What RB Step's Up?

In part two of our pre-spring look at the Gator football team, I break down the running back position. <B>Earnest Graham</B> has been a very reliable back for the Gators over the past few years and now that he is gone, who will step up and fill the void?

Spring Preview 2003

Running Backs


The running back position in the spring will be a battle loaded with young physical backs pushing a veteran who has patiently waited for this opportunity. Ran Carthon returns for his senior year after an impressive Outback Bowl. For the season, he had over 500 yards and averaged 5 yards per carry. Ciatrick Fason may get the nod as his backup because he avoided a red-shirt year by contributing at fullback, tailback and special teams a year ago. DeShaun Wynn, Jimtavis Walker and Willie Green, the oft injured junior, all return. The backs who will get the most snaps will be the ones who can run most effectively out of the one back shotgun set and make safeties and linebackers miss for big plays.

Ran Carthon will need to hold off the young talent to be the every down back in 2003. (AP Photo / Chris O'Meara)

Running Back: Breaking Down the Players

Ran Carthon (Senior)

Carthon returns hungry and fresh off a tremendous winter session in the weight room. He has rushed for 700 yards in his career and must prove himself against young competition.

Strengths: Good size, strength and speed. Has experience over the others and knowledge of the offense. Also good hands out of the backfield. Weakness: Injury prone with knick knacky injuries. Should he miss some practice it could allow someone else to emerge. He does have a better grasp of the offense than his competition but still makes to many mental busts for an every down starter.

Willie Green (Junior)

Played in all 12 games last season rushing 19 times for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was able to stay relatively healthy battling swelling in the knee. Last spring, he missed valuable time because of a broken foot.

Strengths: He is a natural one back runner who can get lost behind the offensive line. He has great lower leg strength considering his injuries. He has a tremendous attitude.

Weakness: His ability to sustain and maintain blocks in pass protection which hurts him in passing situations. Health is always a factor.

Ciatrick Fason (Sophomore)

Played in all 12 games and scored a touchdown in his first collegiate game vs. UAB. He has a lot of energy and needs to translate that into big plays. Strengths: Good mixture of speed and size. He has natural vision and will run the shotgun draw better than anyone.

Weakness: Needs to work on his hands and getting more physical in the hole. Fason needs to parlay his experience into a spot atop the depth chart.

DeShaun Wynn (Red-shirt Freshman)

Ran with the scout team and could have easily helped on special teams a year ago if needed. Not as tall as Fason but a promising physical runner. Strengths: Good strength and power. Might be a more physical runner than anyone on the depth chart. Needs to jump in and get a grasp of the offense.

Weakness: Lacks experience in the offense, must use spring to learn the playbook and assignments. Must prove he can be a reliable receiver threat out of the backfield.

Jimtavis Walker (Red-shirt Freshman)

He red-shirted last season and did a nice job on the scout team earning the opportunity to dress out for two home games. He must make his mark on special teams as well. He may not get as many reps as the other four guys so must make the most of his chances.

Strengths: Another strong inside runner with a low center of gravity. He may surprise some people with his speed and elusiveness if given the opportunity.

Weakness: Size is a factor in pass protection. Must be more assertive in his decision making process in the spring.

Fullback: Breaking Down the Position

It is a thankless position on Florida's team like many other schools in the country. It is important, however, in the short yardage running game and inside the red-zone. Reid Fleming may get a look over from linebacker along with Ralph Townsend, a junior, and Ray Snell. Snell played in 12 games but is not a great pass protector. He will be the starter and needs to have a solid year in the weight room.

The Recruits: Skyler Thornton will be red-shirted barring disastrous injuries. He does have very good speed and I would compare him to Ran Carthon.  Joe Cohen will get a shot at both fullback and running back. 

Class Breakdown - RB

Post Spring Running Back Depth Chart:

1. Ran Carthon

2. Ciatrick Fason

3. DeShawn Wynn

4. Willie Green

5. Jimtavis Walker

Post Spring Fullback Depth Chart:

1. Ray Snell

2. Reid Fleming

3. Ralph Townsend

Spring Preview - Quarterbacks

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