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September 30, 2010The 2009 SEC championship game was not a particularly memorable game for Emmanuel Moody. The box score shows his only contribution in Florida's 32-13 loss to Alabama was one reception that failed to go for positive yards.
The lack of significant touches can be attributed to an injured ankle, a situation all too familiar for Moody.
However, for this meeting, he will be ready.
"This is probably the healthiest I've been all season," Moody said.
The redshirt-senior's health is a hot topic thanks to questions surrounding the status of starter Jeff Demps. Demps was in a protective boot at the beginning of this week and it remains unclear how effective he can be on Saturday.
Alabama's issues in the secondary have many speculating about the Gators passing scheme, but the running game will almost always be the focal point of a Steve Addazio offense - even without its star burner.
"If (Demps) is not there, then we'll have to carry the load," Moody said of himself and fellow running back Mike Gillislee.
Moody may not have the highlight reel of Demps, but statistically the Gators should be comfortable with the ball in his hands.
He came into 2010 averaging 6.9 yards per carry - not a steep drop off from Demps average of 7.6.
Like many on the team, Moody got off to a slow start this season, but against Kentucky he looked to be back to his old self. After several runs of 9 yards this season, Moody finally got a double-digit carry when he broke one for 19 yards on Saturday.
"It felt good to break off some long runs, finally," Moody said. "I've just been waiting for the opportunity. I went for the crease and just took it."
Opportunities may be at a luxury Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide's defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2007.
When running backs like Moody see Kirby Smart and Nick Saban's schemes on tape, it's easy for them to see why the streak stands at 38 games.
"They look just as good," Moody said comparing the 2010 defense to the last season's lineup. "It says a lot of the coaching staff out there."
Moody knows that even though the offense has passed two SEC tests, this weekend presents a new challenge.
"This is probably the most disciplined (defense this season)," Moody said. "They're big physically too, it's probably the biggest team we've faced so far."
The Gators' biggest tailback is ready to carry the load. If he can manage to break tackles while doing so, he could be primed for his SEC breakout game.