GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Martez Ivey, a former 5-star offensive tackle, has had an up-and-down transition to left guard in his first year and a half at Florida.
Ivey started eight games last season and made the SEC Coaches All-Freshman team, but at times he’s whiffed on blocks and struggled on the interior of the line.
Last Saturday, however, was one of his better moments. Ivey’s performance in Florida’s 24-10 win over Georgia earned him SEC player of the week honors for his position.
“He had a really great game,” Gators offensive line coach Mike Summers said of Ivey. “He was physical, was tough, was emotional, was a vocal leader for us, which is something we haven’t had.
“I think his presence kind of drove us through the fourth quarter of that Georgia game when we really needed to maintain control of the football and control the line of scrimmage and run out the clock at the end of the game. He was a big factor in the production of what we got done there.”
The award validated the work Ivey has put in to make his position change a success. But he’s not looking for accolades.
“That’s just an award. I don’t think about that,” Ivey said. “Once it came out it was like, ‘Wow, that’s a good award,’ but I don’t think about it. It’s over. It’s on to the next week.”
Summers had a similar reaction. He was happy to see Ivey honored, but his focus is on helping Ivey address areas that still need improvement.
“My politically correct answer would be: ‘Oh yeah, we were really excited about it.’ To be honest with you, what we deal with, the things that I’m proud of him for are way beyond what awards he would receive, or the fact that somebody else recognized that he played well,” Summers said. “And we certainly are proud of his development and proud that he was recognized for what he was able to do.
“But I think we got such tunnel vision right now and moving on to the next deal. That was great, but now let’s fix this and let’s fix that and make it better. We’re always excited when people recognize that someone up front did a good job. That’s a good thing. But there’s enough things that we can fix from that performance as well that we kind of temper our excitement.”