It's raining and it's a Monday, so bad news is fitting. Freshman running back Mike Blakely will miss spring practice due to shoulder surgery. That's a real bummer, as it'll just about negate the head start he hoped to get by enrolling early.
This can be said about almost every position for the Gators next season, but the running back spot is going to be really interesting to watch. Charlie Weis will have his work cut out to run a pro-style offense with a bunch of spread scatbacks, and I felt like Blakely could have a shot at early playing time with a good spring.
At 5-foot-9, 194 pounds, Blakely isn't a big bruiser or even an Emmanuel Moody (who gets big bruises), but he runs tough and could be a great every-down back if he adds a little size. If the surgery and missed spring cause him to redshirt, he should be ready to blow up in 2012, but that'll leave this as the RB depth chart for next season:
Jeff Demps (SR, 5-8, 190) Career: 269 carries, 1,901 yds (7.1 ypc), 17 TDs
Chris Rainey (RSR, 5-9, 178) Career: 174 carries, 1,237 yds (7.1 ypc), 9 TDs
Mike Gillislee (JR, 5-11, 198) Career: 89 carries, 592 yds (6.7 ypc), 8 TDs
Mack Brown (RFR, 5-10, 193) Career: 3 carries, 23 yds (7.7 ypc)
Demps is obviously "the man," and he and Rainey should both be looked to as the big play guys, but if Weis wants more of a consistent pro-style threat out of the backfield, I think Gillislee might be the better option. I'd expect to see all four play next year, and it'll be really interesting to see how they're used in an offense that isn't as shotgun-heavy and with an inexperienced offensive line.
Will Muschamp gave the ever-popular "we fit our offense to our players, not the other way around" line when he was hired, but I'll believe that when I see it from Weis. If that's truly the case, next year's offense would have to still feature the spread.
What are you expecting out of this bunch for next year? Who do you want to see leaned on as the main rushing option? Any of these guys have 1,000-yard potential if given the chance?