Oct 1, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators running back Jordan Scarlett (25) runs for a first down during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Preview: Gator Running Backs

The Gators in 2016 did not have a clear starter at running back. Instead, the team opted for a “running back by committee,” with four running backs on the roster receiving a significant amount of carries.

This season, things might look different under new running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider. Seider was brought to Florida from West Virginia after Tim Skipper, the previous running backs coach, made the move to defense as the linebackers coach. Seider brings with him experience with running backs, especially Florida running back Jordan Scarlett. He heavily recruited Scarlett during his time at West Virginia.

2016 Season

The Gators ran with a “four-headed monster” at running back last season, with Scarlett receiving the most carries. The Gators ran with sophomore Jordan Scarlett (179 carries),  freshman Lamical Perine (91 carries), redshirt junior Mark Thompson (68 carries), and sophomore Jordan Cronkrite (31 carries).

Here are their stats:

  • Scarlett: 179 carries, 889 yards, 5 yards per carry (YPC), six TDs
  • Perine: 91 carries, 421 yards, 4.6 YPC, one TD
  • Thompson: 68 carries, 299 yards, 4.4 YPC, two TDs
  • Cronkrite: 31 carries, 145 yards, 4.7 YPC, one TD

In total, the running backs ran for 1,754 yards for a 4.7 YPC and 10 touchdowns.

Moving Forward

Coach Seider has mentioned that things might look different next season. Jordan Scarlett looks to get the most carries from the bunch, but Seider says he wants to play whoever is hot at the moment. One thing Coach Seider mentioned was important was not running a back too hard.

Seider likes the way Scarlett runs and has done everything the coaches have asked of him. He says that Scarlett won’t try to juke you out, but will run through you.

On how many carries Scarlett can handle, Seider said he didn’t know the answer to that question. The coaches have been pushing their players to the limit in the Florida heat, and the players have responded.

Orange and Blue

The annual Orange and Blue spring game kicks off this Friday at 7:30 p.m. from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. This is where fans can get their first look at the Gator offense and defense, giving a sneak peek into what they can expect going into the season. The game will also be broadcasted on SEC Network.

About Brandon Rossman

Shows pride for his local Florida teams! Repping orange and blue at the Swamp for the Gators, or orange and teal for the Dolphins. Football enthusiast and two-time fantasy football champion.

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