Ciatrick's ‘Un-Fased'

Gator Junior RB <B>Ciatrick Fason</B> seems very comfortable getting hand-offs, then, running up field. But, when it comes to catching a pass…well, that's what Fason had worked on in the off-season.

During Tuesday's practice, when Ciatrick Fason was thrown the ball, you could see an added weapon to the Gators offensive arsenal developing, as he scampered through the defense. "My freshman year, I was concentrating so much on not messing up, I used to drop a lot of balls," said Fason. "So, I came out last summer, before the season started, and, worked on my hands with the quarterbacks, trying to make it better."

And, he did just that. "I feel like I've come a long way. But, I still have room for improvement. I just like to get out there and try to help the team out the best way possible."

On Tuesday, Fason found himself on the receiving end of several screen plays, which gives the Gator QB's (whomever that is) another option to help keep the offense on the field. Or, even create the possibility of a scoring threat, which is just another thing the opposing defense has to worry about.

Fason said that he's doing everything he can to make the Gators a better team. And, not only is he doing that, but, he said that all of the running backs are giving it their all.

"It's going good right now. All of us are competing with one-another, trying to make each other better. That's the main focus. We're all getting the same amount of reps (during spring practice). As long as we keep going out there and practice hard, and, making each other better, the best will work out."

It's hard, at least for this reporter, to actually compare Fason to another runner. He kind of has his own style. But, he said that he does have some great RB's to groom his running game after. No not Emmitt Smith, nor, any of the former Florida RB's.

"I grew up watching old film of Walter Payton. Then, as I got a little bit older, I started liking Ricky Williams," said Fason, adding that, "when I got to high school, I started liking DeShaun Foster, and, when the Super Bowl came…'Big Mo' (Mitchell) called me. He said that he reminded me of Foster. Now, I watch him a lot. I feel like we're both are in the same running-style mode." (Foster was an integral part of the Carolina Panthers backfield last season during their run to the Super Bowl).

Fason ended the 2003 season as the Gators second leading rusher with 583 yards on 84 attempts (an average of 6.9 yards per run --- the highest average among UF backs with 10 or more carries). He has played in 26 consecutive games, every game of his career. He also had eleven catches for 142 yards, including hauling in three touchdowns.

With Fason's receiving skills getting better everyday, you can surely count on him to get more chances at catching the ball come fall. Of course, right now, his main concern is running the ball, whether from a hand-off or a pitch.

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