Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. LSU: Reviewing The Gators' Running Game

If someone tells you that a picture doesn't say a thousand words, they're lying. The picture above of Chris Rainey tells at least that many. The Gators' running game, when it mattered, against the mighty LSU Tigers, was nonexistent. Mike Gillislee did a good job in garbage time, but there must be a reason why he only plays in garbage time, right?

I'd be the wrong person to ask, because I have no idea what that reason is. In fact, I couldn't even venture a guess. I know the knock on him that he fumbles too much, but that can't be the only reason he hasn't gotten consistent meaningful minutes over the last two-plus years.

Will Muschamp and company have since said that things are changing in regards to Gillislee and the running game. Believe you me, I'd love to see it. But Muschamp isn't the first Florida coach who has said that. Actual changes remain to be seen.

You know what, though? I'm tired of focusing in on negative things over the past two weeks, let's take a look at some of the positive runs the Gators had on Saturday.

(The SEC Digital Network's video highlight feed was horrible for some reason. If a picture is somewhat blurry, please blame them, not me.)

Play No. 1: Chris Rainey's 25-yard run:

Raineyrun_medium
(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The outline is a rough guess as to the run Rainey makes here. It's all him, because the offensive line got absolutely lit up on this play. 

Raineyrun2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

At this point, Rainey realizes that he isn't going to make it to the outside and that he must cut back inside.

Raineyrun3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Nowhere to go. There are three LSU defenders within striking distance of Chris Rainey. At this moment, Gary Dainelson of CBS Sports yells, "Be patient!" He was exactly right.

Raineyrun4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Rainey makes a quick cut to his left, which makes all three defenders miss (one dives in an attempt at a tackle), and he is off to the races.

Raineyrun5_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

An absolutely fantastic block helps Rainey out here. Unfortunately, I can't make out the player or number.

Raineyrun6_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

He is finally caught by Tyrann "Trey Burton is as soft as cotton" Mathieu.

Play No. 2: Mike Gillislee's 12-yard run: (Yes, sometimes just 12 yards are extremely positive. Baby steps!)

Gillisrun_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

This is a simple draw play from the shotgun formation.

Gillisrun2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Gillislee is in the process of making a fantastic cut inside, which allows him to pick up a blocker.

Gillisrun3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Gillislee is directly behind Jon Halapio (blocker) in this photo. Halapio makes the key block on this play.

Gillisrun4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Gillislee avoids the previously unblocked defenders, and...

Gillisrun5_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

...makes it all the way to the LSU 46 for a Florida Gators first down.

Play No. 3: Chris Rainey's two-point conversion run:

Rainey2pt_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

If this play doesn't scream "Charlie Weis and the New England Patriots," I don't know what ever will. Chris Rainey will take the direct snap, make a cut and score for the successful two-point conversion. But that isn't the best part. Watch Jacoby Brissett on the play.

Rainey2pt2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Brissett does his best Tom Brady impression here. While the ball is directly snapped to Rainey, Brissett acts as if the snap is too high.

Rainey2pt3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Whether or not the fake worked to the fullest extent (it fooled the one player circled in green), I like it.

Rainey2pt4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Rainey dives in to complete the play. Very well done by all parties.

The Gators did gain 113 yards on the ground, which is by no means terrible. But they didn't run well when it mattered. The fact that Jeff Demps only had two rushes (ankle injury) certainly added to the issue. But I think that some good is going to come from that.

After all, Mike Gillislee made a good impression on this coaching staff.

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