The Florida Gators are, like Wings, a Band on the Run

The Florida Gators may not be, per SBG Global Sportsbook, favorites to win the NCAA National Championship, but they can take a quantum of solace in the fact that their running game is finding an identity of its own beyond Jordan Scarlett, among other eight Florida players, is facing charges for transferring money from stolen credit cards into their University of Florida bookstore accounts to purchase items.

In Scarlett's particular case, the running back transferred money into his girlfriend's account, telling her it came from a sports agent in New York.

But on to happier events, rookie Malik Davis has taken the lemons the Gators were given and made lemonade - honest to goodness lemonade; this is no Kool Aid. Davis currently leads the team, and is ranked fourth in the nation among first-year freshmen, with 319 rushing yards, while averaging more than seven yards per carry.

Davis would, at this rate, finish the season with 877 rushing yards. He is not, however, above making the proverbial rookie mistakes, such as a fumble at the goal line that turned what could have been a 74-yard TD run into a turnover against Tennessee. But you what? It's much, much better to commit football mistakes on the field than life mistakes off it, like Scarlett.

Led by Davis, the Gators' ground attack has been deemed a "Fun 'n' Run approach" by Sec Country's Jordan McPherson, who likens it to Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun offense of the 90s, by virtue of which Florida won its first national championship in 1996, while averaging 47 points per game, and scoring more than 50 on seven occasions.

Times have changes, though, and Florida has not finished higher than 83rd nationally in total offense since 2010. Head coach Jim McElwain has, however, been developing the position of running back since assuming the post in 2014, with a view to restore it to its former glory.

To wit, 13 of 20 plays on the Gators' last two drives against Kentucky were runs; Florida's three-pronged attack helped the Gators put up a season-best 218 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Vandy; and also against the Commodores, the Gators rushed for at least 200 yards for the sixth time in McElwain's tenure, as well as the first time since 2014 that Florida scored five TDs. in addition to Davis, sophomore Lamaje Perine, who had been originally pegged to be Scarlett's replacement, got off to a sluggish start but has more than made up for it scoring three times against Vandy, and senior Mark Thompson has improved his pass blocking as well as his ability to catch out of the backfield.

"It's the SEC. It's big-boy football," running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider said, "and they understand that we got three guys who can play right now. That's a good thing." those three guys can take some of the pressure off of freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks who has been thrust under center following incumbent Luke Del Rio's injury, as well as of the receiving corps.

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By Mo Johnson, Copyright © 2006-2017

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