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Florida’s offensive line a key focus for ESPN heading into 2023

Florida’s offensive line was among the best in the SEC and college football a season ago. Unfortunately, the Gators are replacing four starters on the offensive line after losing a pair of seniors to the NFL draft and two more to Southern California via the transfer portal.

UF will have center Kingsley Eguakun returning, but gone are left tackle Richard Gouraige, left guard Ethan White, right guard O'Cyrus Torrence and right tackle Michael Tarquin. Replacing those four is the top storyline of Florida’s spring, according to ESPN’s Chris Low and Hary Lyles Jr., who dove into each SEC program at the start of spring ball.

The Gators brought in three transfers on the offensive line over the offseason. Alabama‘s Damieon George Jr. and former five-star Kentucky signee Kiyaunta Goodwin should get a shot to play tackle for Florida along with a returning Austin Barber, and Baylor transfers Micah Mazzccua should step immediately into one of the vacant starting guard spots.

While it is almost a complete turnover in the trenches, Florida fans should still feel confident, according to Low and Lyles.

“The Gator faithful should feel confident in the abilities of offensive coordinator Rob Sale and offensive line coach Darnell Stapleton to get this group together, given their track record with Billy Napier’s great offensive lines at Louisiana, which produced multiple NFL draft picks,” the ESPN story read.

Low and Lyles also pointed a newcomer on the team to watch and chose to pick a player that will be behind the offensive line transfers mentioned above. Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz will be competing with Jack Miller III for the starting quarterback job, and his experience in the Big Ten might give him the upper leg. Both he and the offensive line need to excel for Florida to have a bounce-back year.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire