Written by Chris Canada, Gatorsfirst.com Co-Founder
The long and dull offseason is finally coming to a close. Anticipation has never been higher in Gainesville, as last year's BCS champions are looking to do what no team in the BCS era has been able to accomplish: win a second consecutive championship.
With all of the players from last year's team coming back to defend their title, introductions are probably not needed. However, the Gatorsfirst.com team will give you the positional breakdowns you deserve to be fully ready for the 2009 season.
One of the big question marks heading into last season was their lack of experience at running back. However, after leading the SEC in rushing last season, there is high anticipation for this upcoming season. We now look at the tailbacks and fullbacks for the 2009 season...
Jeff Demps (So., No. 2, RB/ATH, 5'8'', 183lbs) – Demps was a complete and pleasant surprise last season. No one expected this little guy to be able to handle the rigors that SEC defenses place on running backs. Everyone except the Florida coaching staff believed he was too small. Urban saw his breakaway speed, and boy is “breakaway” an understatement! Jeff Demps may be the fastest player I’ve ever seen play at Florida, and that’s saying a whole lot. Demps ended up rushing for over 600 yards and seven TDs. Along with Rainey and Moody, he’ll be able to stay fresh and not have to take more than 10-15 carries per game.
Chris Rainey (RSo., No. 3, RB, 5'9'', 175lbs) – Rainey had a bounce-back year last season as he was coming back from injuries sustained during his freshman year (which he ended up taking a redshirt). Chris averaged 7.8 yd/carry and scored four TDs. He’s just about as fast as Demps, so it’ll be fun to see those two burn. He’ll also stay fresh by taking only 10-15 carries per game.
Emmanuel Moody (RJr., No. 21, RB, 6'0'', 210lbs) – If Demps and Rainey are lightening, Moody is most definitely thunder. This bruising tailback is coming of what some can perceive as a disappointing year after transferring from USC. However, when you look at it, it’s not really his fault that coaching staff was reluctant to put him in after Demps and Rainey started scorching everyone. He has a few bright spots, including great showings in the Tennessee and Georgia games, as well as topping 100 yards against the Citadel. He’s been the most impressive back this spring and I expect him to be a force in our backfield for the next two years.
Brandon James (Sr., No. 25, RB/ATH, 5'7'', 185lbs) – Although he’s made his name as a return specialist, Brandon James did get to see some action on the offensive side of the ball last season, both running and receiving. He’ll probably get a couple of those touches that Percy Harvin had last year, along with freshman receiver Andre Debose. Look for him to score at least one highlight film score from the tailback position this year
Other RBs – There has been a whole lot of buzz about walk-on Christopher Scott who looks like he can steal a few carries here and there. True freshman Mike Gillislee has impressed coaches, but I expect him to redshirt and be part of the Gators’s long term plans. Vincent Brown and Marquis Hannah are also on the roster, but they will most likely not see the field.
Fullbacks – The spread offense doesn’t have much use for a typical fullback. Combine that with the fact that Tim Tebow plays like both positions most of the time, and you can see why touches will be scarce. Ask Billy Latsko. However, when in the newly implemented I-Formation sets, expect to see Southern Illinois transferRick Burgess and redshirt freshman TJ Pridemore battling for playing time. Steven Wilks tore his ACL in the spring and will miss the season.
We discussed our QBs yesterday. Look for the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends preview on Monday!
You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl