Pouncey's thrilled for the other Pouncey
It doesn't seem that long ago that Mike and Maurkice Pouncey arrived on the Gator campus as highly-recruited freshman offensive linemen who occasionally still wore the same clothes when they went out.
The identical twin brothers from Lakeland are separated now. Maurkice is the starting center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike is the Gators' starting center. (Maurkice left a year early for the NFL).
So you can imagine it was kind of strange for Mike to be sitting in front of his TV Monday night watching Maurkice play. It's the first time in their lives they haven't been on the same team, playing together.
But nobody is more proud of Maurkice than Mike.
"He did a great job,'' Mike Pouncey said. "He was going against a 13-year vet and he played good. He's just trying to settle that position and do whatever it takes to be the best player he can at the next level. He actually thought he was going to start at guard, and he's been working and battling at that position. He was kind of shocked at first when he got moved to center, but he said he's been doing great. He's been playing great the whole preseason.''
Now a captain on the Gators' team, Mike Pouncey is preparing to begin his final season in Gainesville on Saturday. So far, being without his brother has been strange, but he's adjusting just fine.
"It's weird,' he said. "I'm always used to having somebody to walk to class with because we took all the same classes. It's somebody that's been there with me my whole life (20 years). It's different, but we've become accustomed to it. We're going different ways in life. It was going to have to happen one day.
Pouncey said the close-knit bond he shares with his veteran offensive line has made adjusting to life without his brother much easier.
"We're here, we love each other,'' he said. "On the offensive line we're all like brothers. And we're here to do one thing, and one thing only, and that's make it to Atlanta.''
And he's already targeted somebody to take over the pregame ritual he used to share with Maurkice.
"We used to snap each other's pads on before the game,'' he said. "But I'll probably choose Marcus Gilbert this year to do it.''