Gator running backs starting to impress during spring drills
With a starting quarterback with no significant college playing experience, Florida is hoping to rely on its running backs to help make its offense productive and take the pressure off John Brantley. Based on Wednesday's practice, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said the unit is starting to show signs it could be very good next fall.
"I thought (Emmanuel) Moody ran it really well,'' Addazio said. "I thought (Mike) Gillislee ran it well. They did a great job, especially early on when we were running that team run vs. the defense. Those were some strong runs in there, pretty consistently strong runs, and we're missing a bunch of people up front. They ran with a low pad level. That's some really strong runs. That was actually a real bright spot.''
Moody said the running backs' improvement is a direct reflection of a strong offensive line, even with several key players out with injuries.
"The offensive line is doing great,'' he said. "Right now we’ve got two starters out, (Marcus) Gilbert and Carl Johnson, but the guys who are backing them up are getting a lot of experience right now and they are really starting to do a great job blocking, pass blocking and we’re happy to see them step up. Guys like Jon Halapio and David Young, guys that just came in last year and are really starting to step up now.''
Junior RB Jeff Demps is not practicing while he competes with the UF track team, yet Addazio said it's clear to see the potential strength of the running backs position.
"You've got Moody, and you've got Gillislee, and you've got (Chris) Rainey, who can do both. He's not a pound it guy but I'm just saying. But I think Moody and Gillislee and Demps, those guys are really good I tailbacks. Demps is not here right now so those two guys are getting a lot of work and we're really working on a real steady package right now, a two-back package. We're really working at it hard right now.''