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Burning questions about Gators' running backs

The depth chart was released for the Florida Gators and as expected there is a three horse race at the running back position. However, there are several other questions that we all want answered. I do my best in taking on these questions offered up by the members of Fightin’ Gators in the latest of our series.

Fightin’ Gators Question: Do you think we can have possibly a 1k yard back and the backup possibly get at least half of those yards this season?

Bob Redman: I don’t think that happens. I think five guys carry the ball this year and I think three guys carry the ball prominently.  Maybe one just flat out emerges ahead of the rest, but I don’t see that happening.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Have you heard if Thompson has improved his ball security or not?

Bob Redman: I believe it is still an issue. There are conflicting reports about whether he has fumbled in the scrimmages or not, but either way this is something they are leery of. It hasn’t kept him from being an integral part yet, but don’t let it happen in a game.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Take away Thompson’s fumble issues, who is the best RB? Does this RB also have the most potential?

Bob Redman: I think Thompson has the best skill set given his size and speed ratio. But, Cronkrite is the most well rounded back and Scarlett is plenty big and the fastest. I like the potential of all three. Perine is also a sleeper here. He probably bounces off of people and breaks tackles better than any of them.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Is Herndon going to get to play, or is he going to be a career role player?

Bob Redman: He will play. In this league you need several backs in my opinion. He has good size and an all-around game. 


Logan Bowles / USA TODAY Sports

Fightin’ Gators Question: Who is the best back in pass protection?

Bob Redman: I would say Cronkrite is the best pass protector which is part of his excellent all-around game. The others have improved a good deal, but give the nod to Cronkrite.


Fightin’ Gators Question: If our OL is SEC average this year do you think we can average 200/ game rushing? 

Bob Redman: The Gators averaged just over 126 yards per game rushing the ball in 2015.  There were a lot of reasons for that and sacks were part of it. I do think they can take a mammoth leap this year in rushing and I think they will get close to the 200 yards. However, only two teams, Alabama and Arkansas eclipsed the 200 yard mark in 2015 so that is a high number to reach.  I think they get close.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who is the fastest running back?

Bob Redman: As mentioned above, I believe Scarlett is the fastest.


Fightin’ Gators Question: What does Perine bring to the party and is he the OU Perine's brother or cousin?

Bob Redman: Lamical is a cousin of Samaje Perine at Oklahoma. Perine brings toughness and the ability to break tackles. McElwian says he has one heck of a stiff arm and you can see that on his high school highlights. If he was here in the spring he would be more firmly in the mix in my opinion.



Fightin’ Gators Question: We all know that Thompson has all the intangibles that make the NFL drool. He has the rare combination of size, power, speed AND elusiveness. Prototypical Bama RB and we all know how many they've put in the NFL. Let's assume he gets his fumble issues resolved and becomes the all-purpose guy we think he is. Do you see him staying with us for both of his eligible years or leaving after one? Let's face it. Most RBs with those intangibles don't hang around all four years.

Bob Redman: Well he still hasn’t had a year at this level to prove himself. I will say that he had a ton of carries in junior college and his numbers were good but not over the top. I don’t think we should put the cart before the horse here. With the even distribution of carries that I see happening, I think that will likely mean he stays two years.


Fightin’ Gators Question: As physically talented as Scarlett is, what has been his biggest issue? Lack of effort?

Bob Redman: It isn’t effort, it was off-the-field stuff before and just learning the nuances of pass blocking and route running. Those things are coming around in a big way now and why he is likely starting game one in my opinion.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Predict how many carries Perine gets this year. Given the apparent depth at RB, is it wasting a year for him to play as a true freshman?

Bob Redman: I will say that Perine will carry about 35-40 times this year.  That would be around three carries a game and he should get more in the blowouts and maybe a shot here and there during the year. I wil say that he has advanced quickly, so that projection could change, but the other guys are all ahead as we saw by the depth chart released.

Logan Bowles / USA TODAY Sports

Fightin’ Gators Question: How would you rank the RB's in the following categories?

Bob Redman: These are all pretty much just guesses based on what I have heard , but I love this question and format so will give it a shot.

On pass protecting the QB against the blitz?  Cronkrite, Thompson, Scarlett, Herndon, Perine

On ball security (not fumbling)?  Cronkrite, Scarlett, Herndon, Perine, Thompson

On catching the ball out of the backfield? Cronkrite, Thompson, Scarlett, Herndon, Perine

On ability to break tackles? Perine, Scarlett, Cronkrite, Thompson, Herndon

On ability to elude tacklers?  Thompson, Scarlett, Cronkrite, Herndon, Perine



Fightin’ Gators Question: Can you give us a brief rundown (no pun intended) of Adarius Lemons and what he brings to the table vs. our other RB's?

Bob Redman: They like his size and ability to get bigger. He’s tall and angular with pretty good speed. I thought he would be bigger when I finally saw him, but as mentioned he will be able to put on some good weight. I think he fits right in the mold of what the Gators already have and what they are looking for in a back.



Fightin’ Gators Question: Other than Emmitt Smith, who is your favorite RB from UF? Who is the second best in your time covering UF? Probably different, but could be the same.

Bob Redman: If we went all-time I would probably say Neal Anderson.  I loved me some Air-Anderson when he would fly over the pile at the line of scrimmage and score. Since we are going during the time I covered the Gators, that makes it a little less apparent because my time covering the Gators started in 2004.

I think I will go with Jeff Demps here. There is something that is so awesome about a guy that can find a little crease and the next moment be in the end zone. Demps also did all the right things while I college and was just a great overall kid and good personality. 

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