Senior running back Lamical Perine has not seen many holes to run through so far this season. But he’s doing everything he can to provide the Gators some semblance of a running game, breaking tackles and giving maximum effort in everything that he does.
Along the way, he’s inspiring his teammates, UF coach Dan Mullen said.
“(He’s inspiring them) a lot,” Mullen said. “He is running hard.”
Perine considered leaving early for the NFL, but decided to return for his senior season to improve his skills as a complete back and help the Gators possibly contend for a championship.
He’s rushed for 392 yards and four touchdowns and is the team’s third-leading receiver with 20 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also excelled in pass protection.
His teammates have noticed the effort he’s playing with.
“It means a lot,” senior wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “Perine’s a guy that wants to win. He’s a senior, he came back for his senior year because he wanted to win. You can see it when he goes out there and plays, the amount of will he has for the team and how bad he wants to win with the way he runs the ball, the way he makes circus catches in the end zone.
“It shows that he wants to win for this team and he’s excited to be back and he wants to win ball games here.”
Defending two QBs
The Florida defense is preparing to face two South Carolina quarterbacks with different skill sets: starter Ryan Hilinski, who is a pocket passer, and dual-threat Dakereon Joyner.
Hilinski injured his knee in the win at Georgia last Saturday. Joyner came off the bench and helped lead the Gamecocks to the upset in overtime.
“They’ve had to deal with a little bit of quarterback injuries,” Mullen said. “It looks like Hilinksi is fine and he’s going to play. So it doesn’t look like that will be an issue for them.
“The other quarterback came in and I thought, very much like our guys, he did a great job. They didn’t change what they did offensively. He just brought a little flavor to it. And he was able to come in and win the game for them. It shows they have some good depth and they feel pretty comfortable with both guys playing.”
The Gators expect to face both quarterbacks Saturday.
“Both of them are pretty good quarterbacks,” senior defensive tackle Adam Shuler said. “Second guy is a pretty good runner, first guy is good in the pocket and is a good passing quarterback. We’re game-planning against both of them, so whoever plays we’ll be ready.”
While it was an awful night in Baton Rouge for the defense Saturday, it was a promising one for quarterback Kyle Trask and the offense.
In the loud and hostile environment, Trask led the Gators on four 75-yard touchdown drives and the offense rolled up 457 total yards.
“I think we showed a lot of good signs,” Trask said. “Obviously, toward the end we could have done a better job of scoring touchdowns in the red zone. I think we showed a lot of good signs of being able to execute and play pretty solid in a hostile environment. That gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
More star for Wilson
In the second half against LSU, starting cornerback Maro Wilson replaced Trey Dean at the nickel, or star, position and true freshman Kaiir Elam took over at Wilson’s corner spot. That lineup could be used again over the remainder of the season as the Gators strive to get their best 11 players on the field.
“Marco did a good job at star,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We like that matchup, and our whole thing is how do we get the 11 guys on the field in position for us to be successful, and we’ll continue to move forward with the option of playing guys at more than one spot.”