Wildcat not a thing of the past at UF


Running back Chris Rainey will see time as a Wildcat quarterback in Florida's new-look offense. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 7:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 9:14 p.m.

Florida’s offense has been completely overhauled by new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. But he hasn’t junked every element of the spread option attack the Gators ran for six years under Urban Meyer.

The Wildcat quarterback lives in Weis’ pro-style offense.

Senior tailback Chris Rainey revealed Wednesday that he, fellow speedy tailback Jeff Demps and quarterback-turned-fullback/H-back Trey Burton have taken some snaps out of the Wildcat in camp.




“It’s fun,” Rainey said. “I was nervous a little bit the first time, but I love it a lot. I ain’t never done it before. It’s fun, though.”

Demps said he’s never taken snaps at quarterback, either, but he’s looking forward to seeing what the Gators can make happen with the Wildcat.

“I haven’t been in the Wildcat very much, but when I got in it was pretty fun,” Demps said. “I can see the little hole a little faster and hit it.”

Demps was asked if there was any chance the Wildcat quarterbacks would ever throw a pass this season.

“Yeah,” Demps laughed. “I think there’s a chance — slim to none. But it might happen.”

Whether it does or not, it’s doubtful that you’ll hear the tailbacks complaining about the new offense. Rainey and Demps have been a comfortable fit in the pro-style offense thus far, and according to UF coach Will Muschamp earlier in the week, they’ve been getting to the edge and producing big plays in camp.

“It’s a tailback-friendly offense,” Demps said. “It’s a run first, pass second offense. I think this year the running backs are going to get a lot of touches.”

Maybe that’s why Rainey was smiling throughout interviews with the media Wednesday.

“It feels good,” Rainey said of the new offense. “I’m super happy. Everybody gets the ball in the offense. It’s not a one-man show. Basically, you see better. You see everything, you see the whole field.”

In the spread offense the tailbacks lined up pretty much next to the quarterback five yards deep in the backfield. Now, Demps and Rainey are lining up seven yards deep.

Those two yards make a big difference, Demps said.

“You can actually see the holes developing and make your read,” Demps said. “You can read the linebackers and read the line and make cuts off it.”

While some offensive players have struggled picking up Weis’ offense, it’s apparently come pretty naturally to Rainey and Demps.

“I’m super comfortable (in the offense),” Rainey said. “I don’t even have to bring my playbook into the room (for meetings). I know everything. It took me a week to know it in the spring.

“It’s real simple — just a bunch of formations, but the same thing with different names.”

Demps says he already knows the offense well even though he was running track in the spring and did not participate in spring practice. He did, however, attend all the offensive meetings.

“I have a little problem with protections,” he said. “Going through the plays in the spring, I never really had a chance to go over the protections. I’m trying to catch up now.”

Rainey apparently is having no trouble with his blocking. When asked what kind of blocker he’s been in camp, Rainey said, “Great.”

“Ask the coaches on that one,” he said.

Rainey said he planted safety Josh Evans with a physical block a few days ago.

It looks like Rainey and Demps are going to be able to hold their own in pass protection. But what they do best is run the ball — and Rainey said Weis has done a nice job getting them on the edge where they can use their speed to make big plays.

“That’s what he said he was going to do,” Rainey said. “He’s a man of his word.”

Rainey is having so much fun in the offense that he was feeling good enough at interviews Wednesday to take a friendly little shot at Muschamp.

When Rainey was asked if it’s been an adjustment getting used to the emotional and fiery new coach, Rainey nodded and said, “He’s bipolar, too. Don’t tell him I said that.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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