Rainey Was Born With a Target On

Sophomore running back Chris Rainey is just one part of the big time offense for the defending national champion offense in 2009. The Florida Gators are looking to repeat and will do so with a big target on their backs. For Rainey, he is used to being a marked man and welcomes it. He understands it takes harder work and dedication to make sure he can finish as the hunter and not the hunted.

Everyone will be gunning for the Gators in 2009. The defending national champions also open up the season as the favorites to win it all again. Chris Rainey rushed for more than 600 yards a year ago and is back and looking to do more damage in 2009. He understands that the Gators will have to bring their A-game every week.

"We know we will have a target on our shoulders, so we need to stay focused and take one game at a time," Rainey said last week during Florida's media day. "That will have to push us, we can't focus on us being the number one team in the country because we will lose it."

As a high schooler Rainey won two national championships and three state titles at Lakeland. He came to Florida that won a title and was part of last year's team. He understands what it takes and it has just become part of his makeup.

"That has made me work hard all my life because I have been on the number one team on every team I have been on," he said. "It's something I don't think about."

Rainey has changed since his arrival and he now understands that achieving team goals will take care of individual goals.

"My goal is to be a team player and be the best of the best," Rainey said. "Our focus is to be the best in the country. We have a lot of good and fast running backs on our team. We want to take time, do our job, and be team players.

In order to be the best Rainey understands his negatives. He will have to get better at pass blocking in order to be a better all around player. One thing Rainey has had to do is gain weight and muscle and make himself tougher in the process.

It hasn't been easy but he has cleared the 180 pound hurdle the coaches want him at.

"Sometimes it is at the point where you are throwing up and I finally got used to it when my stomach started expanding," Rainey said about the long process of gaining good weight. "It will definitely help in my pass blocking and breaking more tackles."

Pass blocking has been an issue but one he is working on diligently.

"I have been doing good, the thing I am focused on most is pass blocking," he said. "I just have to set a good fit and stop their charge. I did it before but not that much."

With Tim Tebow at quarterback, it isn't exactly easy to set your feet pass blocking when the man is running around doing things with his feet.

"Definitely, that makes it harder because you don't know where he will be at," Rainey said. "But, it's the same technique."

We will definitely see a more refined Rainey. Urban Meyer talks about a guy that knows what he is doing on the football field as opposed to one that just took the ball and ran last year. With a head of steam that comes with understanding the play ahead of time we are likely to see many more big plays from Chris Rainey...both when he has the ball and when he doesn't.


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