Demps Fighting Through Pain

It's been a rough few weeks for Florida junior running back Jeff Demps. Demps has been running through the toughest part of the Gators' schedule with pain that has kept him out of a lot of practice and one of the losses. Saturday night in the 34-31 win over Georgia, Demps toughed it out and rushed for 38 yards on nine carries and had a huge 40-yard reception on a scoring drive.

Demps played injured through losses from Alabama and Mississippi State and missed the LSU loss entirely. His absence and not being full speed has been a major issue for the Florida offense that desperately needs big play ability from its skill positions.

Jeff Demps was responsible for a 62- and a 72-yard touchdown run earlier in the season before being injured and has always been a big part of the big play ability of this team since his arrival in 2008. The 40-yard reception on Saturday culminated in a two yard touchdown run and was one of several sparks a healthier Demps provided for these Gators. However, he is still on the mend.

"It's coming along pretty good, slowly but surely," Demps said Monday of his foot injury. "I am getting treatment by the training staff. Right now I am able to practice with limited reps. I am able to run straight ahead pretty well, but it is hard to change directions. I feel the most pain when I try to change direction to get up field."

He tried once again to explain the pain he is going through. It is an injury that doctors say is not something that can be damaged further with playing time now.

"(I have) sharp pains in the top of my foot and then on the outside of it when I try and cut," he said. "It's kind of hard to push off because of that sharp pain."

Demps is getting about 20-25 reps a day at practice as they don't want to overuse his productivity with the injury. He has tried various tapes, braces, and whatever to allow him to run better on game day. Saturday, he used just a brace to help him through the game.

"I'm actually not getting taped on my left side I am just wearing a protective brace," he said. "It is helping out a lot. It is allowing me not to bend my foot I guess. The last couple of weeks I was spatted, but I decided to wear the brace."

His daily regimen includes heat and ice and before the game starts, it feels pretty good and easy to get out there. Resting the foot at halftime causes a little bit of stiffness and soreness, hampering a healthy return.

"Coming out in the beginning of the game I had an adrenaline rush and then I was running plays. At halftime you take a break and I and sit down for a little bit. It is kind of hard to get that adrenaline going again and coming back in the second half. It's just not the same as the first half."

He is looking to keep active at halftime when the Gators take on Vanderbilt in Nashville this weekend.

"The best thing probably is to stay active," he said. "I will probably just keep moving and keep on the bike. I will try that next week so it doesn't happen. I did (the bike at halftime) a lot in high school, because I used to cramp up. The coaches brought the bike into the locker room."

The three game slide was really tough on Demps and his teammates, but his health was out of his hands and he gave his support any way he could.

"It's been tough…at times I have been frustrated," he said. "At the same time I try and stay positive and get my teammates going."

He credited a lot of his older teammates for pushing through the losses and getting ready for the matchup with Georgia.

"Mike Pouncey, Justin Trattou, Lawrence Marsh, all the seniors and the leaders stay positive," he said. "They let the team know they have to stay focused and we may lose some here and there and that the best teams go through adversity."

There is one younger player on the offense that has become a team leader by his performance. Freshman quarterback Trey Burton has been dynamic in 2010 and provided much spark to the team with his ru8nning ability, his strength, and his evident passion for the game.

"Trey isn't real talkative, but he leads by what he does on and off the field," Demps said. "Just by making his plays and having energy out there, he is leading.

Demps says that Burton's entire attitude about the team and the game he is playing is evident to those that watch him in practices and in games.

"It's just the want to," Demps explains about Burton's evident desire to succeed. "He comes in each and every day and tries to get better. Whatever the coach asks him to do he is going to do it. If they ask him to run the ball as hard as he can he's going to do it. Whatever it is designed for him to do, that is what he will do and it's helping him out."

In the meantime, a healthier Demps and the return of Chris Rainey from suspension should help add some firepower to an offense that has been missing the home run threat for the last few weeks. The inside threat with Burton and the outside threat with Demps and Rainey allow the Florida offense to spread the defense a little more like they are accustomed to do.

"I think we missed it quite a bit because our offense is designed to get those big perimeter runs," he said. "We have speed, but Rainey and I bring a different threat because we are faster guys. I think we missed that a little bit."

And they are happy to have it back.
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