No one on the Florida practice field knew what to expect last Tuesday when true freshman center Michael Pouncey changed jersey colors and moved over to defense. But the big guy made an immediate impact.
He brought much-needed enthusiasm and spark to a defense that had slipped into the doldrums after back-to-back poor performances against Kentucky and Georgia. And he brought some much-needed size and strength to the middle of the defensive line.
In the Vanderbilt game, Pouncey started and provided instant energy and enthusiasm that was contagious and ignited the entire Florida defense. Pouncey made some plays, made some tackles and the defense came up with its best performance since the Tennessee game.
This week, Pouncey’s teammates have been full of praise for what the kid has done in such a short period of time with such short notice.
Defensive end Derrick Harvey said Pouncey’s presence and push in the middle helped free him up to make plays on the outside.
Brandon Spikes commented to Urban Meyer after Saturday’s game how Pouncey kept the offensive linemen off the three linebackers, freeing them up to make plays. Thanks in great part to Pouncey, Spikes had his best game as a Gator.
And the outside linebackers ” Dustin Doe and A.J. Jones ” may have played their best games of the season after disappearing in recent weeks. And with improved overall play by the front seven, the secondary went out and had probably its best game of the year.
Quarterback Tim Tebow said the emotional lift the animated Pouncey gave the defense was immeasurable.
Pouncey is just glad to be playing now and contributing.
I talked to Pouncey’s mother, Lisa Webster, earlier this week and she said it had been hard watching games because it hurt seeing Maurkice Pouncey starting and playing, while his twin brother would be on the sidelines twirling a football.
Now, the Pouncey brothers are both starting on the line of scrimmage in their true freshman seasons in what has become one of the stories of the year for the Gators.
Michael Pouncey will stay at defensive tackle for the remainder of the season as UF tries to make it back to Atlanta for the SEC title game. After that, there’s a chance he will move back to offense and line up next to his brother again. The twins have been playing side-by-side since they were 7-years-old.
Many insiders are saying Michael Pouncey is being groomed to be the starting center on the O-line next season. But don’t rule out Michael Pouncey having a future at defensive tackle, either. He did a remarkable job in his first start last Saturday. Pounce put the bounce back in the step of the entire defense.