UF tailback Malik Davis looking ‘pretty good out there’

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UF running back Malik Davis gets a drink during practice Friday at the Sanders Practice Fields on campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Thus far in camp, true sophomore tailback Malik Davis, who was emerging as Florida’s best running back last season, has not appeared hampered or limited in any way by his knee that was surgically repaired last fall.

“He’s looking pretty good out there on the field,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. I haven’t seen any real setbacks for him. I think you’re starting to see him build confidence in it.”

Davis was leading the Gators in rushing last season before injuring his knee early in the Georgia game. He finished the season with 526 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

With his return, along with that of junior Jordan Scarlett, UF’s leading rusher in 2016, the running back position may be the deepest on the team.

It includes Davis, Scarlett, Lamical Perine, Adarius Lemons and the two true freshmen — Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement.

“I do feel like we have talent, some talent and some depth at the running back position,” Mullen said.

With so many capable backs, Mullen said there are times he will play two at the same time this season.

“We’ll have some things in we didn’t get too much into in the spring,” he said. “We’ll have two backs on the field at different times because those guys can play. And we’ll do some different things to put them in position to get the ball in their hands.”

The number of carries each back gets will be based on performance.

“They’re going to earn all their playing time in there,” Mullen said. “We want to run the ball. We want to be a physical running team, and guys are going to earn their carries and earn their touches, earn their right to play.

“We’ll stay fresh and be able to keep pounding at you. If one guy really separates himself from everybody else, and earns more, he’ll get more carries and touches.”

24 COMMENTS

    • Leland – I mentioned our stable of running backs several weeks ago and I said they would be a strength of the team. The biggest reason is the QB play isn’t very consistent so the RB’s will be used heavily in my opinion. They will take the pressure off of the starting QB. I wouldn’t mind seeing Toney play QB with the weapons we have. He would always be a threat to run and he has played QB in Highschool. Then it would be pick your poison as a defense. GO GATORS!!!

      • Ed, I still haven’t forgot our discussion much earlier this year about Toney as QB, and honestly think too that gives us an extra depth that we are not thinking about. Thanks for bringing it up again.

        Leland, as an aside, we could place a football under every back’s jersey too, and let the ref sort it out if anyone makes a first down or crosses the goal line!

    • Ray, was it you who mentioned that the other day? I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since, there might really be some merit to that after all. Not saying we’re going to do that at all, but just thinking outside to box…..

  1. We have a stable of backs indeed!! Eye-test wise…Scarlett and Davis are the top 2, and Lemons IMO deserved more touches. Perine as stated above does his thing too, but I like the breakaway aspects of the other 3. All indications are that Pierce runs very hard as well…perhaps a redshirt to save some years for Clement and/or Pierce may be the ticket..but what a “problem” to have.

  2. Watched the last Mullen coached offense last night in a replay of the Fla vs. Okla. Natl. Champ. Mullen had two backs on either side of Tebow alot. And of course, one of them was Harvin. They didn’t know who to cover. Dolphins used to do that back in 1971 with Csonka, Kick and Mercury Morris. You know how those two teams ended up, winners. Some comfort in the fact that is these QB’s still aren’t seasoned enough, the running game will still be there. They all seem to have athleticism and strong arms, but as always seems to happen, they lack the ability to read defenses, call audibles and check down to an open receiver. Saw it alot last year. The QB that does that very well?……………Fromm from them junkyard dogs. Here’s hoping they catch on soon. Go Gators!

    • Byrd, add a QB option and the run game gets dangerous. That Oklahoma game also had a killer defense that had Bradford looking at sidelines for help that never came. They used the shift at the line and fit some strange reason the no d Big 12 never figured it out. Or d didn’t flinch. Or in the immortal Tom Pettys words Don’t Back Down.. They didn’t and the rest is history.

    • g8rbyrd – Since you mentioned the Oklahoma game I have to share this. When I was in the Army, I was visiting my family in the US from Italy. I was wearing my GATORS shirt as I always do when traveling. I was in the Chicago O’Hare airport looking for the Florida game on any tv there. Almost every tv had the Notre Dame game on since Chicago is a Dame fan base apparently. Anyway I went towards the gate where my next flight was and I was fortunate to find the Florida game on close to my gate. I had an older man approach me and he said “I was hoping we had another shot at you this year.” He was referring to my GATORS shirt and he told me he was an Oklahoma fan. Oklahoma lost too many games to play for the title again, so our conversation continued beyond football. We got to talking about movies and I don’t remember how it got to that topic. Anyway he started to tell me about the movie “Inglorious Bastards.” I explained to him that I was stationed at Camp Darby, Italy and that we had a small base and didn’t get movies like other bases. Then I asked him if it was any good, and he told me yes it was and that his son was in it. So naturally I asked him what his sons name was and he looked at me like I was supposed to recognize who he was regardless of who his son was. Then he finally spit it out – he was the Father of Brad Pitt. I never get any different around any famous people and all I could think to do was shake his hand and I congratulated him. I still keep looking back on this meeting and all I can think about is the look on his face because I didn’t recognize him. I like many Pitt films, but I don’t follow actors lives or anything. I have looked up profiles on two female actors namely Megan Fox and Alice Eve. But I have my ulterior motive for those two…lol. So that is it. GO GATORS!!!

      • Great story, Ed….one that you can tell your grandkids! I don’t follow Hollywood stars either, most of the time wishing they’d just shut up and act or sing, but I read an interesting story about Brad Pitt a few years ago, and coupled with your story about meeting his Dad — kind of falls into place now how he got to be the way he is.

        Seems Brad was being interviewed about his thoughts on some left-right political issue, and his answered was stunning. More or less, “You’re not serious, are you? You’re asking ME? A guy who gets up every morning, puts on make up, and goes to work where he pretends to be somebody else all day? You’re kidding me, right?”.

        I thought it was classic, totally honest, and I’ve liked him ever since.

        • I’m in agreement with you two on the whole Celebrity/Hollywood thing. I used to have a habit of looking up info on actors while I watched a movie at home. And 90% of the time I’d find out stuff about them that I didn’t want to know. And now with Social Media and the lunacy of Hollywood …. I really just wish these guys would SHUT UP and ACT!. So great story about Brad Pitt…I just became a little more of a fan of him. Not so much about his pal George Clooney 🙁

    • Exactly Steve. You got to make the defense respect the pass to run the ball effectively. Cannot be one dimensional and win championships.

  3. If you think about the bunch of RBS and wide receivers it’s difficult to see how the offense cannot be better. I like Malik Davis because he is more of a homer in hitter compared to Scarlett or Perine. Those guys can get you a few yards consistently but aren’t really a breakaway threat. I still say Franks Will emerge as a running qb and that’s going to make a big difference. Franks just needs to make good consistent throws with what the defense gives him and stay on the field. If people stay healthy and the line can push teams around some UF can be pretty good this fall

  4. Isn’t read option in the same family of offenses as the wishbone? Anyway I like our runners.
    I agree on the Georgia qb.
    Maybe Scarlett is the second coming of Jim brown but I still am against giving him too many carries. If we gave to because of injury or it’s the the difference between winning abd losing maybe…but we need to develop reliable guys. Scarlett has a little to prove before he is trustworthy imo.

  5. Running back is one position most people are not concerned about going into this season, other than how do you get playing time for six very good running backs.

  6. With today’s speed and size of defenses, you really need to be able to pass the ball in order to be effective. But with the apparent talent of the Gator RB’s, we might just be able to pound defenses into submission in spite of our QB. We just need to complete 10-15 passes a game to the TE’s and one of the big receivers and maybe our offense can climb into the top 50????

    PLEASE stay away from run up the middle on 1st down, run up the middle on 2nd down, and bubble screen for 2 yards on 3rd down!!!

    • “PLEASE stay away from run up the middle on 1st down, run up the middle on 2nd down, and bubble screen for 2 yards on 3rd down!!!”

      LOL…most true bro.l

  7. Awesome to hear about M Davis. Great kid, explosive back. If his knee holds up, I think we’ve got the most dangerous running corps in the SEC (yea I’m coming at you, UGA). Davis, Scarlett, Perine, Lemons, Clement. Honestly if our offensive line is even average, I don’t care if we only throw 10 times a game. Lets pound them into submission and keep that aggressive defense fresh. This year should be fun.

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