SPRING: Coach Drayton on the running backs

One of the more visible coaches during this first spring practice for Coach Urban Meyer and his new Florida staff is Coach Stan Drayton. Drayton, the running backs coach, came to Florida from Mississippi State. He worked in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and prior to that at Villanova where he is given much credit for the development of Michael Westbrook, who now spends his Sundays in the NFL playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Drayton is a very vocal coach and quite innovative. To emphasize toughness and hanging on to the football, he's been seen in Florida's first five practices using Pugil sticks, which we normally associate with hand to hand combat training in the military boot camps. The running backs take the football and as they bolt to the goal line, Coach Drayton beats them up fat, padded end of the Pugil stick. He hits them on the helmet, on the pads, on their legs and on their arms. The running backs have to both hang onto the football and maintain their balance until they cross the goal line.

Here is a brief question and answer session with Coach Drayton, who has been a Gator all his life. He played his college football at Allegheny, small college sports' version of the Gators.


Coach Drayton using the Pugil Stick to try to force fumbles.

On the running backs performance so far…

"They still have a long way to go and we're asking a lot of them right now. The effort is there, but technique wise we got a long way to go. There's a sense of urgency that we're asking of those guys and they've figured it out, but we still got a long way to go and they've traveled some distance."

On Coach Meyer calling the position out…

"There's a call out to the position, but that's what we are asking of the whole team. Those guys are going to be challenged to get to a level that we want them at and they are responding to it. At that point we are still trying to figure out what kind of guys we have, and they came out the next day and they had a pretty good day. I'd rather them go out there and attack that challenge before we go out there and attack Tennessee."

On Marcus Manson…

"There's something different between those guys and he's the one guy that has legit sprinter speed. He's got to be able to use it at the right time when he gets in the open field. He needs to be a threat, a homerun threat, every time he gets in the secondary and is one on one to take it the distance. That's his role and to come out here and see it, when legs are tired, it was pleasing and the first time I got to see it myself."

On Deshawn Wynn…

"That's 228-pounds and we expect him to be a runner on contact. He's got some deceptive speed and is a big back with great vision, great feet and there's going to be a lot of times where we see him explode into the secondary and make big plays."

On Skyler Thornton…

"He's a very tough kid who studies, and pays attention to detail. Skyler has some great speed that he showed out here and really quick feet. All three guys need to be ready to block and run at the same time and he's done a great job of that."


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