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Theater of Operations, Florida Gators Season Review: The Offensive Line, Part Two

Yeah, finding pictures of the offensive line is quite difficult.
Yeah, finding pictures of the offensive line is quite difficult.

Previous Season Review editions of Theater of Operations: Quarterbacks (parts one, two, three), running backs (parts one, two, three), tight ends (one part), wide receivers (parts one, two) and offensive line (part one).

In the grand scheme of things, when looking at sacks allowed, the Gators were in the middle of the road. They only gave up twenty-three sacks on the season, which was tied for 57th nationally. In terms of tackles for loss allowed, the Gators were one of the worst in the country. They had ninety-six plays in 2011 that went for negative yardage, which was good for 114th nationally. Though I'm sure some of that is due to the fact that the Gators don't have a running back on the roster that could break a tackle to save their life.

Oh, wait, they do, but he never plays.

The offensive line by and large, was one of those groups of Gators that played to the competition. If the opposing teams' defensive line was above-average or better, they couldn't play great. If the opposing teams' defensive line was sub-par, they played great.

I guess that's what happens when your team finishes the year at 7-6.

Play No. 1: Pass protection on Andre Deobse's 65-yard touchdown reception against LSU:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The LSU defense is going to rush five, but the Gators line has things under control.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Everybody has a man (yellow squares).


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

As Jacoby Brissett decides to throw to Debose, not a single defender is even close to him. One of them, was pushed to the ground (green circle).

Play No. 2: The line pulls left on Jeff Demps' 5-yard touchdown run against Vanderbilt:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

While the entire play shifts to the left, three offensive linemen stand out (yellow circles).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As Demps (double yellow circle) gets the ball, the linemen have all pulled left, and are in the process of locating who to block.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

At this point, Demps has outrun three of the linemen (right yellow square) and Xavier Nixon, has found someone to block (left yellow square). Demps by the way, will use his speed the rest of the way and score the touchdown.

Play No. 3: Great pass protection on Gerald Christian's 45-yard touchdown catch against Kentucky:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Kentucky rushes four (green circles) and that proves costly.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

After the snap, every defensive linemen rushes at the go, except for one (green circle).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Look at the space that John Brantley has to step up in if he so chooses. That's at least two yards in each direction.

The play from another angle:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Before the snap, you can see the defender who will delay his rush (green circle), is in a linebackers stance.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As Brantley gets ready to throw, he has to know that he could probably still be standing there today. Free from contact of course.

Play No. 4: Pass protection on Omarius Hines' 22-yard reception against Ohio State:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Ohio State is going to just rush four (green square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As the play is developing, it becomes clear that Ohio State isn't going to be breaking through the offensive line unless the coverage is outstanding (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

I love this because Brantley (yellow circle) has enough time to step up...


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

...decide he is going to step back again, reset his feet again and throw. Brantley (yellow circle) has all the time in the world. Another great job by the offensive line as whole.

As I said in part one, I really think that this offensive line becomes a better line next year just based on experience alone. This year was the first year that they weren't practicing for a spread offense and that change does make a difference. Hopefully, they take advantage of the spring (and summer, fall) practices to improve as a unit that doesn't lose a whole lot to graduation or the draft.