Pouncey Twins Becoming Stars

Michael Pouncey

The twins are almost legends now. Mike and Maurkice Pouncey are as synonymous with Gator football as almost anyone else on the team. Not bad for a couple of offensive linemen, a position that rarely gets noticed.

Getting noticed this week is easy for Mike who was named the offensive MVP for the Gators in their season opener against Hawaii last week. Both Pounceys talked with the media this week about how everything is going as the Gators get ready to face the Miami Hurricanes in a big rivalry game this weekend.

Mike Pouncey started at right guard on Saturday and graded out better than anyone on offense. That grade earned him the offensive MVP. Not bad for a guy that finished the season last year playing and starting on the defensive side of the ball.

"I was shocked at first, but everyone was telling me that hard work pays off," Mike told the media Wednesday. "I am glad it happened and I need to just keep working."

Pouncey was humbled by the award and really thought the two guys in the backfield that made big plays were the ones that deserved the recognition. Freshmen Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps turned in stellar performances running the ball and both had long touchdowns in the game.

"I really think they deserved it," Mike Pouncey said. "With Rainey and Demps in the backfield all you have to do is hold the block for two seconds. They really deserved it, but I guess (the coaches) felt sorry for me."

The MVP award was the culmination of a lot of persistence in the off-season. Mike took a cue from his twin brother in preparing for the season.

"I worked hard in the off-season, just working on technique and stuff," Mike said. "I just tried to work like Maurkice last year, they said he was the hardest working lineman last year, so I am just trying to be like him.

Starting at center, Maurkice could not be happier having his brother by his side on the offensive line. It is something they were used to at Lakeland High School for three years. When Maurkice started last year and Mike either came off the bench or was moved to defense, things just weren't right for the twins.

"I love it a lot...nothing better than playing with your twin brother next to you," Maurkice said. "I hope we keep playing the way we are and look forward to it.

Maurkice certainly didn't like going against his brother last year when they sparred on the practice field at the end of the year.

"That is a pretty big guy to move in practice," Maurkice joked.

Maurkice just missed grading out a champion on Saturday. A couple of bad snaps were probably enough to put him under the grade that has been established as the barometer for a successful game from the Florida coaching staff.

"I had two bad snaps so I was kind of down on that," Maurkice said. " It was fun but two bad snaps will make you down. I just didn't want to have a bad snap and be the cause of us losing the game so I have stayed after practice and worked on it ever since. The snaps are what got me, but I was comfortable making all the calls."

Now comfortable starting on the line after doing so at right guard last year, Maurkice sees something in this team and the offensive line unit that he just didn't see last season.

"I think we are a lot more of a unit this year," Maurkice said. "Last year we just had a lot of individuals...everyone was worried about if they were going to the league. Now we are playing as a unit and we want to go out and win this year."

One of the major hurdles for the offensive line so far is filling in for returning senior starter Jim Tartt at left guard. Tartt has been a fixture for three years on the line, but hasn't been able to take a snap yet this season. Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer said this week that Tartt is physically ready to go but they will likely hold him out this week.

"He is going along with it real good," Maurkice said in response to how Tartt is dealing with being out. "It is real hard for him being a senior. He loves us to death. He is taking it real well...I know he is going to be well real soon."

Sophomore Marcus Gilbert was inserted in Tartt's place to start the season and has done a great job since the start of fall camp. Gilbert never took a snap at guard before the fall, but according to Maurkice Pouncey, he has been quick to learn and play well at the position.

"Marcus Gilbert is the most improved player on the offense," Maurkice said. "Marcus is just working so hard, his technique has been coming along and I just hope he keeps it up. He is playing so well."

On Saturday the Gators face Miami to renew a rivalry between fans and players that isn't such a nice one. The Miami players have been very vocal about their dis[pleasure of being the underdog in the contest and have voiced their opinions on who is the better team. They don't think Florida is better. Maurkice isn't worried about the war of words, he is just focused on his responsibilities on Saturday.

"We are looking at it as a fun game," Maurkice said. "We know it is a rivalry, but we are just going in to play a good game."

Mike is only worried about what he and his teammates can control.

"That is their team," Mike said about the Hurricane players voicing their opinions in the media. "We are worried about our team right now, we have had a good week of practice so we are looking for a good game."

This Saturday should be fun and two giant twins should be leading that fun out on the field in front of a national television audience.

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