Rainey Important On and Off the Field

Chris Rainey has spent the first two games of the season sucking the energy out of The Swamp when he touches the ball. It's that same energy that he gives the team off the field. Rainey walked to the podium after Saturday night's win cracking jokes and sporting his patented smile. His play on the field has carried the offense early this season, but his off-field presence might be more important.

"He's a little jokester," Florida quarterback John Brantley said. "He's serious when times need to be serious, but he brings a good attitude around and is always smiling. He's never down. He's one of those guys who will pick you up if you're not having a good day."

Rainey accepted that role in the offseason. He has always been one of the more likeable guys on the team since coming to Gainesville before the 2007 season, but he's now looked at as a leader.

After maturing off the field, his teammates look up to him.

"I'm always happy," Chris Rainey said. "When I'm happy the team's happy. They tell me if I'm down, they're down."

Florida head coach Will Muschamp made it clear after getting the job that a leader on his team can't just be vocal or respected off the field. They also have to produce on the field.

Rainey has done that this year. In the first two games, Rainey has combined for 308 total yards of offense and four total touchdowns.

"He's extremely electric with the ball in his hands, and a lot of fun to watch," Muschamp said.

"You watch him compete in practice, and he blocks hard in practice. He does everything that you want a football player to do to contribute to your football team. He brings energy and is as liked of a guy as there is on the team."

The Florida offense showed some new looks on Saturday, including some that featured Rainey. The game started with a flea flicker where Rainey took a handoff and pitched it back to Brantley for the throw. Later, Rainey was featured in a wildcat look.

It's a different look from a pro-style offense. Last season, the wildcat became a staple of the Florida offense, but the assumption was that it would disappear with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis coming to Gainesville.

Rainey said he was nervous while running out of it in fall camp, but he has settled in and likes running out of the wildcat now.

"You can see everything," Rainey said. "You can see like five different holes, so you just have to choose one. It was nice."

With a steady lead in the second half last night, the offense went into ball control mode. Despite Rainey's smaller stature, he still feels capable of handling the load in those situations. He worked in the offseason to build his stamina and prepare for situations like Saturday night.

"We were just controlling the clock and trying to get the defense tired," Rainey said. "That's what we did, and we did alright with it.

With the start of SEC play less than a week away, Rainey feels comfortable with the way the Florida offense looks. His goals might be lofty, but the senior thinks they're attainable.

"We can be really good," Rainey said. "I'd say like a 60-point kind of team."

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