With the reported resurgence of Chris Rainey and the return of Jeff Demps for his senior season, all indications point to the Gators backfield as the strength of the offense in 2011.
Asked about Trey Burton’s new F-21 role — a hybrid blend of fullback, slot receiver and short-yardage running back — and the combination of talent in the backfield, Rainey, exuding confidence, summed it up.
“We’re going to be giving a lot of defenses hell this year,” he said, carefully picking the right words through a wry smile. "We've got different athletes everywhere and they can't focus on one person."
Rainey missed five games last season after he was suspended following his much-publicized arrest, but teammates and coaches have praised Rainey's approach during the offseason, saying he has matured.
Burton, Rainey and Demps combined for 1,808 yards from scrimmage in 2010 out of Urban Meyer's spread offense. And new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has raved about the speed of the Florida offense, saying he's never had anything like it. One of the more heralded offensive gurus around, Weis has elaborate plans to get his playmakers the ball in space.
"It’s interesting to talk to Charlie and look at the different ways we are going to get those guys the football," coach Will Muschamp said recently. "Because that’s the bottom line at the end of the day, is getting [it to] those guys [at] the playmaker positions."
With quarterback John Brantley's ability to succeed in the Southeastern Conference still in doubt, the backfield will likely be leaned on early to carry the offense. Rainey, Demps and Burton are all in line for big years should they remain healthy.