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Theater of Operations, Florida Gators Season Review: The Running Backs, Part One

Previously, the Season Review editions of Theater of Operations took a look at the quarterbacks (Part one, part two, part three). Now, we move onto the running backs. Starting, with Chris Rainey.

In case you haven't noticed, the running backs on the Florida Gators have been, shall we see, sub-par since Ron Zook was roaming the sidelines as head coach. Remember when Urban Meyer called his running backs pathetic? I do. I thought it was hilarious then and I still do. Meyer never got that running back he so desperately needed. The 2011 Florida Gators, under new head coach Will Muschamp were largely dependent on Meyer's "scat-backs" to get the job done. As expected, they got the job done against lesser competition but against the above-average defenses, they were ineffective.

By all accounts, Chris Rainey had a pretty good year in terms of rushing yardage. But other than that, he really didn't impress. Yes, he had a career season catching the ball out of the backfield, but his yards per rush were the lowest of this career and even though he's never really been a big touchdown guy, his four combined touchdowns this year (on offense) were short of expectations.

Play No. 1: Rainey's 14-yard touchdown run against Florida Atlantic:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yes, in case you were wondering, this is in fact, the "spin move" play. Rainey (yellow circle) does this all by himself. Though he does get some great blocks after the spin move.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The play calls for Rainey (yellow circle) to run inside the left tackle, but as you can see (yellow square) Xavier Nixon gets burned and as a result, Rainey is going to have to improvise.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Isn't the move (yellow square) beautiful? Wait, can I say beautiful?


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

After the spin move, Rainey (yellow circle) has a clear lane to run through. The blocking on this play is fantastic. If you can't wait for the offensive line review that is due out next week, you can view the blocking here, back when I was still figuring out how Theater of Operations was going to work.

Play No. 2: Rainey's 19-yard touchdown run against Alabama-Birmingham:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Rainey (yellow circle) benefits from probably the best single blocking play the offensive line had this season.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

See what I mean? There isn't a defender within a few yards of Rainey (yellow circle) as he hits the hole.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Rainey breaks a tackle! It's like the first time in his career he broke through a tackle (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Leave it to Rainey to find the most interesting ways to cross the goal line (yellow square).

Play No. 3: Rainey's 83-yard touchdown reception against Tennessee:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Rainey (yellow circle) just runs a simple route into the middle of the field after a play-action.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Rainey (yellow circle) catches the ball at the 20-yard line and there isn't a defender near him.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

By the time Rainey (yellow circle) is at the 40-yard line, there are a few defenders near him, but they aren't posing any threat.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

One defender (green circle) makes a feeble diving attempt, but Rainey (yellow circle) is going to go untouched into the endzone.

I'm still shocked that Chris Rainey went the last nine games of the season without scoring a touchdown on offense. The last offensive touchdown he scored, was a receiving one against Tennessee. Though he did have a very good day running the ball against South Carolina.

Rainey, part of the infamous "Lakeland recruiting class" leaves the Gators having been part of a national and SEC championship team and some other pretty talented teams. Even though he didn't accomplish as much as I thought he and the Gators would during his time in orange and blue, I'm still happy he was a member of the Florida Gators.