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UF Coaches Say Gillislee Could Get 25-30 Carries, But Numbers Suggest SEC Backs Don’t Run That Much Anymore

On Saturday, #4 LSU will bring the SEC’s third-best rush defense (83 yards allowed per game) into Gainesville for a clash with #10 Florida.  The Gators have the league’s third-best rushing offense (224.5 yards per game) and Mike Gillislee is a big part of that, averaging 100.5 yards per contest (which trails only Georgia’s Todd Gurley in the SEC).

But Gillislee has cranked out that yardage on just about 17 carries per game.  That’s the third highest average in the conference behind Tennessee’s Rajion Neal (20 carries per game) and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore (18 carries per game).  But according to his offensive coordinator, Gillislee’s number of touches could go up this week.  Way up.

Brent Pease says Gillislee is capable of doing in the SEC what former Boise State running back Doug Martin did against WAC and Mountain West competition:


“If he’s got to carry it 30 times this game, carry it 30.  Whatever it takes.  If a guy wants to play at the next level, you better be able to handle it 25 times a game.  That’s when we see how strong you are — in the fourth quarter…

Doug Martin carried it 25-30 times a game, and I don’t see any difference between Mike.  He can handle that, and I think the kid’s good.”


Did we mention that Martin played against WAC and Mountain West defenses?  If Pease is looking for a difference between Martin and Gillislee, he need look no further than the quality of competition.  We at don’t recall the WAC or MWC cranking out dozens of NFL defensive linemen in recent years as the SEC has.

That’s not to say Gillislee isn’t capable of carrying the football 25-30 times against LSU on Saturday.  In 2010, Carolina’s Lattimore pounded Florida for 212 yards and three touchdowns on a jaw-dropping 40 carries in a 36-14 Gamecock win.  But that kind of workload is the exception, not the rule.

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