Gators still confident in O-line depsite injuries
Major injuries have hit the Florida offensive line hard, but coaches and players insist the Gators will rally just fine.
Florida RT Jon Halapio has missed all of camp and will miss at least the first two games with a torn pectoral muscle. And on Monday, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced that RG Chaz Green will miss the entire season with a torn labrum.
“It has been (rough), but that encourages growth and development of players," senior center Jon Harrison said. "Man down, man up mentality. That’s all you really can do.”
Harrison said Halapio is a man of faith, and is holding onto to that during as he attempts to recover.
“He’s real optimistic, everything happens for a reason type deal," Harrison said. "He’s a big faith guy. He’s being strong in his faith and knowing he’ll be back in like two weeks from now is real encouraging for him and real exciting. We can’t wait for him to get back out here.”
Florida will rely on transfer Tyler Moore (Countryside) to take over for Green and Kyle Koehne is filling in for Halapio, but is versatile enough to move to other positions on the line when needed.
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said all isn't lost with the line, despite the injuries, and there's no panic in preparation.
"We still feel good about where we’re at," Pease said. "Feel bad about Chaz because Chaz was having probably his best, since I’ve been here, his best practice habits, his best practice time and we were kind of expecting good things from him. You take a hit in the depth because of the experience he does have, but the other guys understand that it’s time to step up. The old saying goes, 'Carry the flag, when someone’s down the next guy has got to step up'. I think kids have done that, I think they need to see their opportunity and go with it.
"We feel that we have eight, nine guys that we can play with right now and that’s a lot better than where we were last year," Pease added. "I think the kids that came here like Tyler Moore has done tremendous things, as well as the other guys. We’ll get Jon (Halapio) back here soon. We’re gonna be fine.”