Photo: Gators running back Mike Gillislee doesn't talk much, but his legs often say a lot.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There has been a lot of talk this week about how the two featured running backs in tonight's Florida-Vanderbilt game -- Mike Gillislee and Zac Stacy -- don't talk a lot.
Florida's Gillislee leads the SEC in rushing and racked up 146 yards on a career-high 34 carries in last week's win over LSU. Stacy is Vanderbilt's leading rusher and is only 217 yards shy of eclipsing Frank Mordica’s career rushing total of 2,632 yards and become the Commodores' all-time leader.
Both could have a big say in tonight's game.
After his performance last week, Gillislee spoke softly to a large group of reporters wanting to know more about the senior from DeLand. He didn't offer much. He wasn't being aloof or coy, that's just Gillislee's way.
"He’s definitely a quiet guy,” Florida 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."
Meanwhile, Stacy (photo, left/Jae S. Lee, The Tennessean) has quietly put together a nice career. He is currently eighth in the SEC in rushing (82.6 yards per game), and like Gillislee, set a new career high for attempts last week when he rushed 29 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns in Vanderbilt's 19-15 win at Missouri.
A headline on ESPN.com this week on a story about Gillislee: A Man of Few Words.
A headline in the Nashville Tennessean on a story about Stacy Friday: Vandy's Soft-Spoken Stacy Turns Up Volume This Year.
“He is still kind of quiet, Steady Eddie, kind of a lunch-pail type of guy,'' Commodores coach James Franklin told the newspaper. "But he has been more verbal and I appreciate him trying to do that."
Gators coach Will Muschamp has a similar view of his quiet runner.
"I'll take Gilly over anybody. I tell him that all the time, and I mean that,'' Muschamp said. "I felt that way in spring and going into fall camp. He's a Will Muschamp guy.
"He never says anything. He just does his job. Lines up, runs the ball. If you ask him to block, he's going to block. If you ask him to catch it, he's going to catch it. He just is a really, really, really good football player."
Gillislee just doesn't talk a lot. Neither does Stacy. Still, by the end of tonight's game, both are likely to have a say in the outcome.