Moody Makes His Mark

For the past two weeks the primary topic around Gator Nation had nothing to do with the Gator football team being ranked fourth in the nation. It had nothing to do with a Florida defense that had exceeded all expectations in the first two weeks of the season.

No, the primary topic was, "Why didn't Emmanuel Moody play against Miami?" The transfer from Southern Cal has gotten more talk than any Florida running back that had yet to do anything since Emmitt Smith in 1987. I'm not trying to compare them in terms of talent or eventual productivity, but Moody was the guy everyone wanted to know more about.

So now we know a little bit.

Moody made an early appearance at Neyland Stadium, carrying the ball twice for 11 yards on the Gators' first possession of the game, helping his team drive for an early touchdown. He ended up carrying the ball nine times for 56 yards, taking advantage of a Florida game plan that chose to take no chances at all once the Gators had an early lead. That's quite an improvement over his two carries for two yards coming into the contest.

Moody showed he could play at this level during his freshman year at USC. He ran for 459 yards and two touchdowns while averaging almost six yards a carry as a rookie out West. The problem was he felt he didn't belong in the land of Troy and headed to Gainesville. We saw flashes of his skill during spring practice, but not enough to get all that excited about.

Now it might be time to get excited.

Moody gives the Gators the best combination of running skills, which adds a level of mystery to the running game when he's in there. He's a strong inside runner, but he's also quick enough to run away from would-be tacklers.

Just another weapon for a Florida offense that's loaded with them. Now if we can just see them on display next Saturday.


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