Florida Sends a Message to Running Backs

Things are going to be quite different in Gainesville with the Florida offense in 2010. "You know who" is gone and the running game will have to be picked up by others, as will the passing game that will no doubt need to carry some of the burden left by Tim Tebow's departure. Thursday, the Gators shouted that message when they landed arguably the nation's best fullback. Backs should be smiling.

Tampa Catholic is home to one beastly fullback in Hunter Joyer. At 5-11 and 248 pounds, Joyer is a man-child and a weapon for any offense, maybe especially when he doesn't have the ball. Watching this mammoth fullback move into position to lay a potential tackler out is a thing of beauty, unless you are on defense.

Blessed with great size, quickness, and unusually brute strength, Joyer has been called the strongest player in high school football (he bench presses 480 pounds) and he looks the part. Joyer should bring a bit of a different aspect to the offensive game at Florida and he should send a smile to the faces of any running back that gets to line up behind him.

A change will have to occur in the offense as Tim Tebow was such a source of the running game. Gone are the 15 carries a game and 910 rushing yards on the season by the Heisman Trophy winner. We aren't going to see anything like that from John Brantley, Tebow's heir-apparent. Something has to give in an offense that understands it needs a power running game to thrive like it has.

When you don't have that bull as an option under center, then you need extra power at the point of attack. This is where signing the nation's best blocking fullback should send a message to running backs everywhere...that the Gators are as serious about running the ball as they have ever been and now, the man lining up 5-7 yards back will get the ball and all those carries.

I am not trying to say the offense is going to go to a traditional pro-set all the time, that definitely doesn't fit the bill with Urban Meyer and the type of offense he likes to run. What a fullback does with the skills of Joyer, is allow for a lot of versatility in the offense, switching easily from a pro-set to a spread formation and with hopefully little change in effectiveness.

The spread can be effective for running backs as well, but the combination of the two styles should leave defenses tired and slap happy trying to figure out how to sop it all.

That should leave a smile on Gator fans' faces, and on any running back that wants to play in what could likely be the nations best running game in the next few years.

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