GatorNation video position preview: OL

August, 3, 2012
8/03/12
10:00
AM ET
ESPN’s GatorNation is previewing each position leading up to the start of the season with a short video. Each Friday until the season kicks off, Michael DiRocco and Jeff Barlis will analyze a position group, tell you who is starting and why, and provide a breakdown of the depth at the position. This week it’s offensive line.

The starters: LT Xavier Nixon (Sr.), LG James Wilson (RSr.), C Jonotthan Harrison (RJr.), RG Jon Halapio (RJr.), RT Matt Patchan (RJr.)

The backups: D.J. Humphries (Fr.), Trip Thurman (RFr.), Jessamen Dunker (Fr.), Kyle Koehne (RJr.), Ian Silberman (RSo.), Sam Robey (RSr.), Tommy Jordan (RFr.), Chaz Green (RSo.)

Comment: This unit was the reason UF coach Will Muschamp called his team soft and the group responded in the spring. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and several defensive linemen said they noticed the OL was mentally and physically tougher. The biggest questions are whether Wilson and Patchan can stay healthy and if Nixon is going to play like he did as a freshman or struggle as he has the past two seasons. Green will play a lot at tackle in a rotation anyway.

Young guys to watch: Humphries and Dunker are the left side of the future, so expect them to get playing time this season. Humphries was the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the nation last year and has the nimble feet and advanced technique to someday be an All-SEC selection, All-American, first-round draft pick ... the sky is the limit. Dunker has the size (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) to give Florida depth right away, but he's still quite raw. If Dunker is a quick-learner, he could push Thurman and Jordan down the depth chart.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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