MIAMI, Fla. — Florida coach Dan Mullen hasn’t gotten to watch offensive lineman Brett Heggie go through a true practice yet, but he is already eyeing a potential new position for the Gators’ incumbent starting left guard.
Heggie, who sustained a season-ending knee injury late last fall (which he’s indicated in tweets to be an ACL), was still recovering during spring practice, but he’s expected to be at full strength by the start of practice in August.
“He’s expected to be full go so that’s a big plus for us, a guy there that can play guard, can potentially play center for us too,” Mullen said Wednesday night before his speaking event at Marlins Park. “Position flexibility is huge, and it gives us a lot more options.”
Heggie has looked close to full-go in a couple of workout videos on Twitter.
— Brett Heggie (@HeggieBrett74) April 5, 2018
— Parker Boudreaux (@ParkerBoudreaux) May 9, 2018
And the SEC Network broadcast crew mentioned during the spring game telecast that Heggie would be in the mix at center, but it wasn’t clear then if that was something the coaches had relayed.
Redshirt junior T.J. McCoy has been the Gators’ primary starting center since late in the 2016 season, but he got a push from redshirt junior Nick Buchanan in spring practice. McCoy also went down with an unspecified injury late in the spring game, but Mullen said Wednesday he’s fine.
Heggie, meanwhile, emerged as a redshirt freshman last year and was one of Florida’s steadiest offensive linemen while starting seven games at left guard. He earned SEC Offensive Linemen of the Week honors for his performance against Vanderbilt.
With Heggie out this spring, senior Tyler Jordan got most of the work at left guard.
Mullen didn’t specify which position he prefers Heggie to play, and he may not know yet until he evaluates him in practice, but it sounds as if he at least wants to have more options at center.
“He’s a smart guy. He’s worked at snapping the ball, which is a skill, and [he has] toughness. That center, really, you’re talking about a guy that holds the whole group together — toughness, leadership and athleticism. Center is such a critical position and one you’ve got to have a lot of depth at. So we’ve got to have guys that can snap.
“One of the first things we do is try to teach everybody to snap because you never know who is going to have to get in a game and go play. You can’t do anything if you can’t snap the ball, so we’re going to look at him at center when he comes back.”