Gator Backfield Setting New Goals

At the start of the season, Running Backs Coach Kenny Carter put up a goal for the Gator backs. It was to rush for 1,700 yards collectively, and the four-some of Chris Rainey, Emanuel Moody, Kestahn Moore and Jeff Demps rushed for 1,796.

But the season's not over yet, and Kenny Carter has readjusted the goals that includes winning a national championship. And going up against an Oklahoma defense that boasts the nation's 18th best rushing defense. But the Gators have played four teams with better rushing defenses than Oklahoma's, and they've averaged 169.5 yards against those teams (Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, and Ole Miss).

"We feel like [the backs] been very important the whole year," Carter said. "If you go back to the beginning of the year, we were concerned about production in our room. We weren't concerned about having a 1,000-yard rusher. That was not what we wanted. We wanted production and our goal was 1,700 yards and we got that. We need to continue our part and finish out the season."

Three of the four backs should be ready to go for the BCS title game in Miami, but Chris Rainey is still hurting. He's nursing a sore groin and was limited against Bama in the SEC Championship Game.

"He's been managing that for about two months," Carter said. "It is what it is and he's got to work through it. When we're done, he's going to have to have a procedure and he'll probably feel like a whole new person. … It's not a major concern. Surgery will take care of it, but he's tough."

Now that final exams are over and the bowl season is underway, the realization that Florida is playing for the national championship is starting to sink in a bit.

"They're enjoying it," Carter said. "It's starting to sink in because they're done with school. They're pretty fired up. A lot of them are going to watch their high schools play in state championships, and everyone loves Christmas."

Even Carter is starting to let it sink in. When he made the move from Vanderbilt to Florida, having a shot at a national championship was something he had in mind.

"This is why you decide on coming to a place like Florida because something like this can happen," he said.

As for what the Sooner defense may put up against the Gator offense, Carter knows he'll get their best. Statistics can get thrown out the window. With a month to prepare, Carter knows Oklahoma will be ready and expects the Gators to be ready, too.

"They're going to give us their best," he said. "We'll give it our best, and you can throw all things out the window. It's like an instant rivalry. … We're going to play the best game we can play. We respect Oklahoma because they're in the national championship game, and we're going to do everything we can to win it."

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