http://www.gatorsports.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200604 16/GATORS01/204160348 Latsko emerges as leader at tailback Billy Latsko is not fast, not flashy and he's definitely not the elusive type. But that's OK. Florida doesn't need any more of that at the tailback position. The Gators have plenty of flash and dash in their backfield. What UF desperately needs at tailback is exactly what Latsko brings: toughness, a non-stop work ethic and leadership. These are the qualities that have been sorely missing at the position. That all started changing (and has continued to change) when the coaches recently moved the former Buchholz standout from fullback to tailback. Running backs coach Stan Drayton said Latsko has made an immediate impact and is setting an example for the other tailbacks, all of whom entered the spring with a reputation for underachieving. "No question," Drayton said. "Billy Latsko is the no-brainer of the group. He's the leader. He's the guy if you're on the field he's working his butt off and if you're off the field he's working his butt off. "He's the leader of that group by example, and now he's taking it to the next level. He's starting to be the vocal leader. It's huge for our position." Latsko opened Saturday's scrimmage with the No. 1 offense and he was the first player called on, taking a handoff from quarterback Chris Leak and banging out a tough four yards. Latsko had only one more carry for seven yards, but with him, it's not about carries and yards. It's about him showing the path to the other tailbacks - senior DeShawn Wynn and sophomore Markus Manson. Both seem to be responding."If (what Billy brings to the position doesn't rub off on the other guys), then it's their choice. But it already has," UF coach Urban Meyer said. "It's a different group than it was last year. Last year it was bordering on non-functional. They're a functional group right now and that's because of Billy. That will solidify that group. "Billy has answered our questions. He's a nice little complement right now." Latsko's tough running style seems to have influenced Wynn, whose lack of toughness has been an issue in the past. In recent practices and scrimmages, he's run hard inside and has been difficult to get on the ground. "DeShawn has made some progress," Drayton said. "He's trying to be tougher. You hear people on this team saying, hey, they want him in the ball game right now. To me that's the ultimate compliment. "It's not about what the coaches say, it's how your teammates feel about you. There are times they feel more comfortable with him in the game. He has a ways to go; he realizes that. That's half the battle. You have to come to work every day and give it up from start to finish." A lack of toughness has also been a hurdle Manson must clear to be the kind of tailback the coaches think he can be. He had some big runs and nice moves in the open field in Saturday's scrimmage, but his overall performance was lacking, Drayton and Meyer said. "It's not just about getting into the open field and thinking the problems have been solved," Drayton said. "It's about being an every-down player. What are you doing in pass protection? What are you doing when you get tired? What is your demeanor in the huddle? How fast are you getting off the ground after you're tackled? "All those things come into play. That demeanor is not quite there yet. It's a process and we're going to demand that out of our guys." Meyer said Manson has the speed and ability to be a big-time back, but right now he goes down too easily. "We expect him to do better than he's playing right now," Meyer said. "We think he's very talented. Maybe there is only one Reggie Bush (the Heisman winner from Southern Cal), but I'd like to have one. That's what we all want. "The amazing thing is, Markus Manson has some talent, but he goes down awful easy. I think that's just confidence and he's still young." The one guy who never seems to go down easy is Latsko. He's breaking tackles, staying on his feet and trying to show the way for the other tailbacks. Latsko said he's enjoying his new role, but probably will move back to fullback in the fall. By then, maybe the other tailbacks will be good to go. "I'm loving it man, getting the ball and running the rock," he said. "It's going real well for me right now. There is a lot of transition. "I don't think (I'll be staying at tailback). I think the point is to see what I can do with the ball. Maybe we'll open our offense a little bit more with the fullback. Maybe I'll get the ball a couple of times a game." With Latsko, it's never been about carries and yards. It's about the other qualities he brings. Scrimmage stuff Even though the defense slightly got the better of the offense Saturday, there were some offensive highlights. Senior wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius had an excellent scrimmage, catching five passes for 53 yards and running nine yards for a touchdown on a reverse in the regular phase. Quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow also played well, Meyer said. Leak completed six of eight passes for 58 yards, while Tebow was six of 13 for 67 yards. ... The defensive standouts were linebacker Brandon Siler, with two huge hits during the goal line phase, and ends Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey. Young D-linemen emerge Harvey and redshirt freshman Darryl Gresham were involved in a lot of plays Saturday, with Harvey recording two sacks. "I thought our kids stepped up a little bit," co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Greg Mattison said. "We're developing some kids. That's what the spring is all about. You want to find out who can play and who can't. We're finding some kids. "Harvey is a year older and he knows we need him. We told him we need to find out if he can play. He's really tried to show that and he's done a good job. Gresham has improved. He's really starting to come." Happy head coach The Gators made their head coach a happy man Saturday. "I'm going into the locker room feeling really good about what I saw today," Meyer said. "That's a bunch of guys who like being out here and care about each other. That's real important right now. "It was a great, great workday today. I think it was one of our better scrimmages since I've been here. I wanted to see a bunch of clear eyes and clean souls and come in here and practice as hard as they can. That's what happened. I really enjoyed watching today." Another selfless player who embodies the qualities that should get more than a pat on the back from the media. Here is just another example of what the white man has to put up with in the segregated south. Hopefully the tide is beginning to turn with many whites getting a small opportunity to showcase their running skills in the SEC. Even having never been given a chance to run with the ball, Latsko has performed admirably this spring for the mighty gators. He has shown the coaching staff he has the ability but it seems that they are hoping that he only motivates the other real playas how its done just in time for the regular season. Its like thats white boy, now go back to your bulldozing and token handoff or reception each game. Gee thanks Boss!