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Gators RB Malik Davis Is Gaining His Confidence Back, ‘I Feel Fine’

Healthy for a consecutive year, Gators running back Malik Davis is gaining his confidence back, just in time for potentially his last season at Florida.

The Florida Gators' offensive backfield will look a lot different this year, and not just at the quarterback position.

At running back, the team has acquired new talent, but will also be utilizing some talent of old, like newly re-energized RB Malik Davis, who is healthy and regaining his confidence.

"I had a few injuries, which I wasn’t allowed to play a lot of football," Davis remarked on Wednesday. "Now that I’ve had a few years under my belt back rolling, I think it’s just being more confident, getting those reps in that I missed.”

His health isn't the only thing that's improved this season, Davis said, his knowledge of the game as a whole has made him a more well-rounded player, and that's one of the keys to the RB position, especially at Florida. Now able to get real repetitions at the position, he's able to expand his wheelhouse.

“I think the main thing is just getting reps and knowing and being able to watch yourself and coach yourself," said Davis.

"You know, when you’re sitting out, you're injured, you're not able to critique yourself and say what you would have did here, what you would have done there because you don't have any reps to look at. So I think being able to just look at myself and coach myself is the biggest thing.”

The redshirt senior running back is certainly impressing his coaches, particularly running backs coach Greg Knox who's had an up-close-and-personal view of Davis' career thus far at Florida. The biggest strides Knox has seen Davis make have been mental, able to come back mentally stronger from his past injuries, adding to his confidence.

"So he's been very, very confident in his ability again," Knox said on Wednesday. "I think it's kind of what you've seen his freshman year when he was here and he played and he was very explosive. I think he's getting back to that and I think he's back there now. He's having a great camp so far.

"He's doing well and we're seeing that explosiveness that he showed when he was a freshman. So I think it starts with his confidence, all right? So he's back from that injury, he's feeling very confident about his body and his ability to make plays."

Davis spent the first two years of his career injured with ankle and knee injuries. In 2019, he would return but was almost a shell of himself before ramping up the production in 2020, accounting for 310 rushing yards and 377 receiving yards on 31 receptions.

While it's not his only quality, Knox did say Davis' ability to catch passes from nearly anywhere on the gridiron is important to the team's offense.

"It's very important, because, again, in your offense you can scheme up things for him as we did with [La'Mical] Perine to get one-on-one matchups with 'backers where, again, it makes a difficult matchup for the defense."

Florida will depend on players like Davis to make an impact this season in the running and passing game, and it appears that help will come sooner rather than later as Davis is healthy, confident and ready to roll.