September 1, 2009

Replacing Percy Harvin - Part II - Jeff Demps

Continuing our series on how the Florida Gators football team will replace superstar athlete Percy Harvin this season, today we'll take a look at what running back Jeff Demps will contribute this season.

Demps was perhaps the best pure running back on the Gators' roster last season, as he racked up seven rushing touchdowns and over 600 yards as a running back. Demps also added a touchdown and 141 yards receiving for the Gators during the 2008 season.

With Harvin's departure, Jeff Demps will undoubtedly see an increased workload during the 2009 football season. Demps figures to see the majority of this increase in the running game, where he is listed as the starting running back for the Gators.

Demps is seemingly more durable than both of his counterparts, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody. In fact, in addition to his tough running style, Demps is perhaps a bit of a blend of the other two talented backs.

Demps has the best straight line speed on the team, making him an homerun threat for the Gators. However, contrary to Chris Rainey, Demps is best served by hitting a hole and running straight through, while the majority of Rainey's big plays involve and number of cuts and jukes.

Due to the strength of the interior of Florida's offensive line, this should mean that Demps will see more touches in between the tackles during the 2009 season. Demps showed remarkable effectiveness last year running behind the offensive line, and the interior should be as good as any in the Southeastern Conference this season.

While Rainey will likely be the threat when the Gators look towards the sidelines, Demps provides the Gators with a quality option on third and medium distance. Essentially, Demps' added carries will simply be a replacement of that aspect of Percy Harvin's game.

The same will be true of Chris Rainey's role.

Expect to see Demps utilized extensively in between the tackles this year, and less on the outside, as the Gators focus on letting Chris Rainey take over that portion of Harvin's role.

That's not to say that Demps won't see some jet sweeps this season, or some runs off tackle. What I mean is that someone must replace the touches between the tackles that Percy Harvin provided.

Demps is much better suited to this role than Rainey, so he will likely see a larger percentage of his touches come on those types of runs, while Rainey will be relied on more to be the threat in the flats.

Tomorrow, I'll expand upon Rainey's role and the increased load the coaches will put on him, particularly in the short yardage passing game.

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