Backfield Continuing to Improve

The Gator backfield hasn't been the most productive of units over the last several years, but they've gradually gotten better. With new running backs coach Kenny Carter taking over, Urban Meyer said that it's one of the most productive units on the field.

"Our running backs are very productive right now," Meyer said. "Having a productive running back that can catch a ball and run a route, the reason why you haven't seen them in there is because they weren't productive and weren't doing the right stuff. The best part of our offense is when you dump the ball off to a tailback and he makes three people miss. You have some guys – [Jeff] Demps, [Emmanuel] Moody, [Chris] Rainey, Kestahn [Moore] and Mon Williams."

The most productive running back last season was Tim Tebow who led the Gators with more than 1,000 yards rushing. He was followed by wide receiver/tailback hybrid Percy Harvin. You had to look at the third name on the leading rushers list before you came across a true tailback.

As for Harvin, he still did not practice on Wednesday, but Meyer said he did condition and he's getting close.

Another running option for the Gators might come from a quarterback, but not Tebow. Meyer's not close to naming the backup starter, but Cameron Newton might see some action even if he doesn't win the job.

"The one thing Cameron is doing is running the ball real well," Meyer said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some of that direct snap single wing. He can give us that element. He's a very functional runner and he's very tight with the ball."

Meyer said that John Brantley is throwing the ball well and compared his management ability to former Utah quarterback Alex Smith.

Practice going well

The weather in north central Florida hasn't been very cooperative in recent days, but that hasn't dampened the practice attitude. After a bad day last week, Meyer has been pleased with the workouts in recent days.

"We had a heck of practice today," Meyer said. "We jumped right into team scrimmage situations. Our guys reacted. It was a good deal. There was no complaining, no whining. Our defensive ends were getting good pressure."

This morning's claps of thunder forced Meyer to adjust the practice schedule a bit, which allowed him to learn a little bit about some of his players.

"You can tell focus," he said. "You can find the guys that can battle through elements."

Battle at receiver

With a crowded list of names at wide receiver, there's a battle going on for who will see the field first, especially with the bigger wideouts.

"[Riley] Cooper and Carl Moore are battling for a starting spot," Meyer said. "Deonte is doing very well, and then Percy and Louis Murphy when they get back from injuries are obviously difference makers at their positions. David Nelson is doing very well."

Freshman receiver Frankie Hammond is also impressing Meyer, but he's had a bad last couple of days.

"It must not rain where he comes from," Meyer said.

Notes

  • Omar Hunter and Matt Patchan are still not participating in full contact, but they are working on individual stuff. Meyer said that Hunter has been doing bag work, which is the first step back to contact work.

  • Phil Trautwein was also held out of contact drills today with a sore shoulder. Meyer expects his first team offensive line back at full strength next week.

  • Meyer has been very impressed with freshman defensive end William Green who was also the first newcomer to lose his black stripe. He gave Green the ultimate compliment today. Said Meyer, "He's a little bit of that Moss as far as relentless effort to the ball. He's up to 218. He's put on 20 pounds since he got here."

  • Dustin Doe is still not practicing because of sore hamstring.

  • Next week, the Gators will hold their second scrimmage, which will be a Hawaii scrimmage. One of the focuses will be on the new running clock rules. Said Meyer, "We'll work on the 40-second clock. People say you won't notice. You'll only notice when the ball goes out of bounds and clock keeps running."

    Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


  • Fightin Gators Top Stories