|Moody could upgrade Fla.'s 'inadequate' running back position|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:05|
``I don't say hello to him,'' Meyer said. ``I just walk by and say, 'Boy, I hope you're really good.' I don't know what else to say. ... I hope he's really, really, really good. I don't know if he is.''
Meyer and the Gators hope to find out soon.
A former Parade All-American who transferred from Southern California last fall, Moody will make his debut when Florida begins spring practice Wednesday.
``Everybody's anxious to see Emmanuel Moody,'' Meyer said.
Especially Meyer, who called Florida's running back position ``inadequate'' last season.
Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was the team's leading rusher, gaining 895 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. Speedy receiver Percy Harvin was second with 764 yards rushing and six scores.
The team's starting running back, Kestahn Moore, saw his playing time diminish after costly fumbles in losses to LSU and Georgia. Moore finished with 580 yards rushing and six touchdowns - far from the dominant runner Meyer wanted to help take some of the load and focus off Tebow and Harvin.
``I keep hearing about a 1,000-yard rusher,'' Meyer said. ``We would have had one last year if he'd take care of the football a little bit better.''
Moody could make a difference.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Texan ran for 459 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman at USC and was the team's second-leading rusher despite missing four games with a sprained ankle. He decided to transfer because the Trojans had a stockpile of talent in the backfield.
He visited North Carolina and Florida last August, then chose the Gators because he wanted ``to be a featured back.''
He could get a shot this spring, although Moore, Mon Williams and Chris Rainey also will be in the mix.
``I'm very anxious to see the development of a group that's been very disappointing as far as production,'' Meyer said. ``There are good players there. There's some that could become great players. They have not done that.''
The running back situation is one of several interesting story lines of Florida's spring.
-Rebuilding a defense that ranked 41st in the nation last season. As defending national champions last season, the Gators gave up 362 yards a game. They were ranked 98th in pass defense.
-Finding a backup quarterback. Tebow has a strong hold on the starting job, but Cameron Newton and John Brantley will battle for the backup spot. Meyer has vowed to use two quarterbacks next season.
-Installing the no-huddle offense. Tebow ran the no-huddle in high school and had much success, so the Gators want to try it this spring.