Backfield is back intact

Published: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 11:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 11:52 p.m.

Note: This is the first in a series breaking down the Florida football team by position. Next up is a look at the secondary on July 26.


Ranking SEC backfields

1. Florida
2. Ole Miss
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Georgia
6. Tennessee
7. Arkansas
8. Auburn
9. Kentucky
10. Vanderbilt
11. Mississippi St.
12. South Carolina

The upside

Tim Tebow is back. Thatís about as big an upside as you can get in college football. Sophomore John Brantley flourished in the second half of the spring and could see considerable playing time behind Tebow as he prepares to take over the offense next season. The Gators still donít have a dominant, every-down tailback, but they have a great deal of speed and playmaking ability after the emergence of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey last season. Demps and Rainey gave the offense something it had been lacking in previous seasons ó a home run threat from the position (other than wide receiver Percy Harvin). Demps is maybe the fastest player in college football, and he showed last season that heís not just a track guy. Heíll get the first shot at assuming the Harvin role in the offense. Heíll be lining up at tailback and as a slot receiver. With the Gators expected to line up some in the I-formation (with Tebow under center), the fullback position will be more prominent in the offense. Rick Burgess, a walk-on, had a big spring and has a chance to contribute.

The downside

UF is three-deep at tailback, but is that deep enough in the rugged SEC? Rainey and Emmanuel Moody have had injury issues in the past, and Demps and Rainey are a little bit undersized. Moody has the speed and ability to be a big-timer, but weíve still yet to see that consistently shine through on Saturdays.

Young guy to watch

True freshman Andre Debose will be listed as a wide receiver on the roster, but heís going to be spending a lot of time in the backfield trying to help fill the Percy Harvin role in the offense. He has an impressive high school highlight tape, where he shows some of the speed and sharp cutting ability that remind some (including UF coach Urban Meyer) of Harvin.


15-Tim Tebow
12-John Brantley
-- Jordan Reed

2-Jeff Demps
3-Chris Rainey
21-Emmanuel Moody
20-Christopher Scott
-- Mike Gillislee

48-Rick Burgess
45-T.J. Pridemore
42-Steven Wilks

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