Jon Halapio making strides after early struggle
When I talked to St. Pete OL Jon Halapio at Florida's Media Day during the first week of August, he was kind of down. He talked about the difficulty of making the transition from St. Petersburg Catholic to college football, and said he was having a really hard time.
According to him, everything from conditioning to learning plays was giving him trouble.
Apparently things have changed quite a bit over the last two weeks. Halapio is generating praise from UF coach Urban Meyer, who said he might be one of the two freshmen they are hoping to play on the O-line this season, along with Xavier Nixon.
"Halapio has taken a stride,'' Meyer said. "We're trying to get two freshmen ready to play. Right now Halapio and X are starting to make a move.''
Meyer said what makes those two stand out are "maturity and knowledge", and said each seems to be learning the offense a little easier than the other freshman linemen.
Redshirt junior OL Carl Johnson said Halapio has been impressive for a freshman.
"He's getting better,'' Johnson said. "This is the hardest two-a-days I have ever seen in my entire life. So, I mean, two-a-days are tough, but now (with just one practice daily) you have time to get your legs back, you have time to rest. So Halapio is coming around real good. He's like a big Samoan. He's jacked and he's strong.''
Johnson said he understands why Halapio may have been frustrated early, because grasping the position in Meyer's offense is complicated.
"Our offense is very, very, very potent and there's so much you've got to know from reads to backside crunches, it's very tough for a freshman to come in,'' Johnson said. "But just like you saw Maurkice (Pouncey) come in and play as a freshman it can be done. But you have to have no life. Just football."