As the Florida Gators put on the pads for spring practice, one position group of interest is the offensive line.
After a 6-7 season in 2021, the Gators got pushed around in SEC play, finishing 2-6 in conference games.
Head coach Billy Napier wanted to put a premium on the trenches from Day 1 at Florida. When assembling his staff, Napier took a different route when using his ten assistant coaches. Instead of using one offensive line coach as much of the FBS schools do, Napier instead put two coaches on the offensive line.
Former Giants offensive line coach Rob Sale returns to College Football to lead the Gators’ unit, and former NFL player Darnell Stapleton also aids the offensive line as an assistant offensive line coach. Sale and Stapleton have their sights set on establishing a rugged, hard-nosed unit.
Early returns are good for the Gators, but practices are much more intense than the former regime. As the spring goes on, Florida will be more conditioned for SEC ball in the fall.
Looking ahead to the 2022 Florida Gators
The offensive line returns Kingsley Eguakun, Josh Braun, Michael Tarquin, Ethan White and Richard Gouraige. Behind the first five, Richie Leonard, Will Harrod and Austin Barber and Yousef Mugharbil round out the unit.
Florida also added Louisiana transfers O’Cyrus Torrence and Kamryn Waites for depth. While Waites is a developmental prospect, Torrence will provide valuable experience to the Gators in 2022.
With Napier changing the offense, Torrence will act as a leader in the room, as he is familiar with the system from his time at Louisiana. The adjustment will take time for the Gators, as Napier will work to establish the run often. Torrence will be a player that the offensive line room leans on to help them out throughout the install.
The Gators will finish spring ball on April 14 with the spring game at 7:30 p.m and will kick off the 2022 season with Utah on Sept. 3.