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Alligator Army Roundtable, Part Three: Are The Gators' OL And DL Depth Issues A Cause For Concern?

It's no secret that there is a numbers issue going on with the Florida Gators. The Gators will take the field this year with roughly 70 players on scholarship. That's a lot fewer than the NCAA limit of 83. That means there are some depth issues at certain positions.

Two of those positions often talked about in that regard are the offensive and defensive lines. Sure, those positions are loaded with top talent. That is undeniable. But who comes in when they need a breather? Or even worse, what happens in the case of injury? We all saw what happened last year to the Tennessee Volunteers. They were a team with similar depth issues (although theirs were a little more scattered) and it showed, especially in the second half of games against Oregon, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, and North Carolina. And yes, they lost every single one of those games.

Question No. 3: Does the depth issue on the offensive and defensive lines give you cause for concern?

skigator93: The depth issue doesn't concern me as much as it does others. Unless we lose multiple lineman to injuries at once, I think we'll be all right. Sure, we're thin on the lines, but I have confidence that our backups can play on this level. If not, they would not have been recruited. I'm also fine with really young players getting significant game action, as that always pays dividends later.

BKGator: Depth anywhere gives me cause for concern. The fact that we only have 70  scholarship players worries me. That being said, we have some top quality guys at those spots, a lot of four- and five-star recruits. If these guys can stay healthy, then these lines could be dominant. But if just one guy goes down, it could spell doom for the Gators offense and defense. The D-line needs to get more pressure on the QB. But in the end, the Gators' D will be ranked in the top 10 at the end of the year.

swampchomp7: Assuming (with all the inherent dangers assumptions bring) the offense is executed reasonably well, I'm not too worried about the offensive line. The desirable depth isn’t there, but barring a big injury bug (pauses, offers quick sacrifice to Gods of College Football), I’m not anticipating it being a huge issue. Last year’s team suffered from poor snapping and overall offensive derp. The returning starters have another year of experience, for whatever that may be worth, and if we can get something of a conventional run game and a respectable passing game, the D-line’s job gets easier, since defenses can’t then key on one or the other.

The D-line concerns me more. There’s a frightening amount of talent on the starting line (Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Omar Hunter, Jaye Howard), and presumably at least some of that talent will translate into monstrous results. The problem is behind those guys: there isn’t much talent there, and what is there is all very young and inexperienced. Should one or two guys go down, we’re left with a small group of wet-behind-the-ears linemen. Before I get too gloomy, at least we’re not moving a Pouncey over to d-line, and then seeing him become the best of the bunch.

Hook85: Defensive line…no. I am pretty excited to see Easley, Powell and Floyd tear it up this season. The offensive line does worry me, especially with Brantley as the QB. Last season, Brantley did not do well at all under pressure.

FlaGators: It concerns me a little, more on the defensive line than on the offensive line. Aside from murderers' row on the D-line, there isn't much in terms of quality. Many of them were highly rated coming in (Hunter, William Green and Lerentee McCray), but they haven't done much up to this point. William Green, I'm looking at you. As for the offensive line, they appear on paper to be two or three deep at each position; I feel that is misleading. Again, I don't think it is a disastrous situation, but not a whole lot of quality there.