Florida’s o-line woes improving

Published on Wednesday, 6/24/15, at 5:09 p.m. Eastern.

After the first spring game of Jim McElwain’s tenure at Florida, fans were starting to hit the panic button about the lack of numbers on the offensive line. There were just six healthy scholarship players on the roster at the time.

UF's o-line depth has improved with the addition of transfers Mason Halter and T.J. McCoy.

UF’s o-line depth has improved with the addition of transfers Mason Halter and T.J. McCoy.

But with UF’s 2015 season opener less than 10 weeks away, the outlook for the Gators’ offensive line is looking better by the day. In fact, when practice starts in August, UF is expected to have 15 healthy players on the o-line.

UF added another transfer earlier this week with the addition of T.J. McCoy, a true freshman who signed with North Carolina St., enrolled early and participated in spring practice with the Wolfpack.

McCoy has decided that he wants to play closer to home, however, and the NCAA has granted him a hardship waiver that will allow him to play immediately. McCoy, the son of former UF All-SEC defensive tackle Tony McCoy, who played for the Colts, was a three-star recruit.

Two weeks ago, UF brought in another transfer in the form of Fordham’s Mason Halter, a two-time FCS All-American offensive tackle who is a 6’8″ 300-pounder. Halter can also play right away.

Seven freshmen o-linemen are arriving in Gainesville for Summer B classes. This group includes Martez Ivey (6’6″, 290 lbs.), who is expected to start at offensive tackle right away. Ivey was considered the nation’s best o-lineman in the 2015 class.

At 5Dimes, Florida has a season win total of seven (+110 for the ‘over, -150 for the ‘under’). The Gators have 80/1 odds to win the College Football Playoff and 6/1 odds to win the SEC East.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–According to multiple reports, UCLA wants the five felony charges dropped against P. Diddy. Obviously, a criminal prosecution of the rap mogul would be a spectacle that would have the football program in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Bruins return 18 total starters (10 offense, 8 defense) from last year’s 10-3 team. They are hoping true freshman Josh Rosen can step in right away as a true freshman and adequately replace Brett Hundley. Jim Mora Jr.’s team plays these three non-conference games: vs. Virginia, at UNLV and vs. BYU.

–Steve Spurrier called for the removal of the Confederate Flag in South Carolina back in 2007. SB Nation pulled up this quote from Spurrier in 2007: “I realize I’m not supposed to get in the political arena as a football coach, but if anybody were ever to ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it. I’ve been told not to talk about that. But if anyone were ever to ask me about it, I certainly wish we could get rid of it.”

–FSU and Alabama will meet in Atlanta in the 2017 season opener. The deal was finalized earlier this week. Also in 2017, Michigan and Florida will collide at Jerry World in Arlington. The schools met at the same venue in the 2013 Elite Eight. I was there and it wasn’t pretty, as Nik Stauskas exploded for 3-pointers galore in a blowout win over the Gators.

–I love the new feature in Phil Steele’s magazine that notes when an opponent is coming off a bye on each team’s schedule.

–Alabama will face four foes coming off a bye. However, we’ll discount LSU since the Tide will also be coming off an open date and also disregard ULM for obvious reasons. But it’s interesting to note that Nick Saban’s team will go to College Station on Oct. 17 to play its seventh game in seven weeks, while the Aggies have two weeks to prepare for the Tide. Then on Oct. 24, Tennessee gets two weeks to get ready for ‘Bama.

–LSU has a daunting November slate: at Alabama, vs. Arkansas, at Ole Miss and vs. Texas A&M. The Rebels will be off an open date when they host the Tigers in Oxford.

–Arkansas will have to travel three times in three weeks as it goes to T-Town to face ‘Bama. The Hogs play Texas A&M in Arlington on Sept. 26 before going to Neyland Stadium to take on the Vols in Knoxville. One week later, the Hogs will be at Bryant-Denny Stadium. They get an open date next so Auburn will face a fresh set of Razorbacks in Fayetteville on Oct. 24.

–I really think Mississippi St. is going to struggle this year. Beyond an easy non-conference slate and a home game against Kentucky, where are the Bulldogs going to get additional wins? At home against Ole Miss? Maybe. At Missouri? I doubt it. At Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M? No on The Plains, no in Fayetteville, doubtful in College Station. At home against LSU and Alabama? Only if LSU’s QB play is absolutely atrocious. If Dan Mullen can go 7-5 this year, I’ll be impressed.

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