Spring Preview: Gators Running Backs

There are just three scholarship running backs on the Florida roster this spring, but they will be joined in the fall by 2-3 more running backs. This is a time to get these guys acquainted with the new offense and insert their different skill sets into the offense.

I was a little surprised they went ahead and made the move of Brandon Powell to receiver before giving him a look in the new Florida offense, but it was likely going to happen anyway in the fall, so better now than later. We know these three scholarship players are going to get a lot of work in the new offense this spring.

It starts with junior Kelvin Taylor. It is hard to get my mind wrapped around the fact that Taylor is already a junior, but the young man has played in 22 games, started six and has 1,073 career rushing yards in his two years on campus already. It is enough to know what Taylor can do. He is a fine between the tackles runner and he has some quickness, but he doesn’t have the home run speed and that is okay. The thing that slowed down his progress has been pass protection which improved dramatically last year, but he will be learning some new stuff with the new offense and so this spring is very valuable to get that down. Taylor will be a big part of the success or non-success of this offense in 2015.

Not many saw the bowl game that redshirt sophomore Adam Lane had coming against East Carolina. The young man really turned some heads in his only real playing time as a redshirt freshman last year. In his 16 carries for 109 yards in that game, Lane showed a bit of everything on the field… some flash, some dash, and a bit of juice on the long runs. Is he a game breaking speed guy? Probably not, but he can be a power runner with his 224 pounds and he can get outside pretty quickly as well. He showed in that game that he can play at this level and it is something that we weren’t sure about until that last game of last season.

The dark horse this spring is senior Mark Herndon. A former walk-on from Ocala Herndon earned a scholarship two years ago and seemed primed for some real playing time. That never really happened then he was hurt in practice after the third game of the season and out for the rest of the season. His injury may keep him from practicing too much, but that remains to be seen. Herndon is versatile with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He has some speed and genuine quickness with the ball in his hands. Getting some playing time this spring would allow him to stay a little ahead of the freshmen coming in this summer.

In the end, the unit is small for the spring but will be pretty stocked with the arrivals of Jordan Scarlett, Jordan Cronkrite, and possibly D’Anfernee McGriff. The smaller unit for spring will allow the guys here all the reps they should need to really learn the offense. This is a good thing.

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