Max Garcia, a 6’4 offensive lineman from Norcoss, Georgia, joined the Gators last year after transferring from the University of Maryland. As a starting O-Line key player, he has made some tremendous blocks and key plays thus far into the season. I caught up with this gentle giant after the Kentucky game to find out what gets him “In the Zone.”

Much like many of his teammates, Garcia keeps tradition before every game. He starts with a cold tank recovery on Friday morning. Max willingly takes a 10 minute recovery dip into the frigid 48 degree cold tank to be sure his body is feeling fresh and ready to go. But his total body icing doesn’t stop there: once he arrives to the hotel that night, he orders buckets upon buckets of ice to fill up the bath tub for yet another chilly dip to heal his muscles. He laughed and joked saying “I’m pretty sure I run the hotel out of ice, but hey what can you do?” After this chilly ritual, Max turns on his tunes and turns off the world. His choice of music? A Christian rapper from his high school in Norcoss: Raul Garcia. As Max put it he likes “to have his heart filled with good vibes and messages before stepping onto the field.”

So what fuels this 311 pound O-line man? Garcia says he actually doesn’t like to eat too much before a game. “I’m very physiological. How I’m feeling is how I play. If I feel full, I feel slow.” He chooses to stick to a light breakfast before early afternoon games in the hopes of a powerful performance for the Florida Gators.

While on the field for the Gators, Garcia keeps with him a focal point. His focal point is on his wrist: a black rubber bracelet with the words “Have Faith” sketched in white. This bracelet carries a special meaning to Max. He explains, “While I was at UTC (Ultimate Training Camp, a spiritual based camp empowering college athletes to use their faith in their sports) a cheerleader from Arizona State gave me this bracelet to use as a focal point in my games. I look at it before every play to calm my nerves and remind myself why I’m here and how I got here in the first place.”

Now the next time you see number 76 plow through the opposing defense, you know how this redshirt junior prepared to represent the Florida Gators, both mentally and physically.

About Julia Hackett

My name is Julia Hackett, I'm a sophomore on the UF dive team and a St. Thomas Aquinas High School alumnus. I call sunny South Florida home, more specifically, Sunrise, Florida. I'm majoring in journalism with the hopes of one day becoming a sideline and post-game reporter, aiming for baseball and football. I'm a "Jeopardy!" buff and enjoy reading anything from Dr. Seuss to E.E. Cummings...when I have free time that is. My quote to live by: "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."- E.E. Cummings