Andrew Mike may have lived nearly a continent away from Florida in Tucson (Ariz.) when he signed with the Gators, but he and his family have been touring around the state for the last couple of weeks before his arrival on Tuesday as a freshman football player.He and his family are ready to be Gators.
"It feels pretty great, it's all coming together," Mike said earlier in the week. "It's great to start a new chapter in my life. I'm ready to hit the books hard and discover a whole new world and even better that I am doing it as a Gator."
Mike feels like he's better prepared for his arrival because he made good use of some advice from Jeff Dillman. One of the things that Florida strength coach Jeff Dillman taught Mike when he visited for the spring game was to use his diaphragm and better breathing techniques while lifting and working out. Much like a wind instrument player uses their diaphragm to play longer and stronger, the trick allows for better and quicker progress with workouts.
"I applied it to my lifting and I can feel the improvements," Mike said. "Personally I think that my form lifting has improved dramatically, setting myself up for when I get in the weight program on top of pushing my cardio with the program. There were several weeks and days that I couldn't walk. My basketball coach actually had to stop me from practicing because I couldn't walk. So, I think I've set myself up to physically compete.
Mike is currently up to 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds and will be rooming with Nolan Kelleher, another freshman offensive lineman that he teamed with in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl in January.
Mike believes he's put himself into position to play this year and it is something he would like to do.
"I know the starting five are real good and big too," he said. But, I want to gain experience and get in the two-deep at least and be able to make a solid impact on the team.
"I set my (summer) goals and so far I've passed every one. Now I have a new level to step up to."