Moody mystery continues (or does it?)

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For the second week in a row, Florida fans (and others) are wondering what in the world is going on with junior tailback Emmanuel Moody.

Two weeks ago against Troy, Moody fumbled in the first half, was pulled from the lineup and did not return to the game. We understand that one, given Urban Meyer’s zero tolerance for fumblers.

But what happened Saturday in the victory over Tennessee is a little bit of a mystery. Moody got in the game in the first half and looked really good, rushing three times for 33 yards, including a 23-yard burst in the first quarter. Then he disappeared again, never to return.

He didn’t fumble. He didn’t appear to blow any assignments or miss any blocks, transgressions that usually lead to bench time.

So what’s up with Moody?

I have a theory.

Once Meyer saw early in the game that Florida’s wide receivers were not going to be making any big plays against a tough Tennessee secondary, he put the game in the hands of quarterback TimTebow and tailback Chris Rainey. With Jeff Demps slowed by the flu, Rainey became UF’s best option for possibly breaking a big play.

Moody is a very strong, very hard runner who breaks tackles and can move the chains. But the Gators were desperate to find a home-run threat Saturday, andRainey was the guy. The thought here is that the coaches went with Rainey most of the second half because of his ability to make defenders miss and turn a 10-yard run into a long touchdown run. Rainey didn’t break any, but he played very well and got the most out of his carries.

With Demps expected to be back to 100 percent this week, the Gators will again have three tailbacks ready to go against Kentucky. Meyer said a week ago he had not lost confidence in Moody, and he showed it by playing him early in the UT game.

I have a feeling Moody will get his carries Saturday — and for the rest of the season.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Robbie, great analysis about Moody. Do you have any predictions for our WR’s? Whom of the youngsters can have a immediate impact in our passing game? Go Gators!!!

  2. Good article, I know moody isn’t the homerun hitter as demps and rainey, but he did show off some nifty wheels there. Is he in the 4.4 area?

  3. “We understand that one, given Urban Meyer’s zero tolerance for fumblers.”

    Somehow that zero tolerance didn’t apply to Brandon James, David Nelson, Tim Tebow, Gilleslee or anybody else who has fumbled.

  4. Thanks Robbie. It makes sense.
    But don’t you think, given how conservative we were and how we relied on Tim’s wide shoulders to run the ball 24 times (and Tim is certainly not a home run threat) that we could have given a few of those carries to Moody? Would have been just as productive and saved Tim a few big hits. I don’t want this to turn into 2007 where he is banged up for the 2nd half of the season.

  5. This is getting old, who’s to know if Moody IS NOT a home run threat? I have seen Demps and Rainey run down from behind many a time by DB’s. Their lightening track speed does not carry over to the ball field. Additionally – THEY HAVE FUMBLED and avoided the Meyer benching, HOW’S THAT. Robbie, your devil’s advocate take on him not seing additional playing time against TN is a thought but I hope it’s not part of the offensive philosophy on the Florida side line. If so, we are doomed. Having to count on Tebow, Demps and Rainey, YIKES! Kinda like last year against Ole MS when we tried to use just Harvin and Tebow. Moody is getting the shaft. The 157lb tailback is a nice change of pace but these two guys will not get us through the remiander of the season. RUN MOODY MEYER, PLEASE! Or Better yet RUN MOODY RUN, might be time for another T-Fer before your eligibility is up. Good Luck Moody, hope you get the ball A LOT more in the NEAR FUTURE.

  6. I shot an email to you last week after the Troy game and the fumble. You quickly responded stating Meyer had not lost confidence in Moody.

    I really question putting in Rainey, basically a scat-back, and using Tebow to bruise his way for yards.

    Why not use Moody who is a big back who can break tackles. Let him tire the defense. Just does not make sense. I really think Meyer just doesn’t trust Moody yet. It is clear he trusts Tebow. Tebow fumbled as well.

    I know I sound doom and gloom, but it just seems darn silly to have Moody walking the sidelines.

  7. I don’t buy it, Robbie. If we’re talking about home run threats, in theory yes regarding Demps, but I thought I remembered Moody having the longest run of the day early in the game. It just doesn’t make sense so far. The enigma continues – for me anyway.

  8. I agree with the comments posted here – we have yet to see Moody play for anything more than a few downs here and there. Why not put Moody in the game and pound the defense for a while? It would seem to me that this would open up more opportunities for Tebow on occasion rather than the TIM TEBOW SHOW running the ball off right tackle and left tackle. It would also soften up the defense and allow other breaks for the smaller backs when they did come in. Not to mention, Rainey and Demps doesn’t scare too many DT’s. They are good at busting one loose every once in a while, but not consistently up the middle – better for scat back and on the corner running. LET MOODY PLAY!

  9. I agree with Kris. Moody is getting the shaft. Others fumble and keep playing (Tebow), he fumbles one time and gets benched. We surely needed a bigger back Saturday. But, more than a back, we seem to need an offensive line. Tebow didn’t have any time to stay in the pocket. Consideraing the overall play calling, though, we may need a different offensive coordinator. Like almost everyone else, I was somewhat alarmed and disgusted with the game Saturday. If we could not go deep because they used a zone defense, then guess what everyone else will be doing against us.

  10. I believe Moody is in the position a lot of big time transfer players end up. Which is while their new head coach is glad to have them, as low hanging talented fruit, the head coaches often has a subconscious or conscious tendency for those coaches to go with the players they are most vested in when all things are relatively equal. Demps and Rainey are the RBs Meyer is most vested in, with respect to recruiting time, blood, sweat, and tears. Plus they fit into what he wanted for his team, amazing speed. Demps and Rainey have the unique speed he really covets.

    I think when a big time player transfers, they run a high risk of ending up like Moody, seemingly on the short end. They would be wise to do what Flacco did, which is to transfer to a school at much lower competitive level to be insured guaranteed playing time. Players need reps to make it to the next level. Mich Mustain and C.J. Leak transferred to highly competitive programs and ended up on short leashes in highly competitive environments.

    Moody would have been better served to transfer to UNC or an even lower profile program, where he would have been the only choice at RB, whether he fumbled a ton of times or not. At UF he is going always be on a short leash, versus Meyer’s guys. Moody is really Pete Carroll’s guy.

  11. I think you’re still guessing here. Doesn’t make sense. We ended up playing grind it out ball control. Moody was one back that broke a long gainer. Why our OC chooses not to use a bigger back is a mystery when he ran well. Why don’t you ask the coach point blank why they are not using Moody. If I were a big talented back I would shy away from uf. The coaches don’t seem to mind or discourage TT from exposing his body to all these hits when we have a talented rb. Yes I know TT scrambles on busted plays but still if they wanted to they could utilize moody more than they have. IMO they are wasting his talent.

  12. OK, how about this one? “Run EMC” as in, Run Emmanuel Moody Coach. A little thunder and lighting combination would be good for the offense and bad for the defense trying to stop it. Urban’s the best…..no need to ever second guess him. Coach Kenny is the best too! Moody will have more opportunities and earn the trust of his coaches and teamates. Go Gators!

  13. Thanks Robbie for your insight. However, I don’t know if I totally buy your logic. I believe the truth is that the current tailback depth chart is – 1. Demps, 2. Rainey, and then 3. Moody. Rainey was second in line and because he was running very well (I am sick of hearing Rainey detractors constantly bringing up that he gets run from behind, please show me a tailback who hasn’t), it didn’t make sense to change tailbacks. If Moody was number 2, Rainey would not have gotten many carries.

    Also, the truth is that the Florida spread offense is Tebow-focused (it makes sense as he is the star) that provides occasional opportunities for multiple players to have “co-starring roles. However, it really doesn’t matter who the tailbacks” (Demps, Rainey, or Rainey) or wide receiver are in this offense, they are not going to have numerous chances to have the football in their hands. Moody is a prototype tailback with power and speed who is ideally suited for an “I” formation type offense (maybe so is Rainey with his elusiveness and cutback ability). In a different offense (e.g. Alabama, LSU, Tennessee) Moody would carry the football 25+ times per game where an occasional fumble wouldn’t matter. Next year, the offense might be a little different under Johnny Brantley and the receivers will have more opportunities to show their stuff as it will be the spread plus a pro-styled offense attack similar to OU. The same would apply with Moody (if he is still at UF) as the coaches would be less inclined to leave the ball in the quarterback’s hands for him to run with the football in close football games.

  14. I couldn’t agree more with the thoughts expressed here. Aside from his fumble he has looked good. He’s looked strong. I hope Urban and Addazio give him plenty of carries against Kentucky. Give him the shot and leave it up to him – he either steps up or he does not. Give him 15-20 carries this Saturday and let him settle the question – one way or the other. The guy seems to have character too and we like that.

  15. Maybe he is a little like Deshawn Wynn and gets “dinged” up when he runs. I was always wanting more from him and the coaching staff, but Meyer would always complain that he was dinged. In my opinion this staff does not like to share that kind of information.

  16. i don’t think he will ever get his touches. we keep saying this game after game after game. it can’t have anything to do with on field performance because he excels at that. i’m thinking there’s something behind the scenes we don’t know about. i wonder if he’s on good terms with the coaching staff. his lack of touches literally makes no sense anymore.

  17. I keep hearing the fact that EM is a hard worker, good kid, the coaches trust him yet he seldom plays. What more does He have to do to earn the trust? He is not the ONLY one who fumbles. We play DT who drops the ball and yet will send him back in. We will run TT up the gut or 15 to 20 times a game, but we keep EM off the field. Again, it is the coaches perogative but I do feel bad for EM and I can’t see us pulling in a big back recrutiing wise. The only possibility a big rb would commit is TT will graduate. Still, I would like to keep TT fresh, it’s a long season.

  18. Come on people? Conspiracy theoies! I was sitting behind the bench at the Troy game. Moody did not want to go back in during the 2nd half. He sat on the bench mad at himself or someone. Tebow even tried to get Moody to go back into the game and he said “no”. Saw it and heard it myself! Moody’s ankle must have gotten tweaked during the UT game. I saw the trainers looking at it several times. With the long time he was out, why let him hurt it too the point he is out for a month. We scare recruits with some of these theories and I wonder if some of them are Kiffin or the like making the comments to do just that! Meyer doesn’t put players’ business in the street – that could hurt the player in the draft. Look at Percy’s issues that were unknown until he went pro. If I was a recruit I would appreciate that! GO GATORS

  19. I gotta say, I’ve been wondering if Moody has had some off the field problems or something. That 23 yard run he had in the first qtr was powerful and you could see he was pumped. It seemed to stun Tennessee a little because they were being so physical with our smaller tailbacks and Moody matched them. The way our offense sputtered around at times, we are going to need that power back chain mover…and thats Moody.

  20. Hey, listen to what yall are saying. This is stupid to sit here and whine over who gets the ball over whoever. If I were a coach recruiting a tailback and I wanted to show him how much I wanted to keep him away from a FLORIDA school, I would send them to this blog page and tell him. See, I told you that the Florida fans dont think that Urb will give you the ball either. Shut up and be happy we won the game and stand behind our coach who BY THE WAY has won two of the last three BCS Title games. His character and reasoning for what he has done has brought no reason for questioning from people who dont or have not coached befors. SHUTTTTT UPPPPPPP

  21. Every week some pundit, who, like the rest of us, doesn’t understand why Moody doesn’t play more, speculates that “this is the week he finally gets a bunch of carries”.
    This has been going on since last season at this time. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  22. I am completely baffled by Meyer’s treatment of Moody. Too me, he looks like the best RB on the Gator team. He also provides the team with what it currently needs, a big back to take the load off of Tebow. So Meyer refuses to play him. It makes no sense to me, and probably not to Moody either, and he has probably expressed that opinion to Meyer…therefore, he sits. That is my theory. Plus, the new OC obviously only knows two plays…hand off to Rainey up the middle or let Tebow run up the middle. Can we get a coach to come back from Miss. State???

  23. maybe meyer is a bit concerned that moody may show tebow up ? not taking anything from tebow but moody did average 11 yrds a carry and his avg yards per carry is the best on the team so why are we not running moody ? personally i thought moody came here to play not warm the bench !

  24. The Moody situation is very strange and Meyer is not letting on to all that is going on with EM and his head. Just a gut call, but EM may have a confidence problem what with Meyer’s fixation on fumbles…EM may be running scared of another mistake and that affects your confidence. I think we have a head case going on. Where is a good shrink when you need one?

  25. ****NEWSFLASH*** We WILL NOT win the SEC nor even a shot of an undefeated season unless Meyer utilizes Moody. We do not have the explosive threat we had in Harvin (don’t drink the kool-aid on Debose, he needs size) and if he continues to run Timmy up the middle instead of letting Moody contribute then odds are Tims going to get hurt. He is a stud but time takes its toll. How many times has he played and we learned AFTER the game he was injured. Does Urban have to let him get REALLY hurt before he goes to the bigger back? The SEC is a very very physical league and we NEED a bruiser back there to offset the speed of Rainey and Demps. When we go up against a D that can match the speed…Where do we turn?? TIM?? I don’t want to see another Ole Miss. GO GATORS!! (smarten up Urban)

  26. Moody’s shoe came loose in the game. It caused him to have a little bit of a tweak in that leg. The swelling was obvious. If is ready to go this week, HE WILL PLAY! Let the staff with two cristals take care of him.
    Don’t scare off the recruits with foolishness.

  27. I don’t think it’s all Urban’s doing. I think the new offensive coordinator shares most of the blame. How many times did he try to stretch the field, not wide, but long? I mean just like we knew they couldn’t pass we played for the run. Surely Monte figured out that the OC seemed afraid to pull the trigger.

  28. The best offense utilizes all of its weapons. This is NOT something Florida did against Tennessee.

    Moody is a weapon defenses must contend with if he is on the field… seems to me that would open up other plays if someone has to cover him.

    And one more thing…WHY WHY WHY do we not put a Gator chant on the board for the UF fans to sing and drown out the opposing teams band when they play. OUR boys need to hear from us!

  29. These can’t be Gator fans making these posts! Meyer afraid Moody may show Tebow up? Get out of here! No Gator fan is that stupid. Plus, see my post above. Go back to your own team’s websites ans do your Gator-hating there!

  30. I don’t buy into the theory that Moody sat against UT because Meyer was looking for the big play elsewhere. Moody IS a big-play back as witnessed by the terrific first-half run to the right. The ankle issue, as J Curtis mentions above, seems the most plausible reason. This guy can play but he needs the carries to prove it. He’ll get them.

  31. I am not an expert, and i trust the coaches. However, there is a double standard in the fumbling issue because it does not apply to everyone. Thus, coach meyer should consider not making it a public issue. It baffles me that Moody is not getting more playing time because he has the potential to be a Fred Taylor type threat. He has size and speed. Demps and Rainey are very good, but they are not better than Moody from what I have seen. Tebow is great, but the pounding will eventualy result in him getting hurt if his carries are not minimized. Perhaps the coaches should consider using the basic economics theory of maximizing their resources to produce optimum efficiency. Go Gators!

  32. I will never understand why there are so many Gator fans who love Moody when he’s never done anything. I guess some see his size and assume he’s Errict Rhett, but he’s not. A great 23 yard run? He went thru the biggest hole of the day, maybe of the season, and was tackled by the first defender he came to. As seems to always be the case, Moody got the minimum available on that play. Demps takes that carry to the house, so does Rainey. I like Moody and I’m glad he’s a Gator, but he’s our 3rd best RB and 4th best ball carrier. Moody is a great back for 4th quarter carries in a blowout. That’s his niche. Let’s keep him in it.

  33. Beg to differ with you, ToledoRick, on the comment that the 23-yarder Saturday was all about the huge hole. Check the replay. Moody got several extra yards out of the run with a hard cut to the right full stride that left a Tennessee defender completely flat-footed. I’ve yet to see a move like that by either Rainey or (esp) Demps. BTW, Errict Rhett was everything that Moody is not: plodding, durable, unimaginative.

  34. I think what everyone is saying is there has been NO reasons given for the lack of using Moody and so all we’re left with is speculation. This is a reasonable discussion since Moody has talent but up to this point hasn’t been utilized. We knew about the ankle issues early in the season but nothing since. We are told who has the flu and injuries but Moody wasn’t listed. CM keeps saying we’re going to use all 3 backs so I guess if Moody gets a carry or two it surfices. Listen, not knocking a coach who’s a constant winner but I think the fan base that supports this team passionatly should at least know what’s going on with a talented player?

  35. It seems UF runs the ball like at least 2/3 of all plays yet the tailbhacks never get enough carries. Its a strange phenomenon really. I dont think any of the backs are really homerun threats like Harvin was. THey are OK players, but just not really elite backs.

    Uf has even biggger troubles in the passing game. There was simply NOTHING there against Tenn last saturday. If teams start playing that coverage and can match up at the line of scrimmage the offense will really struggle. Next year the offense couls be in really bad shape if Urban cannot find another percy harvin type. Harvin never really got the media attention and recognition he deserved. Percy was a BIG reason the gators won 2/3 of the last national championships. Tebow is a great guy, a guy you can identify with but Percy (and BJ’s kick returns) really fueled the gators scoring the last few years.

  36. U Gator haters need to take your fake criticism somewhere else and quit doing Baby Kiffin’s leg work for him! It’s obvious you are not real Gator fans! All I got to say, Urban Meyer, selected as “Coach of the Decade”! That says it all folks! If I were a recruit I would want to play for a legend-in-the-making! A proven winner!

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