Demps, Joyer Prepare for Track

Jeff Demps is still on target to make his track debut at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet February 3-4. He's rebuilding stamina and focusing on getting back into track shape to prepare. He isn't the only member of the football team focused on track, as freshman fullback Hunter Joyer is getting in shape for the shot put.

Florida track coach Mike Holloway reiterated earlier this week that there is nothing different from what Jeff Demps is going through now compared to recent years. Each season he has participated with the track team, there is always a process of changing his weight and going through workouts geared towards getting him ready for track.

He's focusing on the technicalities involved in the 100-meter.

"Track is a very technical event," Holloway said. "Contrary to popular belief, the short sprints are the most technical ones out there. It's a matter of getting used to those movements, getting a little weight off him and getting his flexibility going."

That's something Demps has gotten used to in recent years. He started 27 games in his football games and leaves Florida eighth all-time with 2,470 rushing yards with 23 touchdowns. Since 1996, Demps has twice as many 60-plus yard rushes (four) than any other Florida player.

His national championship with the track team makes Demps the only Florida athlete to win a national championship in two different sports. His versatility has Holloway convinced the transition back to track won't be a problem.

"It's a process we go through every year," Holloway said. "It's just about getting him out there and getting him running. Football shape and track shape are two different animals. In football, he's probably going to run more than 40 yards in practice.

"It's the same process every year. Could Jeffery have run this weekend? He easily could've run. We're not ready to run yet."

The decision to give up football and a chance at the NFL to focus solely on track was made with help from all directions, including Holloway. Demps thought about making the move to track only before the 2011 football season, but the track coach pushed him to fulfill his commitment to the football team.

"Jeff and I talked about it last summer," Holloway said. "Jeff came here to play football and run track for the University of Florida. He made a commitment to his teammates on the football team and he needed to play football. That's what he decided to do four years ago when he was a high school senior."

In the end, the decision was made with his future in mind. Track offers more security and a bigger financial gain, as Demps focuses on a berth in the Olympics.

"I think that Jeff saw track is a better future choice for him as far as his career and longevity in the sport and life," Holloway said. "That's why he chose track. "

Fullback Hunter Joyer is also helping the track team this spring. The freshman threw the shot put in high school, but the transition for him hasn't been easy. In high school, Joyer was used to throwing a 12-pound shot put. In college, it weighs 16 pounds.

"He did pretty well in high school because he was more physically talented and stronger than everybody," Holloway said. "He's just got to learn the technique, but he's getting better."

In only a week and a half of practice, Joyer's improvement has come quick. He started out throwing "41 or 42 feet" on his first day but already has that total up to 48 feet.

"The shot put is one of those technical events that's about more than just brute strength," Holloway said. "Once he learns the technique, he'll be fine."

Frankie Hammond is also expected to participate in the high jump later this season.

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