Hines Hoping for More Touches at Running Back

Position changes usually come from coaches seeing a better place for a player to make an impact. For Omarius Hines, he was the one that saw the opening. The redshirt senior noticed the lack of proven running backs on the Florida roster, and after not seeing the field much at tight end or wide receiver in recent years, Hines asked the coaches if he could start getting touches as a running back.

"I felt like I could be a better asset at running back because of my size and speed," Omarius Hines said. "We lost Jeff (Demps) and (Chris) Rainey, so I just wanted to pick up the slack from those guys."

The position switch makes sense on paper for Florida. Hines hasn't produced enough at wide receiver or tight end to make him irreplaceable at those positions. In his first three seasons, Hines totaled 559 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His best season at receiver came in 2010 when he totaled 281 yards.

There were still times where Hines was involved in the run game on shovel passes and fake punts. From that category, Hines totaled 164 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. The longest carry was a 36-yard rush on a fake punt at Tennessee in 2010.

"I just wanted to try something different," Hines said. "Tight end was a good experience for me, but I feel like I would have a better shot at being successful and helping out my teammates at running back."

There wasn't any pushback from the coaching staff about the move. After Hines brought them the idea, he said the coaches met together as a staff to talk about it and came out in agreement that he deserved a chance.

Hines also likes the move because it gives him a chance to get the ball, something that happened only eight times in 2011. Even before last season, Hines has been underused throughout his career.

"It's really frustrating," Hines said. "You come to a place like this expecting to play a lot. When you don't play, you get kind of down. The coaches have been keeping my head up and let me know to just be patient."

Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown look to be the biggest competition for Hines to get the ball. The competition is healthy being all of the running backs involved. Hines said the small numbers at running back do serve as motivation for him this spring, but all of the backs understand it's about helping the team improve.

"They taught me about my footwork and let me know about certain plays with what I should be doing and what I shouldn't be doing," Hines said.

The redshirt senior estimated getting just "three or four" in Saturday's scrimmage, but he still said there's a "pretty good" chance he lines up at running back this fall.

He's up to 222 pounds and has the body to handle the beating that the running back position demands.

"I'm still standing," Hines said with a grin.

Fightin Gators Top Stories