Photo credit: Florida Gators Creative Media
When Billy Napier arrived in Gainesville, he made his plans for Florida football clear: tear it all down and rebuild the Gators from the ground up.
If Napier’s transparency during his first offseason in charge wasn’t enough to reassure UF fans of that reality, his final two months as the program’s head coach certainly should.
As of the second half of November 2022, Florida has completed its first repeat season in the SEC since the 1950s, added 22 grantees to the transfer portal, welcomed ten FBS transfers to the university after acquiring six last offseason, and Napier’s first full high School-signed Recruitment Class, a platoon of two or more signers in six different positions.
Florida football will no doubt look different in Napier’s second year at the helm. Whether it improves or not remains to be seen, but the incoming transfers — most at least — will nudge the Gators in the right direction sooner rather than later.
All Gators projects roles for each Florida transfer acquisition ahead of the 2023 season. Covered quarterback Graham Mertz and run back Cameron Caroll Now we’re focusing on the first of three UF portal expansions for the offensive line this offseason, starting with Baylor Guard Transfer Micha Mazzcua.
Florida’s offseason got off to a rough start, losing four of its five starting offensive linemen from 2022 to left tackles Richard Gouraige and right guardian O’Cyrus Torrence Entry into the NFL draft and both left guards Ethan White and get it right Michael Tarkin Move to Southern California.
The losses caused panic. With Napier looking to rebuild the roster, it was surprising to see 80 percent of what are arguably the Gators’ best starting unit from his first season in charge left the team — and 40 percent transferred to a new school rather than go pro.
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Enter the reinforcement: Mazzccua, former Alabama offensive tackle Dameon George Jr. and former Kentucky offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin. Of the trio, Mazzccua is certainly the most tried and tested and should therefore be a regular role right from the start.
In the 2021-22 seasons, Mazzccua scored 898 snaps down the left side of Baylor’s offensive line and occupied the starting role for 10 games during his sophomore third-year campaign last year. He allowed just one sack and 14 quarterback pressures in that stretch, and earned a 76.9 run-blocking grade out of 100 as a first-teamer, according to Pro Football Focus.
The highest-rated start of his career, according to the PFF, came in Week 8 against Kansas. Mazzccua won the field with 83 snaps in a 35-23 Bears win, posting an 81.1 run-blocking grade and allowing just one quarterback pressure over 31-to-pass protection reps.
At 6-foot-5, 331 pounds, Mazzccua has consistently displayed impressive stamina on the Bears’ fast offense. He was on the field for over 70 offensive snaps in six of 11 appearances for Baylor in 2022, with a peak of 91 against Texas Tech in Week 9.
Given his experience in the position, Mazzccua is a natural replacement for White at left-back.
Like Torrence, who moved to Florida from Louisiana a year ago to play the proper indoor pitch, Mazzccua will be immediately seen as an impact player in UF’s line, while George and Goodwin are likely to be in contention for a role in the tackle against freshman all- will fight in 2022. American Austin Barber or possibly take on new positions to bring the top five linemen onto the field.
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