NCAA FB

Gillislee is a reluctant star for No. 4 Florida

Share This Story

   
 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)

Florida's Mike Gillislee avoids interviews as well as he does defenders, says little in the locker room and talks even less in the huddle.

His play, though, speaks volumes for the fourth-ranked Gators.

Gillislee has rushed for 548 yards and seven touchdowns this season, emerging as the key cog in Florida's grind-it-out offense. The senior from DeLand leads the Southeastern Conference with nearly 110 yards a game on the ground and has been at his best against ranked teams.

He had a career-high 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Saturday's 14-6 win against LSU, earning him the SEC's offensive player of the week award Monday.

''He just moves the chains over and over again,'' said coach Will Muschamp, whose team plays at Vanderbilt on Saturday. ''You get kind of tired of tackling him. The fourth quarter, that's where he starts wearing on people.''

Gillislee's second-half success is fairly fitting since he was such a late bloomer in college.

Gillislee showed glimpses of talent during his first three years in Gainesville, getting on the field mostly in mop-up duty while playing behind speedsters Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. He ran for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns his first three seasons, averaging an eye-popping 6.3 yards a carry.

But because of his position on the depth chart, his inability to pick up blocking schemes and a nagging ankle injury, Gillislee spent most of his career watching and waiting from the sideline.

He got his chance in spring practice and was impressive enough that Muschamp penciled him as the starter. But by moving tight end Omarius Hines to running back, hyping up highly touted freshman Matt Jones and giving fullbacks Trey Burton and Hunter Joyer plenty of carries, the Gators never seemed settled at the position.

Now, though, Gillislee has been the main reason Florida (5-0, 4-0 SEC) has been able to successfully transition from a perimeter running team to a power attack in Muschamp's second season.

''He's just a one-cut guy,'' Muschamp said. ''He's going to stick his foot in the ground and he's going to get north and south. ... He hits a crease. He may not hit the big one every time, but in our league it's hard to hit big ones. You're going to get run down. A 5-yard run is a great run, and that's what sometimes younger players don't understand. They want to hit the big run, and in our league that's difficult.''

Maybe the most telling stat for Gillislee is negative yardage. He has lost just nine yards in 103 carries. He didn't lose any ground in his 34 attempts against the Tigers.

''I don't know how they get all those guys, but they are super fast,'' Vanderbilt defensive tackle Rob Lohr said.

Gillislee joined former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and former Arkansas star Darren McFadden as the only recent players to run for 140 yards and two scores against LSU's vaunted defense. Newton and McFadden both ended up in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, with Newton winning in 2010 and McFadden finishing second in 2006 and 2007.

What about Gillislee possibly being in the Heisman hunt?

''We're in the fifth game of the year,'' Muschamp said. ''Next question.''

Gillislee probably would be even more reluctant to entertain thoughts about college football's premier award. After all, he rarely does interviews - he has spoken to the media twice since fall practice began - and barely talks to teammates and coaches.

''He's definitely a quiet guy,'' quarterback Jeff Driskel said. ''He keeps to himself. When he has something to say, it's important, so you're going to listen when he starts to talk. He doesn't like talking to the media, but he's a guy we kind of rally around him. He can be funny at times, but he kind of keeps to himself.''

Florida is fine with that, especially if Gillislee keep talking like has been on the field.

''Mike Gillislee is a great running back,'' center Jon Harrison said. ''He has a lot of heart, a lot of drive. ... He's going to give it his all, even if it's sacrificing his body. The best thing about him is he that he just kept working.

''He just kept working and giving it his all every day, day in, day out, practice, weight room, whatever it takes, and that's what we respect so much about him.''

Tagged: Florida, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Mike Gillislee, Cam Newton

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash