Meyer says Gators used spread out of necessity

By Adam Silverstein
March 16, 2011

With quarterback Tim Tebow graduating and a number of talented play makers leaving for the NFL, it was a known fact that the Florida Gators had to reinvent themselves going into the 2010 season. So it certainly came as a surprise to both fans and analysts when head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio did not adjust the offense to fit then-redshirt junior QB John Brantley‘s skillset.

During an interview Wednesday on ESPN, Meyer did something he never chose to do while still wearing the orange and blue: provide an explanation as to why the offense was not better tailored for Brantley to succeed from the get-go.

“We wanted to do some more pro-style stuff, but our fullback was hurt for the year, our tailback got hurt for the year and we didn’t have a tight end,” he said. “That just mounted and then we got to the point where we had to win. The best way to win was to do some of the stuff – some of the spread stuff.”

[EXPAND Click to expand the remainder of the post.]Florida was aware the tight end situation was a rough one going into the season with then-redshirt freshman Jordan Reed‘s transition to the position being delayed by a knee injury suffered during fall practice. The Gators had also not truly utilized a fullback since Meyer took over the program and certainly had reserve running backs behind then-junior Jeff Demps who were more apt for a pro-style set.

“It’s going to be all positive,” Meyer said of Brantley’s situation. “We tried to adapt. We had issues at other positions. Tim Tebow had all the success, but you look around him and he had a first-rounder here, a first-rounder there. Johnny we had an exodus of juniors that left for the NFL Draft a year ago – I think we had nine guys drafted.”

Nevertheless, Meyer believes those things are in place now and that Brantley has a great chance to succeed in the new system.

“It’s going to be a very good transition,” he said. “You have a tight end now in the program – Jordan Reed’s going to go to tight end. You have a fullback in Trey Burton. Those kids weren’t even playing those positions a year ago. I think it’s going to be very smooth. Charlie Weis’s record is very impressive with development of quarterbacks. It’s going to be all positive for him.”

He is also pleased with how the Gators as a whole have adapted to the new coaching staff put in place days after his resignation.

“I can’t imagine a transition going better. Very rarely in college football – or any sport – when a coach leaves a program that there’s a smooth transition,” Meyer said. “The guys get along, the guys are helpful and there’s communication. It couldn’t be better. I love Florida. I’m very impressed with Will Muschamp and his coaching staff. I know there’s a bunch of good, young players there. They’re going to keep on marching in Gainesville and have a great year.”

Photo Credit: ESPN[/EXPAND]

9 Comments

  1. GatorCooken says:

    Now that wasn’t so bad was it Coach? This simple explanation could have done wonders for settling us fans down last season.

    • Not sure he was really concerned with “settling fans down” as he was doing what was necessary to try and win football games. However, my first reaction was similar to yours in that I feel this is something that could have been said at some point during the season.

      • David says:

        When you are the HBC, you don’t openly insult your other TEs by claiming that you dont have a TE just bc the starter was hurt in the fall. You dont claim your other RBs cant do the job because Demps was hurt. I imagine it wouldnt go well with recruits to hear that if you arent the starter, the coach openly says things like that. The fans may have wanted him to say it then, but I undestand his reasoning for not saying it.

  2. Zooker says:

    Whatever Meyer, good try though, now that you’ve had time to think about it… The spread was all you knew, that’s all!

  3. Joe says:

    our fullback was hurt for the year, our tailback got hurt for the year and we didn’t have a tight end,

    Really, last year’s roster lists 4 tight ends (5 if you include Reed) 8 running backs (9 if you count Rainey) and 4 full backs. That’s alot of scholarships riding the pine. Maybe they just weren’t “invested” enough. Whatever.

  4. Tim says:

    hahaaha…some of you guys are a freaking joke. I bet you still call in radio shows and ask why Steve Spurrier didn’t throw to the tightend while coaching at Florida. Leaves little question in my mind why guys like Spurrier and Meyer decide to leave a program.

    ANYWAY…Time to move on fellas. Looking forward…not backwards. I know you think you are owed something but you were paid in full by the last coach…let’s get on board with the future.

  5. uselessopinoin says:

    Spurrier liked te,Ben Troupe

  6. armygator says:

    Tim, I don’t quite get your response. As a fan, people have a right to their opinion and to question things (even you). But, I don’t get your lashing out. Fans here are questioning why Meyer didn’t say anything before now about running the spread with Brantley, and more curiously and to the point, not adapting the offense to him. I personally don’t fully get Coach Meyer’s response about having injured players and not being able adjust.

    Coach Meyer said, according to the article, that he needed to go to the spread to win. How did we do there? Obviously not to what people have come to expect. It is easy to second-guess Coach Meyer, but we will never know what would have happened if he had used the other TEs, TBs and FBs and adapted to Brantley’s strengths. Based on the talent that we gator fans believe the team has, we should have been able to put the ‘next’ guy in and he should be able to perform.

    In my opinion, Coach Meyer was AWESOME. I do agree with you that we need to look forward and move ahead. I just didn’t understand the start of your comment.

  7. Raymond "Bear" Wolf, Jr. says:

    I believe the man’s record was 60-15 at UF, and he owes an explanation to nobody.

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