UF Notebook: Moody says it's time for running backs to step up


Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.

At this point in his career, Emmanuel Moody says he's no longer frustrated with nicks and tweaks his ankle undergoes.

Ankle injuries plagued Florida's senior running back the last two seasons and this spring started off no differently after another one caused him to miss two practices last week.

Moody said it never affected him. Moody used the off time to rest and study, not mope and pout.

“It's a time that is supposed to bring you down, but I'm getting really strong from it,'' Moody said after Wednesday's practice. “That's only going to make me stronger because sometimes you have outside components, as in people, that say, ‘He's hurt, again.' I don't care really what people say. I know that from my own body, it's a scenario that I've been getting stronger in. I feel my ankle is going to be 100 percent and great for the season next year.”

Moody's ankle looked to be as close to 100 percent as it gets Wednesday as he cut and sprinted his way past defenders the entire afternoon. He dropped a couple passes here and there, but propelled the offense during goal-line drills where he scored multiple times.

“It was a great practice for him,” offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said. “It was one of his better ones, for sure.”

In his last season as a Gator, Moody could talk about how this is his final opportunity to impress or make a name for himself. He doesn't mention either. Moody describes production as something his unit can get, not just him.

The best example of Moody's unselfish attitude came while sitting and watching sophomore Mike Gillislee take the bulk of the carries out of the backfield. Instead of worrying about losing reps, he rejoiced in Gillislee's success and cheered him on.

It's that attitude that has Moody thinking the running backs together could fuel Florida's offense this fall.

“We could have done that last year, but we had a great quarterback in (Tim) Tebow,” he said. “It's time for the running backs to step up and contribute in a big way next year.”

However, Moody does want a little self satisfaction from his play. If not, he runs the risk of regressing.

“Every day, if I don't get better I get down on myself,” he said. “My biggest competitor is myself, and I like to get better every day.”

Playing hurt

Anyone who has been out to one of Florida's practices has seen the bad snaps coming from under center. Some have been too low. Others too high. But don't be surprised if Addazio isn't looking at it that way.

With senior center Mike Pouncey watching more this spring, redshirt freshman Nick Alajajian and redshirt sophomore Sam Robey have shared reps in his place. A tackle in high school, Alajajian is not only learning a new position, but he recently rolled his ankle and has refused to sit, causing his form to be a little off this spring.

That spirit has satisfied Addazio more than his playing has.

“Most people wouldn't practice, but he's so tough, he's out there anyway,” Addazio said.

Okine on offense?

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Earl Okine has been getting reps at tight end in goal-line situations this spring and tight ends coach Brian White said there's a chance that could continue this fall.

“It was really impressive (watching Okine at tight end),” White said. “There will be a role for Earl as well (at tight end).”

With redshirt freshman Desmond Parks out this spring, freshmen Gerald Christian and Jordan Reed have taken the majority of reps. White described the position “as wide as the Grand Canyon is wide.”

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