UF counting on Gillislee to carry heavier load

Florida's Mike Gillislee follows a block from teammate Hunter Joyer during the first half against Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 22.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.

Florida's bye week started 15 minutes early for running back Mike Gillislee.

The senior running back sat out the final quarter of Florida's 38-0 victory over Kentucky and finished with 13 carries, which was five touches less than his average heading into the game.

“We were in a situation where we could rep some other guys and protect him a little bit,” Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said Wednesday.

Gillislee won't likely be in the same situation this Saturday when No. 4 LSU comes to town. The Gators will lean on him heavily in the ground game, but Pease said Gillislee can carry a bigger load.

“If he's got to carry it 30 times this game, carry it 30. Whatever it takes,” Pease said. “If a guy wants to play at the next level, you better be able to handle it 25 times a game. That's when we see how strong you are — in the fourth quarter.”

Pease compared Gillislee to former Boise State running back Doug Martin, now in his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Doug Martin carried it 25-30 times a game, and I don't see any difference between Mike,” Pease said. “He can handle that, and I think the kid's good.”

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