I can ask, ”said Hevesy. “It depends on the gaming experience. As fast as I can, these guys, whether Gerald Mincey, Richie Leonard, Kingsley (Eguakun), all the experience they can gain on game day. “

To Redshirt runner-up Eguakun, it sounds like he’s experiencing a heavy workload this season as he competes for the start in the middle, the position he played mostly in high school.

Gouraige and White are each able to play all five spots on the offensive line, although the pair spent most of their time training with left tackle and left guard, respectively.

As for the right side of Florida’s offensive line, the starting roles at the right and right guards appear to be down to a trio of players: graduate transfer Stewart Reese, Redshirt senior Jean Delance and runner-up Joshua Braun.

Reese has worked in both spots throughout camp after losing more than 20 pounds since arriving in the UF via the state of Mississippi, and he is believed to be the suspected starter at the right watch. Delance, now in his fourth competitive season with the Gators after dropping out of the 2017 season due to transfer rules, is the alleged favorite to redefine the role of the correct tackle.

Then there is Braun, who spent time at both sentries during the first two weeks of camp, Hevesy said. Having multiple players able to do reps at different positions on the offensive line should only further add to the depth of a session that expects a lot from multiple players who have just stepped up the front row.

“The cross-training I do with (Braun) is that he will really be a right guard / left guard. Then Reese can be a right guard / right tackle like Stewart. So you can do different things,” Hevesy said position on either side or two positions on the same side so they don’t really have to learn right guard, left tackle. They don’t learn opposites (positions), at least they have the same mechanics and techniques and fundamentals involved according to position. “

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