Humble Demps Pushed by Teammates

Jeff Demps will start at tailback for the University of Florida on Saturday as they start the season to defend their 2008 national championship. Demps was a big part of the championship success last year as a true freshman, but looks to make an even bigger impact this year along with his teammates at the position.

Jeff Demps is a player that can score in the blink of an eye from anywhere on the field. With a laser timed 10.01 100-meter time to his name, if he has a seam and the defense doesn't have a very good angle, you can ring up six points.

For that reason as well as a bevy of others, Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer named Demps the starter this week for the Gators' season opener. Demps took it in stride and seems honestly more interested in how his unit and team succeeds on Saturday.

"I think I will be ready with the group of guys like the running backs we have encouraging and pushing one another, it will be good for whoever starts," Demps told the media this week. "...It means a lot being a starter, with all we have here. It shows you came out and work hard and did what you had to do."

The Gator tailbacks don't get a lot of respect both locally and nationally. Despite averaging a very impressive 7.6 yards a carry between the top three of Demps, Chris Rainey, and Emmanuel moody last season, they are kind of a forgotten group at Florida.

"I think that pushes our group," he said about the lack of respect. "When people talk down on our backs, we feel like we have some of the top backs in the country. I think it motivates us a lot to prove to people that each and every week we can run the ball."

As far as a starter at Florida, it is something that Demps knows is special after having worked hard to attain it. However, it is something he never thought of growing up.

"It was never a dream for me to be a star running back at Florida," he said. "It's an honor to come to this program and work hard to compete with the guys in our group. I think it is something special.

Pressed on it further, Demps said he had aspirations of playing elsewhere as a youngster.

"I was a Nole fan," he said. "You won't tell Coach Meyer about that will you? I had dreams of being the Seminole starting running back."

Now that he is a Gator he turns his elite track speed into elite football speed and is able to score from anywhere on the field. Like Demps freshman receiver Andre Debose is a dynamic football player that also happens to be a big time track star. Like Demps, Debose suffered a hamstring injury in spring track that sidelined him for awhile

While Demps is fully recovered and playing well, Debose may be on the verge of having surgery to repair his hamstring injury that has turned into something very different than your normal hamstring injury. Demps knows all about how painful and debilitating a hamstring injury can be.

"I know the injury is tough to recover from because I had a hamstring injury this (track season)," he said. "It took a couple of months to feel 100 percent again and I feel (Andre's) pain in what he's going through. I heard he might have to have surgery...if he can do that and get healthy I would tell him to do it. Other than that just keep getting treatment and just trying to repair the injury."

In the meantime Demps will probably get a lot more of a look at the slot position that Debose was destined for this fall. Just like a year ago and now, he will have to carry his weight even when it may not be expected.


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