Was Max Garcia one of the Gators’ best offensive linemen sitting out the 2012 season? If you listen to the coaches and look at the film, the answer very well could be “yes.” Florida’s Most Valuable Offense Scout Team Award winner, along with Scout Team Player of the Week against Bowling Green, LSU and Florida State, Garcia will immediately vie for playing time on the Gators revamped offensive line.
The 6-foot-4, 307-pound tackle started 12 games for Maryland as a sophomore and two games as a freshman, and was one of the most sought after transfers after he decided to move on from Randy Edsall and the Terrapins. It was initially assumed that the Norcross, Ga., native was going to transfer to Georgia, but the Gators pulled a coup pulling Garcia from Georgia, Ole Miss, Wisconsin and Southern California.
However, while Garcia started 14 games at left tackle for Maryland, expect Garcia to move inside to the left guard position along side sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries.
While Garcia’s film shows him in the tackle position, let’s see what we can gather about Garcia and see how he might translate as a guard.
Primarily, it is worth noting that Garcia is currently 17 pounds heavier at Florida than he was during his playing time at Maryland. The extra weight gives him more mass, and likely means greater strength, which is necessary for his move inside. Rather than his quick feet and agility that made him a successful tackle, Garcia will hopefully be able to do better than most guards because of this experience.
The first thing on his tape that you notice is that he has great hand placement and moves well with his hands locked in with a defender. Garcia is able to keep his balance and quickly back peddle or move laterally, while continuing to engage, which is a great skill. Further, Garcia’s hand placement doesn’t get sloppy during the continuation of a play. He has a great punch and quickly re-engages his opposing defender.
Garcia also has great explosiveness. His ability to drive into a pass rusher quickly, as well as, maintain leverage is a big positive. He is quick out of his stance and quick to pick up the block, attacking the attacker rather than passively waiting.
The biggest downfall on Garcia was his strength. He was overpowered, by pure strength not necessarily technique, a few times that became concerning. However, with a year in the weight room and 17 additional pounds, Garcia has likely gained the necessary strength for SEC football.
The move from the outside to the inside for Garcia, will likely help give the Gators one of the most complete offensive lines they have had in years.