"I feel like light years older. Not just because I changed so much but just because I experienced things. It's not like you can ever replace that. You can learn something in a book; you can study how to do open heart surgery but when you open somebody up that's a feeling that you can't replace," he said.
Wise beyond his years, Patchan is always looking on the bright side of every situation. Clearly, this mature attitude will help him on and off of the field.
"Things go wrong. Things don't always go right. It's how you handle all of the situations that's important. I've learned from every experience that I've had. There are always going to be setbacks but you just have to take it in stride," he said.
One thing that Patchan and his teammates are working hard to overcome is the sting of last season. After underperforming for two years, Florida will attempt to rise from the ashes in the near future.
"Last season was really tough. It sucked. Everybody knew it and we all felt terrible every game and we don't want to let those feelings go. Six losses on the season is not acceptable. We want to learn from that and we don't want to let that feeling go," he said.
Since he is a mature person and football player, Patchan is not letting the disastrous season influence his optimism. Patchan believes that the work they have put in during the offseason will allow them to excel when they take the field in the fall.
"Basically, there's nowhere to go but up. Where are we going from here? Everybody's a year older, everybody's a year smarter, everybody's a year bigger, stronger, and faster and so everybody is buying in and our team is becoming closer. If you're not excited, hopefully you turn on the games and we give you some excitement. That's the goal. We work towards it every day," he said.
Interestingly, Patchan is convinced that it's an exciting time for the Gators.
"I'm excited because there are a lot of things going on in my life right now and football is a great part of it. I'm just blessed to be here. I'm excited that I get to play for Coach Muschamp and the other coaches. It's a special time," he said.
Although he still has some time left at Florida, Patchan is hoping that this year will be a year to remember for the Orange and Blue.
"I have two seasons left but I'm hoping that we get it done this year and everything goes right. I feel like everybody is on board right now and I'm excited. I'm just excited about where the team is," he said.
The primary reason that Patchan is so optimistic about the future is that the Gators have been working hard on the practice field and in the weight room during the offseason.
"It's been a long offseason and everybody has worked their butts off. I'm sure there are a lot of players and a lot of teams out there that say they've worked hard, and they have, but the bottom line is that we've been consistent every day, we've shown up, and we've gotten better. Physically, we're bigger, stronger, and faster. It's all positive stuff right now. There are no real drawbacks or negatives. We're hoping to build on what we've done this summer," Patchan said.
It is worth noting that Patchan and the rest of the offensive line are determined to bring a selfless attitude with them out onto the field.
"We always put the burden on us. If something didn't go right then we want to take responsibility for it. If we can dominate the line of scrimmage every time and we can get a couple of yards every carry then it doesn't matter what everybody else does. That's what wins games right there," he said.
When he looks toward the upcoming season, Patchan hopes that the Gators will finally be capable of controlling the line of scrimmage against their SEC foes.
"We want to dictate every game. If you control the line of scrimmage, that's a big deal. That's what the SEC is about. It's tough to let your fast guys be fast if the whole d-line is in the backfield. If you want to be a successful team in the SEC, you have to dominate up front. We weren't that last year but we've worked on it every day," he said.