Emmanuel Moody was supposed to be the guy to solve Florida’s running problems and take the burden off of Tebow and Harvin. So far, his number has been two: two games, two carries, two yards.
He missed time against Hawai’i after turning his ankle, but the coaches chose not to play him against Miami. That’s pretty serious considering how lackluster the Gators’ ground attack was in that game.
Meyer says it’s time to get him involved: “We’re expecting a lot out of him. Yeah, we’re going to get going.”
The main quote from Meyer I’ve seen thrown around about him is this one: “We’re force-feeding it [the offense] pretty hard core to him right now. The thing about this offense, people say it’s complicated, and it is. There’s a lot of stuff to it and it works. It’s not real hard to turn around and hand it off and the tailback runs into big piles. We expect our guys to learn a lot.”
One way to interpret that is a swipe at Moody’s former offense out at USC, as though Meyer thought all the running backs do out there is take handoffs and run into piles. Based on the high amount of respect he gives to Pete Carroll, I think that’s not the likely explanation. Plus, given the reverence Meyer has for guys like Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and Earle Bruce, I don’t think he’d be one to toss out insults against the “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense.
The likely explanation of it comes from the Orlando Sentinel‘s Jeremy Fowler.
Fowler has a “reliable source” who says that “Moody wasn’t always picking up the right blocks, blitzes and other fully-functional stuff you need as an RB in the spread leading up to the Miami game.” Given the Gators’ overall issues with blocking and picking up blitzes against Miami, that certainly rings true.
In preseason camp, Meyer said that Moody was “close to special,” and “special” is a word he hasn’t thrown around much in Gainesville. It appears that Moody’s problem is not with running the ball, but everything else a running back does.
After seeing Tebow rack up a bunch more hits and the overall running game sputter, Meyer probably feels a sense of urgency to get Moody involved. He’s no fool, and he knows what a great runner can mean to the team. I have a feeling that Moody will be spending this bye week and next week in a crash course for blocking, and I’d expect to see him get between five and ten carries if he passes.