Richardson Knows Florida Speedsters

Alabama defensive players no doubt are familiarizing themselves with how Florida, with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, is utilizing outstanding running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. One Crimson Tide offensive star already knows about those Gators.



Alabama goes to Gainesville this week to take on Florida at 7 p.m. CDT (8 p.m. eastern) Saturday. Bama, 4-0 and ranked second in one poll and third in another, and the Gators, also 4-0 and ranked 12th in the nation, will be televised by CBS in this key Southeastern Conference game.

Alabama has several Floridians on its roster, one of the most notable tailback Trent Richardson, who hails from Pensacola, where he played for the Gators...the Escambia High School Gators. He was highly recruited by the Florida Gators, but chose to play for Alabama.

Football wasn't the only sport for Richardson in high school. He also ran track, and that's where he remembers Jeff Demps – or, at least, Demps's back.

"I got to race against Jeff Demps when I was in high school," Richardson said. "He was a senior and I was a junior. He was pretty fast. He beat me in the race. I think he was the only person to beat me that year.

"For the first 40 we were going at it. It wasn't a race after that. I'm thinking like after 80 meters he was already out there. He was probably 10 or 20 meters in front me of me. That dude is pretty fast."

Richardson said his observation of the Florida running backs is that "They never give up. They're down hill running. They don't like to go sideways...they like to do one cut and go. I know they are fast. Very quick."

He said he and Chris Rainey became good friends during recruiting. "I actually got to see him play my freshman year (in high school)," Richardson said. "He came down and played Niceville and I was injured. I was on crutches on the sideline watching him. He was a real good running back. He's always been a real good running back."

Richardson believes he could take Rainey, though.

"Yeah," he said, "in the 100 I probably could. In the 40 I'll go with any one of them guys. I'm not worried about the 40 race. But I know them guys; we're good friends. I know them boys are up and running."

Richardson is not surprised to see the Florida offense featuring its running backs. He said the Gators "have to put their talent out ther. I'm glad they did. It's better for them. And they seem like they are helping Florida out a lot."

Richardson has always watched other running backs. "I get to watch a lot of them before our games, after our games," the Tide junior said. "Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina) has done a really good job. Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, they do an excellent job. That boy (Auburn's Michael) Dyer is doing a pretty good job, too.

"Everybody's just fighting to be that number one running back. Coaches, they're putting us out there and letting us compete. I think all of our coaches are doing a real good job of that. You really can't say who is the better running back out there right now because everybody's battling. We have to play in the SEC now. Everybody's out there playing and just really going against each other head-to-head."

Richardson is second (a distant second) to Lattimore among SEC rushers this year. Lattimore is averaging 152.8 yards per game to Richardson's 110.2 yards per game. Those two are tied for the SEC scoring lead with nine touchdowns each.

"I'm happy with what I've done, but I can never be complacent," Richardson said. "I can get better. I still have a lot to work on. The season's early right now. I still have to work a lot on my pass protection and I missed a couple of my reads last week, left a lot of yards on the field last week. I know I could have done better. In my head, 126-yard game that's a good game, but I know I can do better."

Richardson expects the Florida defense to look a lot like the Alabama defense because Gators Coach Will Muschamp was formerly a defensive coordinator under Tide Coach Nick Saban.

"Their defense is always going to be like Coach Saban's," Richardson said. "It's very difficult. They're going to come with a lot of blitz schemes, a lot of stuff we see at practice. I know Coach Saban is going to prepare us for that.

"We'll have to go up against our defense the whole week. I know Dont'a (Hightower) is going to be coming at me and Courtney (Upshaw) is going to be coming at me. We'll just be trying to get prepared for this game."

Richardson has been in Florida's stadium several times as a prospect. He said he would tell his teammates it will be loud in The Swamp. "Their crowd didn't let down at all," he said. "It's hostile out there. I know it's going to be wild, and I know they are going to bring everything. When they are at home, they get crunked up and their style of football is amazing."

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