After he was listed at the top of the team's depth chart at running back it was presumed that C.J. Spiller would be the starter at running back for the Bills in their home opener against Miami this Sunday. Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed it early Wednesday afternoon.
"The reason he's starting is because he has gotten more reps than anybody else at tailback in preseason and he's done a good job," said Gailey. "If he hadn't done a good job then we might have to re-think it, but he's done a good job and he's earned the spot. We're looking forward to him being out there."
"He picked up the offense very quickly and he's one of those guys that has his eyes open and he's making eye contact with you in the huddle and he comes to work every day and he plays hard and runs hard and you want teammates like that," said Trent Edwards. "You want running backs like that in your backfield and that's probably why C.J.'s in the situation he is and he's a great football player for us."
For Spiller, who found out he was starting after his family called him telling him he was atop the depth chart on Buffalobills.com, it caught him off guard.
"You never know what's going to happen," said Spiller. "That's why you have to go out and prepare yourself. To get the nod it just goes to show that I put in a lot of hard work, but there are two other guys that are great. Everybody is capable of being a starter. I just went through preseason trying to get into a good groove and get accustomed to the game and to how the offensive line blocks and that was the coach's decision. I just went out there and played."
And Gailey backed up Spiller's comment indicating that the rushing workload won't be all Spiller all the time.
"The great thing is at tailback we've got three starters," he said. "Some people have trouble finding one and we have three. They make us rank them. They make us put them one, two, three down there, but it's kind of like asking a parent to rank their children and which one is the most favorite. They're all going to play, they're all starters, they're all going to be valuable members of our football team as the year goes on as I foresee it."
Spiller, however, will be the focal point from the beginning after a preseason which included a league-leading three rushing touchdowns in just three games. That's why he's anticipating seeing some extra attention from opposing defenses.
"That was just preseason, but now everybody kind of knows what I'm capable of doing and of course the bulls-eye will probably get bigger and I've got to be prepared," said Spiller. "Good thing is I have a great supporting cast. So if teams are going to try to come in and stop the run we've got great receivers that can make plays. As long as we have more points than the other team at the end of the game, that's all that matters."
The dynamic back realizes that the speed of play will increase in the regular season and he has done what he can to prepare for that. In the end however, he believes his own speed will enable him to adjust and succeed.
"Every time it's going to go up a notch," he said. "Through the preseason it got faster from what it was in OTAs and minicamp. Of course in the season it's going to pick up and the guys have been telling me that. That's what I've been waiting for and of course I'll have to adjust to it. First couple of snaps I'll get accustomed to it and I'll be ready to go. That just comes from preparation. I don't really let the speed of the game lower my confidence. If I feel prepared enough to go out there and give my team a chance to win the game, I think everything else will take care of itself."