Jan 1, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida Gators offensive line coach Mike Summers (right center) talks to his players during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2016 Citrus Bowl at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. Michigan won 41-7. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gator Football Offensive Line: Strength in Numbers

The biggest difference on the offensive line for the Gators this year compared to last year is numbers.

Now offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has 13 bodies on the roster compared to only six scholarship linemen from last season. And out of the five linemen that started for Florida against Michigan in the Citrus Bowl, four return—left tackle David Sharpe, left guard Martez Ivey, right guard Tyler Jordan, and right tackle Fred Johnson.

Sharpe was one of three linemen who practiced last spring that earned a starting job in the fall, along with center Cam Dillard and offensive guard Antonio Riles.

Nussmeier thinks that during the Michigan game and a few other big games that his young line played in last year prepared them for the level they need to be at coming into this season.

Offensive tackle Fred Johnson along with guards Ivey and Jordan contributed a lot as freshman, totaling 13 starts and playing in 34 combined games, something you don’t see often in the SEC.

Nussmier expects Sharpe and Dillard to step up and emerge as leaders this year.

Redshirt freshmen Brandon Sandifer and Nick Buchanan will have to step up in the off-season to prove they belong as well.

Spring camp has been completely different this year for the Gators because they have been able to separate the drills and work with the twos and threes at the other positions because they have enough bodies to do so.

Defensive lineman Jordan Sherit says he is impressed with what he has seen from the offensive line this spring.

One notable injury heading into Florida’s annual Orange & Blue Debut is Ivey, who hasn’t been practicing because he has been rehabbing a shoulder injury. Sandifer will be sidelined as well as he has been shut out the rest of spring camp with an unspecified leg injury.

The Orange & Blue Debut this Friday will showcase what the Gators have been practicing for all of spring camp, with kick-off set for 7 p.m.

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