Searching for a tailback

Florida loses two senior running backs and returns a lot of question marks

Originally Published: November 16, 2011
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One of the few bright spots in Florida's offense in 2011 has been the play of senior running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.

The two have combined for 1,329 yards and eight touchdowns rushing this season, which is pretty good production in the Southeastern Conference. The problem, though, is how they did it.

[+] EnlargeDemps/Rainey
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaMainstay seniors Jeff Demps, left, and Chris Rainey will not return to Florida's backfield.
UF coach Will Muschamp wants a power running game. That means having a back who can pound the ball between the tackles -- like Alabama's Trent Richardson and LSU's Spencer Ware. Demps and Rainey weren't able to do that. They are speedy backs who are more dangerous on the edge.

If Florida's offense is going to be better next season, the Gators must improve at running back. Here's a look at the position for 2012:

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter