Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Alabama-Birmingham: Reviewing The Gators' Running Game

When you rush for 300 yards as a team, you know you've had a good day at the office. The Gators, who had nine players carry the football - eight of whom rushed for positive yardage - did just that against the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers.

  • Chris Rainey lead the way with sixteen carries for one-hundred and nineteen yards and a touchdown.
  • Mike Gillislee pitched in with eleven carries for seventy-nine yards and a touchdown.
  • Trey Burton had six carries for forty-six yards and a touchdown.
  • Mack Brown rushed ten times for thirty-six yards.
  • Jeff Demps carried the ball only twice for ten yards before leaving with an injury of some kind.
  • Hunter Joyer, Jeff Driskel, John Brantley and Jesse Schmitt combined for seven carries, fifteen yards and a touchdown.

After the jump, we'll breakdown (using advanced picture technology) some of the key (touchdown) Gator runs. Okay, I lied. Not some of the touchdown runs. We cover all of them.

Trey Burton's five yard touchdown run:

Treyburtonrushtdformation_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Trey Burton, who is playing quarterback here in the wildcat formation, executes this play to perfection. Because there is single coverage on the outside, the only guy he has to worry about is the defensive end (green circle). The play here, is to either hand off to the running back or keep it himself (if the defensive end commits to the running back) and run to the outside of the tackle box.

Well, the defensive end commits...

Burtonrushtdresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

...and Burton has a clear path to run for a touchdown. Bonus points for Denote Thompson with the excellent block at the top of the screen.

Chris Rainey's nineteen yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter:

Raineytdpresnap_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Each team has seven players in on this play. The UAB defense loads the box with seven players and the Gators counter with five offensive linemen, a tight-end and a fullback. Chris Rainey, gets a hole to run through that is just phenomenal.

The key blocks on the play...

Raineytdformation_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Nixon and Harrison come off the line and meet the linebackers roughly four yards above the line of scrimmage and take them out of the play. The blitzing linebacker, who gets through the line as a result of Nixon pulling forward, is taken out of the play in the backfield by Joyer.

Raineytdprogress_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Rainey at this point, has a gargantuan size hole to run through here. He knows it. The fans know it. Heck, even the UAB defense knows it. But it is too late for them to react and Rainey, who will remain untouched until about the seven yard line, does a back flip/dive into the end-zone. 

Raineytdflip_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yeah, that's right.

Mike Gillislee's touchdown run in the 3rd quarter:

Gillisleetdformation_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The play pictured above was probably my favorite running play of the entire game. The entire left half of the offensive line pulls out and to the left. Everyone picks up their assignments perfectly.

Gillisleetdprogress_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Gillislee, has five blockers out in front of him. Four of them being offensive linemen and the other (lowest circle) being Omarius Hines.

Gillisleetdprogress2_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Further along in the play, every blocker except one (Nixon) has yet to become engaged with a defender. Also, note the position of Gillislee's shoulders. His shoulders are perfectly square (in front of him) compared to the seam in which he is going to run. What this means, is that Gillislee is about to hit the seam perfectly.

Gillisleetdresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Xaiver Nixon (lying on the ground) completes his block and Denote Thompson (lower screen) takes care of his man at the four yard line, just long enough for Gillislee to beat the one free man (currently at three yard line) coming at him. Gillislee though, has to break the tackle, but it was at the two yard line.

Just like last week against Florida Atlantic, the Gators won the game due to the running game. The offensive line easily overpowered the weaker defensive front of the Blazers. Which of course was to be expected. This Saturday, against the Volunteers of Tennessee might be a little different.

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