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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Max Garcia

By Michael DiRocco

During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.

No. 76 Max Garcia

Redshirt junior offensive lineman

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Garcia sat out last season after transferring from Maryland. He steps into the starting spot at left guard next to sophomore tackle D.J. Humphries. He’s a bruising run blocker but also has the agility to play outside as well. He started 12 games at left tackle for the Terps in 2011. That versatility gives the Gators some extra insurance in case of injuries.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Garcia and Humphries give the left side of the offensive line an instant upgrade from 2012. Guard James Wilson had a solid final season, but tackle Xavier Nixon struggled and nearly got benched. Garcia is one of the Gators’ toughest linemen and brings a bit of a nasty attitude to the field. Humphries is an athletic lineman with quick feet and he’ll eliminate any worries from quarterback Jeff Driskel about his blind side.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Even though the staff has addressed the offensive line in recruiting and the strength staff has made the group stronger than it was in 2011 (remember, Will Muschamp called the group soft), the Gators still don’t have the kind of depth needed. Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne is the only player on the roster other than Jonotthan Harrison who has played center. He also can play guard or tackle, so his versatility helps, but two other players on the two-deep depth chart have battled injuries in their career (Ian Silberman and Trip Thurman). Losing a starter for any length of time would be a significant problem.

Future impact: Garcia has another season of eligibility remaining so he and Humphries will return in 2014, while Harrison and right guard Jon Halapio leave after 2013. That’ll make the left side the strength of the line, especially after Humphries has a year of starting in the SEC.