Running back Adam Lane is 5’11” and 222 pounds, but he’s been lost in the mix ever since he arrived at Florida. He was redshirted last year despite being a heavily recruited player, and he isn’t drawing much attention as the Gators head into spring practice.
The Florida Gators are a team full of question marks heading into spring ball, but running back isn’t a position the coaching staff should be concerned about. Even with Matt Jones’ future up in the air, the backfield is in good hands with Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown leading the way. Assuming freshman Brandon Powell lives up to the hype, Florida has a real three-headed monster on its hands.
But Lane is the most intriguing player out of the bunch given his skill set, and it shouldn’t be long before you take notice.
He’s built like a brick house and has more strength than a running back probably needs. In fact, he will probably be the strongest player on the field most Saturdays and likely has a future as a part-time superhero if this football stuff doesn’t work out.
Here’s him benching more than 400 pounds in high school:
In case you’re wondering, that’s not normal.
His combination of size and strength brings some toughness to the table, as the other Florida runners are on the smaller side and aren’t known for grinding out those tough yards. Taylor, Brown, Powell and even Valdez Showers want to get out in the open field and break off the big run. Lane may not be as explosive, but there’s certainly a place for him other than the bench.
Lane has been compared to Maurice Jones-Drew once or twice, as he’s built like a bowling ball with his short and stocky frame. He is all legs, and defenders aren’t going to be thrilled about trying to tackle him 10-plus times a game. The redshirt freshman will have no problem picking up yards after contact and moving the chains in short-yardage situations.
But let’s not act like Lane is just brute power and only a situational runner. The kid is a little more versatile than that.
Let’s check out some of his 2012 high school film:
I see tremendous quickness for a guy his size, and he's somebody who can kick it to the outside and make people miss a bit. Add that to his strength and toughness, and Florida has itself an extremely dangerous runner.
Now, he isn’t going to break off the long runs you see in the video. Players in the SEC are much faster than his high school competition. However, Lane is a real diamond in the rough with his skill set and should be able to carve out a niche in Kurt Roper’s system.
Roper is a coordinator who loves to play as many guys as possible depending on their skill sets. If they bring something different to the table, they’re going to see playing time. In his last season with Duke, four different running backs received at least 62 carries. To put those numbers in perspective, Florida’s fourth-leading running back in terms of carries was Showers, who had a dismal 12 touches.
Among other things, Florida lacked toughness offensively last season. Nobody could spark the offense with a bruising, tough run to show the opposition that it was going to be a long day. This is the SEC. Every team needs that physical back who can not only close out games but also remind defenders to buckle their chinstraps.
Although Roper is installing a flashy spread offense that should help bring excitement and points back to that side of the ball, there’s always a place for old-school runners.
The other running backs will continue to play their part, but Lane is simply too big to be ignored for much longer.
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