Gator Backfield Getting a Boost

The Gator running backs have been good enough this season to boast the league's second best rushing offense. At just less than 200 yards a game, the backfield is finally providing consistency, ball security and the long run threat – all elements that Urban Meyer has been looking for the last three years.

And with the possibly return of Emmanuel Moody this week, it could only get better. The redshirt sophomore has been slowed with tissue damage in his ankle, but running backs coach Kenny Carter is optimistic about his return for the Kentucky game.

"Hopefully healthy," Carter said. "We hope that he'll be back and ready to go at the end of the week. He has no problems when it comes to running the ball physically. He has an injury that is very painful, but he has to develop a pain tolerance for it. That's the only way he's going to overcome it. It's a tough deal. Structurally he's fine."

With the success of the backfield the last couple of games, Carter said he thinks Moody is using as motivation to get back onto the playing field.

"If it's not than I think there's an issue," he said. "I think if you're a competitor you want to get in on that. It's a big part of what's driving him."

Chris Rainey left the LSU game with a shoulder injury, but he too should be fine for the Wildcats.

"It popped and it scared him a little bit," Carter said. "It's the same shoulder he hurt in high school not the one he had the surgery on. He tried to sneak into practice last week and they had to come and get him."

Part of the success of the backfield against LSU has been attributed to the much-discussed splits. The offensive linemen gave themselves a little more space between them, but Carter said it had nothing to do with the running backs.

"It doesn't matter if it's a big back or a little back," he said. "A back is a back. Obviously for a bigger back, physiologically he can deal with more punishment. The splits are more for putting defenders on islands and allowing our linemen to do some more things. It's more schematic than helping the backs."

A lot of the credit, he said, also goes to the receivers.

"When we talk about every play that we execute, there's a chance that it could go the distance," Carter said. "When you look at how much Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps have touched the ball, they haven't touched it all that much. All of their long touchdown runs except for one against LSU were inside runs. It's our receivers and Aaron Hernandez who are doing a great job of getting bodies on bodies and letting those guys."

But Carter said there's only one thing that has enabled Jeff Demps to have so much success running the ball between the tackles despite his size.

"He's real fast, period," Carter said. "The thing that is great about Jeff Demps is that he takes coaching and he uses it. When you have young people that do that it's easy for them to be successful. He's a detailed guy. He's very exciting to coach because he wants to do well. He is fast."

Fightin Gators Top Stories