Demps Helping to Drive Gator Offense

After Urban Meyer's first couple of seasons, it was tough to imagine the Florida Gators getting production from the backfield. But in the last two and a half games, the running backs have delivered, especially true freshman Jeff Demps.

In Florida's loss to Ole Miss, Demps carried one time for no gain. In the Gators' six wins, Demps has carried 29 times for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He ranks 10th in the SEC among the leading rushers and he has 52 fewer carries than anyone on the list. The fastest Gator is averaging close to 12 yards per carry.

"He understands that his strength is his speed," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "There's no one that can chase him down, so he doesn't try to make people miss. If he's got someone 2-3 yards away from him, he knows that."

Demps isn't just scoring from the backfield. He's got another 109 yards receiving with 61 of them coming a touchdown reception against Kentucky on Saturday. Demps has improved on everything from A-Z since arriving in Gainesville, and he's added an extra dimension to the Florida offense.

"He takes the coaching and tries to do it exactly the way we want him to do it," Carter said. "He doesn't try to be just a speed guy. That's why he's had success so early."

"I learned a lot of stuff here," Demps said. "I've been able to watch a lot of great guys out on the field. I've learned a lot and it's all helped me out a lot since last August. It's started to become more natural, but I know that there are things that I still have to work on."

For offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, utilizing both Demps and Chris Rainey makes scoring a whole lot easier for the Florida offense.

"The big thing they've done is anytime you play in the SEC with tough defenses it's tough to score," Mullen said. "If you have to go on 10-12 play drives, it's going to be tough to score. When all of a sudden you hit a 20-30 yard play on a drive it makes it a lot easier to score. Their ability to do that, turn small plays into big chunks of yards in a hurry, have really helped out."

"We knew that those guys were talented," Carter said. "You always speculate on things, but if you can just get guys to do their job and get people to trust them then trust is what it's all about."

During Saturday's win, Demps didn't just do it running or catching the ball. He also got his hands on Kentucky's first punt attempt of the game setting up the Gators' first touchdown.

"I think blocking a punt is more special to me than running for a touchdown," Demps said.

Demps said the Gators beat themselves in their only loss, but things are back on track now. The Gators are leading the SEC in scoring, averaging 42 points per game, which is eight more than their next opponent and second ranked Georgia.


Fightin Gators Top Stories