Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Moody hopes to power Gator running game

Emmanuel Moody had 2 yards on two carries against Hawaii and didn’t play against Miami. The transfer from Southern Cal is still adapting to UF’s offense.


Emmanuel Moody had 2 yards on two carries against Hawaii and didn’t play against Miami. The transfer from Southern Cal is still adapting to UF’s offense.

In the hours after a 26-3 victory over Miami two weeks ago, Florida running back Emmanuel Moody received more than 40 calls and 50 text messages from friends and family members.

The Gator running backs had totaled 7 yards on the ground, and Moody hadn't played.

One relative's text was blunt: "Hey, pack your bags and start preaching," referring to Moody's potential future profession.

Moody, a 21-year-old touted transfer from Southern Cal, isn't ready to pack it in, and the redshirt sophomore and the Gators realize that if ever there was a time to get their inconsistent running game going, it's now.

No. 4 Florida (2-0) plays at Tennessee (1-1) today, continuing an SEC series in which a solid running game has been a key to victory more often than not.

"I feel like we're still trying to really establish a prominent running game right now," Moody said. "(Against) Hawaii, I felt like we had a good rushing attack, and Miami did a good job with defense, blocking the gaps and filling the gaps. I think we're going to run the ball more this game and really try to establish the run against Tennessee."

In 16 of the past 18 UF-UT meetings, the team that has rushed for more yards has won.

"I think we're going to be able to do what we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win," first-year running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "If we are productive in the way we think we will be, then we'll be okay."

Florida is eighth in the SEC in rushing offense, averaging 172 yards (it got 255 in the opener vs. Hawaii). Of its 344 total yards, 178 are from its true running backs, despite high expectations this season with the 6-foot, 210-pound Moody, freshman Jeff Demps and redshirt freshman Chris Rainey joining senior Kestahn Moore.

"I think it's just how teams are playing us this year," said receiver/running back Percy Harvin of the team's inconsistent attack. "Now teams are playing deep and just plugging the holes to stop the (quarterback Tim) Tebow runs. So I think we've just got to spread it out, start running a lot more options and just throw the ball downfield."

The Vols are ninth in the SEC in pass defense, so if the Gators can establish the run early, their passing could be more effective.

"We've worked on executing (the run)," said Tebow, who has 92 yards on 22 carries. "You watch the film of the Miami game and it wasn't like we were getting beat off of blocks. It wasn't like they were handling any of our linemen. It was just we had some missed assignments with someone not picking up the right guy. Sometimes we didn't hit the exact right hole. Those are just the little things, and we just can't have those little mistakes. … It is something we've got to get a lot better on."

Carter knows the perception is that the Florida running game is struggling, but he begs to differ.

"The biggest thing that comes into play with running backs and what the general public hangs their hat on, everybody wants to equate production in how many times you touch the ball, and that's far from the truth," he said. "If you're productive when you touch the ball, that's what you're supposed to do. But what you do without the ball is as important as what you do with the ball."

Coach Urban Meyer said he expects better production from the running backs today, including Moody, who is still adapting to a system that's different from the one to which he's accustomed.

"He's done really well," Carter said. "It's tough to transition from one (place) to another. We go at a different pace here than most people. And that's something to adjust yourself to, especially when you're not in an active situation for almost a year. He's done a really good job adjusting to that. We're looking forward to seeing him do some things."

Moody has been told he'll have a bigger role today in a game with significant conference implications, but he said he feels no pressure.

"I still have confidence in what I can do, and if I keep working hard, I feel like I can be that guy that everyone's kind of expecting," Moody said.

Antonya English can be reached at

Today's state games

No. 4 Florida at Tennessee

3:30, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

Records: Florida 2-0, Tennessee 1-1

TV/radio: Ch. 10; 620-AM

Line: Florida by 71/2

Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy

No. 24 FSU vs. No. 18 Wake Forest

7, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee

Records: FSU 2-0, Wake Forest 2-0

TV/radio: ESPN2; 1040-AM

Line: FSU by 41/2

Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy

No. 12 USF at Fla. International

5, FIU Stadium, Miami

Records: USF 3-0, FIU 0-2

TV/radio: ESPNU; 970-AM

Line: USF by 281/2

Weather: 87 degrees, scattered thunderstorms


History on the ground

In 16 of the past 18 meetings between Florida and Tennessee, the team that has rushed for more yards has won.

Year Florida Tennessee Result

1990 64 239 UT 45-3

1991 114 49 UF 35-18

1992 68 250 UT 31-14

1993 156 76 UF 41-34

1994 136 68 UF 31-0

1995 203 124 UF 62-37

1996 149 9 UF 39-29

1997 94 45 UF 33-20

1998 -13 171 UT 20-17 (OT)

1999 123 95 UF 23-21

2000 39 203 UF 27-23

2001 36 242 UT 34-32

200294 99 UF 30-13

2003 73 139 UT 24-10

2004 135 171 UT 30-28

200568 66 UF 16-7

2006 121 -11 UF 21-20

2007 255 37 UF 59-20


Hed goes here

In 16 of the past 18 meetings, the team that has rushed the ball for more yards has won the game in the Florida-Tennessee series. Here is a look at the last 11 years.

Year Florida Tennessee Result

1996 149 9 UF 39-29

1997 94 45 UF 33-20

1998 -13 171 UT 20-17 (OT)

1999 123 95 UF 23-21

2000 39 203 UF 27-23

2001 36 242 UT 34-32

2002 94 99 UF 30-13

2003 73 139 UT 24-10

2004 135 171 UT 30-28

2005 68 66 UF 16-7

2006 121 -11 UF 21-20

2007 255 37 UF 59-20







Moody hopes to power Gator running game 09/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Remember that ffamous Fred McGriiff TV commerical? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  2. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?


    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  3. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance


    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  4. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay


    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60


    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks