Tagging the Gators: G Jon Halapio

Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at G Jon Halapio.

G Jon Halapio

Redshirt junior

UF is averaging 194.5 yards per game rushing, 338.4 yards per game total offense, and has given up 36 sacks

Role in 2012: Halapio has been a mainstay at right guard and has started 27 consecutive games dating back to the final two games of the 2010 season.

The good: Halapio earned the team’s Scrap Iron award (given for blocking and toughness) eight times this season, more than any other player. That speaks to his consistency since he finally cracked the starting lineup for good at the end of 2010. The 6-foot-3, 321-pound Halapio is a very good run blocker and was a big piece of the Gators’ transition from the perimeter run game to the between-the-tackles style that coach Will Muschamp wants. He helped RB Mike Gillislee become the Gators’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004.

The bad: Halapio, like C Jonotthan Harrison and LG James Wilson, has at times had trouble in pass protection. The Gators have been hurt by delayed blitzes or overloads up the middle. UF quarterbacks have been sacked 36 times this season, and while all that blame doesn’t belong to the offensive line, a good portion of it does. This group is much better than it was in 2011, but it has to improve for the offense to flourish in 2013.

Crystal ball: Halapio will again anchor the offensive line in 2013. He and Harrison might be the only players from 2012 who will be in the same spot in ’13. UF will have a new left side and it’s possible that RT Chaz Green will get beaten out by Nebraska transfer Tyler Moore. The offense can’t be as one-dimensional as it was this season, and the passing game has to make strides. The pass protection has to improve to help QB Jeff Driskel’s development.