Utah defensive end Jonah Elliss (83) sacks Florida quarterback Graham Mertz (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Austin Barber Talks Offensive Line, Opening-game Struggles

Florida’s will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 24-11 loss against Utah when they host McNeese State in the home opener Saturday night.

The Gators had trouble getting things going on offense vs. the Utes. Utah’s defense forced a turnover and had five sacks.  The Gators converted only one of 13 third downs and just two of five fourth downs while totaling 13 rushing yards on 21 carries.

Reaction after loss

UF has been reflecting on the hard loss to the Utes and what went wrong.  On the flight back, they were watching the game film to learn from their mistakes.  The Gators have an open mind that they can come back and dominate their upcoming opponents and take back control of their season.

Off-season training

Even with eight months of training, this loss was a big learning experience for the Gators.  In practice, they can figure out how to be prepared and adapt to a situation like this if it ever occurs again.

Missing Piece

Junior starting center Kingsley Eguakun was out with a lower-body injury. Sophomore Jake Slaughter took the starting role against the Utes in his first start for the Gators.  Even though Slaughter didn’t play up to his standards, he strives to get better.  The coaches and starting left tackle Austin Barber believe Slaughter will improve and be ready for the next game.

Getting Better

Florida’s offensive line is looking to get back on track.  Even though there are a few new faces on the line, Austin Barber believes they can succeed on the field regardless.

Back to The Swamp

The Gators are looking forward to opening night at The Swamp.

They play McNeese State (0-1) at 7:30 p.m.

The Gators are hungry for a win and look forward to seeing the stands packed.  The stadium will also show off its new orange and blue LED lights._+

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