Moody ready for next season


Florida running back Emmanuel Moody runs the ball downfield in the first quarter against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1.

Tricia Coyne/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 11:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 11:32 p.m.

It was always something with Emmanuel Moody's ankle.

A tweak here. A sprain there.

For the last two seasons, Florida's junior running back had a knack for consistently winding up on the injured list. After transferring from Southern Cal in 2007, it seemed that Moody's injury issues had thrown him into the bust category.

The story wasn't any different for this year's Sugar Bowl.

Moody admitted following Florida's 51-24 win over Cincinnati that he had been playing most of the season with bone spurs in his right ankle. Moody said the bone spurs have been the cause for most of his ankle injuries throughout his career. He had surgery last week to clean out all those pesky particles floating around in his ankle.

Though barely playing on two feet in the Sugar Bowl, when sophomore running back Jeff Demps left in the first quarter with a dislocated left elbow the ball was put into Moody's hands. Moody, who has spent most of his Florida career sitting behind Demps and sophomore Chris Rainey, delivered the brunt of the carries behind quarterback Tim Tebow.

His numbers weren't record-setting by any means, but it was the manner in which he gained his 33 total offense yards and two rushing touchdowns that brought a smile to his face. With his right ankle in shambles, Moody changed the way he ran by planting on his left foot and cutting to his right to take more weight off his right ankle.

The result? Moody had made three cuts that left Cincinnati defenders lying on the Superdome turf.

“It was fun out there making guys miss,” Moody said.

Moody laughed at his final yardage tally, but he grew more confident when asked about his touchdowns, which matched his career total as a Gator. He was satisfied to finally get a chance to take the ball into the end zone from inside the 10-yard line (twice), like a real power back.

Running backs coach Kenny Carter was proud to see Moody contribute the way he did. Carter said it was the tireless effort and the ability to play through his nagging injury that impressed him most about Moody's night.

“He's got the ability to make plays like that and he was forced into a situation where he had to play and he had to produce,” said Carter, who left UF last week to work at Louisville for former Gator defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. “He did what we know he has the ability to do.

“He got an opportunity and he got a lot more touches and he created some things for himself. Hopefully this will parlay itself into something next year.”

Speaking of spring ball, Moody is especially excited at the thought of Florida's offense getting a few more of a pro-style formations with quarterback John Brantley taking over.

Moody said he'd never trade his time with Tebow in the backfield, but he's excited to see his role possibly expand with the offense's new look.

“I'm a running back,” he said. “Let's run the ball. I'm excited.”

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