Gillislee will provide physicality

For senior running back Mike Gillislee, the last few years have been a great display of his selfless attitude. Now that it is finally his turn to be the leader, Gillislee plans on employing that same attitude on the football field. Gillislee is ready to take advantage of his new role on the team as he works to complete his goals and bring victory to Gainesville.

Although Mike Gillislee is now the top running back on the depth chart, he is unable to ignore the talented players behind him.

"All of the guys behind me are just as good as me. Every day I go out there I have to give it all I've got. It's motivation for me. I got to go out there and keep doing what I've been doing," he said.

For three years, Gillislee has patiently waited his turn. This year, he is ready to shine.

"It feels good. I don't have to wonder if I'm going to play the first game because I know I'm going to play," Gillislee said of claiming the starting job.

During the offseason, Gillislee has been preparing diligently for his bigger role.

"I just try being a complete back. I've never started a football game so I've just been preparing for that," he said.

According to Gillislee, he has been working on more than his football skills. Now that he is one of the older members on the football team, Gillislee is attempting to take on more of a leadership role.

"This is my senior year so I don't really have a whole lot of opportunities left. I'm not really a vocal guy or a guy that talks that much but I'm going to be a leader and I'm going to do what I've got to do," Gillislee said.

By waiting his turn for three years, Gillislee has shown that he is not a selfish player. This year, he hopes that his selfless attitude translates onto the football field and influences his teammates.

"I just want to give it all I've got and be a team player and not be selfish and just keep doing what I've got to do for us to win," he said.

Part of being a leader is setting an example by working hard to achieve your own individual goals. So far, Gillislee has been very successful at this aspect of leadership.

"It's been great. I completed all of my goals in the weight room. Everybody's been saying that I predicted 1500 yards and 24 touchdowns but that wasn't a prediction. That was a goal I set for myself. That's my individual goal," Gillislee said.

Clearly, Gillislee hopes that his success carries over into the season. In his mind, the new offensive coordinator Brent Pease will help him to accomplish his goals.

"Coach Pease brought in a good offense and it's not that different from the other coach that we had. It's a lot of shifting going on and there's going to be a lot of physical running," he said.

According to Gillislee, his running style is a perfect fit for Will Muschamp's philosophy. Thus, he will have ample opportunities to complete his quest to be a 1500-yard back.

"I think there is going to be a more physical run game because we've got bigger backs. I think Coach Muschamp wants a more physical run game and he wants us to be more balanced with the football. That's how I run. I get the tough, physical yards," he said.

Obviously, Gillislee believes the competition at the running back position will push him to improve. He also thinks that other positions will benefit from the same depth.

"It's not just at running back. There is competition all over the team. Everyday, everybody has to go out and give it everything they've got," he said.

Although not many people are predicting a national championship for the Gators, Gillislee has set his eyes on the prize.

"Not going to Atlanta is considered a failure because we want it all. We want to win it all. We don't practice just to get to Atlanta. We want it all," Gillislee said.

Overall, the offseason was a good chance for the team to bond. Gillislee is hoping that their stronger bond will help them put it all on the line every Saturday in the Swamp this fall.

"I think it's going to be a different atmosphere. For us we know what we have to go out there and do. We aren't just going to go out there and play. We're going to go out there and play for each other this year. Everybody knows their roles this year and they know what they got to do for us to be successful," he said.

In the end, Gillislee hopes that their selfless approach to the game will allow them to surpass everyone's expectations. This season, Gillislee and the Gators will set out to prove the nation wrong.

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