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Redshirt Report: McDowell ready for SEC battle after redshirt season

January 16, 2019
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During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2018 signees who redshirted with our Redshirt Report series. Today, we focus on how this past season went for offensive lineman Griffin McDowell.

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There’s a lot Buck Hansen can say about Griffin McDowell but it all boils down to one point.

“I’ve coached probably 65 kids that’s gone on to play [college] football and he’s right in there in the top. I’m telling you just a great kid. Just down to earth, great kid. He’s really a first class kid and is very thankful for what he’s got. He’s a good teammate, I guarantee you, he’s a good teammate,” Hansen tells Inside the Gators.

“All around good football player, good kid and he’s gonna make y’all proud before he leaves I’ll guarantee you.”

Hansen is the offensive line coach at Lee High School is Leesburg, Georgia. It was there he coached McDowell before the Georgia native—who originally was heading to Mississippi State—followed head coach Dan Mullen to the Florida Gators.

McDowell played in two games his first season in Gainesville (Charleston Southern and Idaho) but was able to redshirt thanks to the new NCAA rule of a four game minimum. Back home in Leesburg, Hansen was grateful for the decision.

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“They just need that. If your program’s really going good—if you’re having to play real, real early a lot of guys, I think you probably not where you want to be in your program. So some people, specialists, skill positions, but with an offensive lineman, I really think it’s that extra year that you need to get accustomed because it is a big change going from high school to that level.

“Some places can get away with it but SEC, I think it’s the best thing for offensive lineman to take year, learn everything or learn as much as you can, see how they want it down. But I think that was the plan the whole way.”

As for the plan moving forward, that remains to be seen. McDowell played tackle for Hansen at Lee. Last time he visited home, Hansen saw his former player in great shape to play whatever position coach John Hevesy should need him.

“He loves the weight room and he’s just gotten bigger and bigger and stronger. He’s what an SEC-lineman should look like. It looks like to me, his weight’s up, he looks great, he’s strong, he’s just in the perfect position…that big guy can run now. That kid can run. Just a good looking, he had gotten up to about 315 one time. He’s back down to like 295 now I believe.”

No matter where he plays, there’s one thing Hansen made sure of before sending McDowell to Gainesville, and it fits the philosophy by which Hevesy coaches as well; always be able to snap.

“It’s such a battle of attrition almost, you almost gonna have to step in there and everybody gotta be able to snap I think. That’s the smart thing to do. Of course I don’t know, he may be guard, he may be tackle.

“But I told him before he left, ‘always be able to snap.’ And we snapped before he left, before he left Leesburg, in there working on snapping cause I said hey if you can snap, you’ll always be needed.”

When Hansen saw McDowell over Christmas break, he learned Hevesy had in fact been working the redshirt freshman at center. He’s going to see it for himself when he and other Lee coaches come watch their former player in spring practice. But it’s more than a filled position that McDowell brings to the roster according to Hansen. It’s the attitude that begets a great teammate.

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Read the Redshirt Report Series

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“He won’t take a play off, he won’t give—you know some people say they give second effort, well he gives constant effort and that’s they way he always played for me. He did everything a coach could possibly ask for and he was a leader. He’s gonna be a leader and that kind of guy you can count on. He’s got high expectations for himself and his teammates will, he’s not gonna follow, he’s gonna be a leader.

“He didn’t take it for granted how hard it is to get to that level and play at that level in the SEC. He’s so excited about the opportunity to be down there and he really thinks—like he should—that they’re ready to compete at the next level with anybody, that they can play with anybody. And he just wants to do his job to contribute and with the opportunity he’s been given, and again he’s so thankful for it, he won’t take anything for granted; he’s one of those guys that will step into the lane and take charge and do his part cause they’re there to win and that’s what he wants to do. And he’s really fortunate and excited about it.”

Redshirt Report: McDowell ready for SEC battle after redshirt season

2,426 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by Eric-UF
Eric-UF
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Apologize if I missed it, but is there a list of all the players that qualified for Redshirt?
KassidyHill
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I think so, somewhere on the thread. I'll see if I can find it.
Eric-UF
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  • Chris Bleich (OL) - 4 games
  • Emory Jones (QB) - 4 games
  • Malik Davis (HB) - 3 games
  • Umstead Sanders (LB) - 3 games
  • Dante Lang (TE) - 2 games
  • David Reese 2 (LB) - 2 games
  • Griffin McDowell (OL) - 2 games
  • Iverson Clement (HB) - 2 games
  • Jacob Copeland (WR) - 2 games
  • Malik Langham (DL) - 2 games
  • Marco Wilson (DB) - 2 games
  • Richard Gouraige (OL) - 2 games
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