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April 6, 2012

Florida's line ready to gel


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MORE FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: Take Five - O&B Debut Edition | Florida expecting over 20 Rivals250 members this weekend | Floyd prefers inside, but getting comfortable outside | Final chance for James Wilson | Rivals250 defensive end visited UF again | O&B Debut - What to Watch For II | Spring Practice Headquarters

Gators fans are anxious for Saturday's Orange & Blue Debut, as spring camp culminates with a scrimmage all eyes can see.

Has the offensive line truly gelled? Who is the backup running back? Is Florida actually tougher?

Most importantly, what about quarterback?

In most cases, none of those questions will be officially answered until September 8th, when Florida travels to Texas A&M for its first true test of the season.

But Thursday, redshirt sophomore Chaz Green, UF's prospective right tackle, spoke about Florida's revamped offensive line, the upcoming scrimmage and the running back competition.

The unit was really young last season; can you talk about the experience of being a year older?
"We're working together. We got another year under our belt like you said. We're really young, so we're working as a group. Everybody is working together with the calls and everything. We know how each other plays so it's definitely helping us. You can see it on the field. We're just one year removed. One more year of experience. That all helps with everything."

How's the rotation working at the tackle spots?
"Me and [junior Matt] Patchan are switching out, X[avier Nixon] is holding down the left side."

So it sounds like Nixon has had just a dominant spring?
"He's playing real well. He's had the best spring I've seen. He's looking really good."

Who is the leader on the offensive line this spring?
"I would say probably [center Jonotthan] Harrison and [right guard Jon] Halapio. Those two guys are really taking charge. I mean center of course has to be the leader of the O-line so I feel [Harrison] is doing a good job."

What's it like to see James Wilson healthy, and happy?
"Its good to see him back out there. He's been here for a while, but it's good to see him out there. He's capitalize on it. It's his last year, so he [going to] make the best of it."

How much did Injuries to the O-line really affect the unit last season? Did it hurt you guys?
"It did, but we can't make excuses. We just had to go with it."

How have the early enrollees looked? Does it add depth?
"They [Jessamen Dunker & D.J. Humphries] look good. They pick up stuff quick. They've gotten a whole lot better from day one. That's a product of being able to pick up stuff because they're is a lot thrown at them."

Can they play this fall?
"I'm not going to doubt them. They've shown they're improving everyday so yeah, why not."

How is the spring game different from practice? Are guys amped to put on a good show?
"I mean yeah, because the crowd is there. It's more game like. It's going to have more of a game feel with the crowd and everything but we have been scrimmaging so much we know how everybody plays."

Talk about the running game, is it more physical this spring?
"It's just, we have a wide variety of plays. It just depends on what we're doing. The off-season really helped us. The strength staff, Coach Dillman and those guys have us ready to go physically and we, everybody notice it on the field.

Mike Gillislee has been praised as taking the tailback reigns, how have the others guys preformed?
"I think they're all playing well. Gillislee is having a real good spring but Omarius [Hines], Mack [Brown] those guys are looking real good too."

But has one stood out more than the other?
"It's hard to tell. I'm just doing my job."


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