Stone
Florida offensive lineman Nick Buchanan (66), offensive lineman Stone Forsythe (72) and offensive lineman Brett Heggie (61) set up for a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Gators Tackle Stone Forsythe Comes Full Circle

Stone Forsythe’s career will end where it began. During his Redshirt Freshman season in 2016, the Florida Gators Football Team appeared in the SEC Championship. While Alabama won that game 54-16, the 6’9 313 lb tackle’s confidence never wavered.

“I still talk to the guys from back then,” he said. “They told me I could be the guy one day.”

Now, as a Redshirt Senior, Forsythe stands as the anchor of an offensive line for the No. 11 offense in the country. With a win against Tennessee, Florida will be making their 13th appearance in the SEC Championship. So, Forsythe will be ending his career where it began: Atlanta.

Yet, this team is the antithesis of the 2016 squad. Anchored by defense, the 2016 team struggled offensively. The 2020 Gators look to reverse the fate of the 2016 team with a grudge match against Alabama looming. First, Florida must play LSU Saturday, which is the team’s senior day. Forsythe spoke to the media Monday to discuss the season thus far.

The Blind Side

At left tackle, Forsythe has become the lead protector for Heisman hopeful quarterback Kyle Trask. The Gators’ offensive line allows a sack on passing downs 2.1% of the time, ranking No.11 in the nation. Forsythe helps carry this unit, using his lengthy frame to extend and lock his arms against edge rushers. Forsythe has started in 22 straight games, providing seniority for Florida.

Additionally, Forsythe attributes a portion of his success to offensive line coach John Hevesy. Hevesy, 49, was brought in by Dan Mullen in 2018 after serving in the same position at Mississippi State. Forsythe says the transition to Hevesy was smooth for the team and a large part of the current squad’s success.

Miscues

Yet, if there were an Achilles heel to this offense, it would be the running game. Florida has the No. 102 ranked rushing attack in the country averaging  126.2 yards per game. Tennessee exposed this weakness, as the Gators put forth 21 rushing yards on Saturday, their lowest effort of the season. Florida has not needed to run much this season, averaging 37.8 passes a game. But, Forsythe and Mullen both believe the line can get the run game going if needed.

Forsythe’s teammate, tackle Jean Delance, has taken the grunt of the fanbase this season. However, Forsythe is quick to defend his teammate. So, Forsythe cites a lack of communication as mistakes, not necessarily the play of Delance. Forsythe went in-depth on Delance’s play Monday.

https://twitter.com/AllKindsWeather/status/1312428928171151360

What’s Next

As a redshirt senior, Forsythe will play his last game in the Swamp Saturday. After, he will travel to Atlanta to play Alabama in the SEC Championship.

And finally, Forsythe’s career will end where it started: a chance to take SEC glory.

 

To see Florida’s offensive line rankings, click here

About Sam Petosa

Sam Petosa is a Journalism major pursuing a Specialization in Sports and Media at UF. The South Florida native produces daily shows for WRUF, including "Sport Scene with Steve Russell, and "The Tailgate." In addition, Sam provides weekly sports updates for WUFT News and radio Sportscenter's for WRUF radio. Sam has been a writer at ESPN Gainesville since January 2020.

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