You sit and talk to Mark Thompson and the guy never quits smiling. He loves every minute of being a Gator and he knows exactly why.
“The running back group is fun,” he said when asked to describe the unit he will be a big part of this season. “Every single day is an adventure with these guys. They are funny, they are heartwarming, and people that give off a good vibe when they are around you. It’s just good to be around them.
Not only that, but his position coach has created an atmosphere conducive not only to learning, but having a good time doing so. Tim Skipper has been a popular hire for head coach Jim McElwain at Florida.
“He’s a coach and an authority figure, but he has a funny side,” Thompson said still smiling. “It’s real easy to get close to him and trust him, because you know he’s going to be real with you and not going to beat around the bush. It does radiate from not only Coach Skip, but the whole coaching staff and the players around.”
A year ago it seemed like the position was Kelvin Taylor and the seven dwarves, Taylor took over 70% of the carries handed to the running backs on roster. It looks to be more of a position by committee this year around.
The competition will be fun and an example of that was a race posted on Twitter between him and sophomore Jordan Scarlett.
“I just wanted to show I could keep up with him,”
And he keeps up with about 27 extra pounds on his body than Scarlett. Since high school, he’s up 30 pounds and he knows it helps.
“I have gained about 30 pounds and feel stronger, quicker, and more explosive,” he said. “It has definitely helped me out with all the coaching I have received and places I have been.”
Finally, he knows there are things he needs to work on. He had a costly fumble near the goal line in the gators exhibition game to end spring ball, The Orange and Blue Debut. That kind of mistake will keep him off the field or even more importantly cost his team a game if it happens at the wrong time.
“Ball security is one thing I have to work on,” he said. “I need to work on staying low at the point of contact, running low, and not exposing myself. These are things I have to work on and have been working on.”
And there aren’t many better attitudes than this guy to make sure those things get done.