8/30: Weis speaks for first time since March

By Adam Silverstein
August 30, 2011

With the Florida Gators now in final preparations for the first game of the 2011 season (Sept. 3 vs. Florida Atlantic), offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday for the first time since March to discuss his unit going into the opening game.

Rather than dissect Weis’s comments and put them in perspective as per usual, OGGOA has decided to print them in full in order for you to get a better handle on Florida’s offensive coordinator’s true thoughts about each topic.

COACHING FROM SIDELINE GOOD FOR NOW

Weis explains that, while coaching on the sideline or from the box upstairs both have their advantages, this season it is imperative that he stay on the field to help the Gators.

“I coached on the sideline ever since the day that [Drew] Bledsoe went down with a hit from Mo Lewis and Tommy [Brady] took over as the quarterback. We felt at the time with the Pats that there was a leadership void with a drop off from Drew to Tommy when we went in there. And then we won a bunch of championships and Bill wasn’t going to change it at that point.

“I’ve been upstairs and I’ve been downstairs. There are pros and cons with both of them. Upstairs you can see the field so much better and you’re away from all the distractions. Downstairs you get to finger for the pulse of the players and you know what has to be said. Sometimes they get the far away eyes where you have to go ahead and snap them back to reality. You can’t see that from upstairs. You have to count on your assistant coaches to give you that feedback. There’s pros and cons with both, but I think this year with a new system, Will and I talked about it, with a new system I think that this is the best way to go. I don’t know if we’ll keep it like this forever, but for now it makes the most sense.”

BRANTLEY DEVELOPING AS EXPECTED

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley has been rejuvenated in Weis’s pro-style offense, and the offense’s idea man explains that perception is not always reality.

“John Brantley had a really productive spring. A lot of times, the one showing that you guys get is the spring game, you know it’s a fire drill. Actually he had made a lot progress the whole spring. Where he is right now doesn’t surprise any of us. He’s continued to progress. It’s not in any way derogatory towards the system that he came from; it’s just a different system. Fortunately for him, this system fits his physical qualities better than the last one.”

Weis also said that what happened with Brantley before does not matter at all, especially considering how well he is doing now.

“When I started looking into the job, you do your due diligence, especially when this is a quarterback-friendly offense, you want to know who the candidates are and what the story is. My big thing is short-term memory. I think with quarterbacks, any quarterbacks who keep things with them never can be any good. You can’t worry about the last play; you got to worry about the next play.

“I’m not saying anything about what they did last year. […] I really don’t know what they did. I don’t know the spread. I’d be lying to sit there and act like I knew… I know that he’s not going to run the read option. I know that he’s not going to do that.

“A quarterback like John is better suited to be in a pure drop-back passing game that centers around runs and play actions. He has the mental capabilities to do all the things that I like to do. The more he shows me mentally, the more freedom I can give him when it comes to getting out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage.”

Check out what else Weis had to say about the offense including his thoughts on the offensive line and playmakers as well as the unit’s foundation and progress up to this point…after the break!

IDENTIFYING OFFENSIVE LINEMEN THE KEY

When it comes to the offensive line, Weis is pleased that, though the players are young and somewhat inexperienced, the coaching staff has at least been able to identify who fits in where and can move forward with developing the players at their positions.

“The best thing about it is that we know who the candidates are […] The best thing that happened there is Chaz [Green] played both tackles, so it gave you a good three-for-two [at the position]. Especially in this league, if you can’t block on the edge, you’re going to have a lot of long days and long nights.”

He also spoke briefly about redshirt senior transfer Dan Wenger joining the team after leaving Notre Dame.

“Danny coming on board really helped us. It helped us, it helped John. It helped not only the interior line but the whole line put together.”

DEMPS-RAINEY COMBINATION COULD BE SPECIAL

Slightly unprompted, Weis took it upon himself to rave about what running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey are bringing to the team. Part of the reason he is so enthralled with the combination is that they are so similar and can be swapped in-and-out with relative ease.

“I’m a big fan of Demps and Rainey, by the way. I’m not used to having two guys that are that fast and that quick. It’s a very unusual quality. The best part about it, for me, is the fact that they’re very close to being the same guy. That allows you to not have to throw in eight different things for each guy. One guy gets tired, the other guy’s in. That’s why we listed them as co-starters. They’ll both be out there a whole bunch. They’ll both be tired after games.

“Most of my career I haven’t had the same guy. It’s really nice going into a game when you’re game planning to say, ‘OK we got this Rainey-Demps combination.’ Usually the question is, ‘What happens if something happens to this guy? Then what are we going to do?’ Well we don’t have that issue at this point. [Knocks on desk] As long as we don’t have that issue, it allows you a little more flexibility to not worry about the standard coaches problem, the ‘what if’s,’ because you have a contingency plan without any drop-off in performance or athleticism.”

Then he was asked if he’s ever had players with their type of speed before. “Not close. I’m talking period,” he said. “Not college level. Period. I’ve never seen anything like this. I don’t know if they can play dead, but I know one thing, they can run.”

DUNBAR, REED, BURTON EXCELLING

Weis told stories about redshirt freshman wide receiver Quinton Dunbar, redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed and sophomore running back Trey Burton, explaining why each is doing so well going into the season.”

Dunbar: “It’s really important the way Coach [Will] Muschamp handled this. When we came in here, the players were told they would objectively be given a chance to compete at every position. When we started off the spring, Quinton Dunbar was so far down the depth chart that he was probably underneath this table, you couldn’t even find him. By the end of the spring, he was a starting wide receiver.

“Without slighting Denote [Thompson] or Frankie [Hammond, Jr. ] or Andre [Debose] or anyone else who is involved in the mix right here, the fact that a kid who was way down on the depth chart worked his way up just showed the players that you produce, we’re going to put you out there. The players just want to be treated honestly, and I think that Coach Muschamp has done a really nice job of letting his players know that is the conviction he is going to stand by.”

Reed: “Jordan has very, very, very good ball skills. He’s transitioned very nicely. When I came here, I sat down with these guys to see where they saw themselves. I was waiting for him to say, ‘You know, I see myself as the starting quarterback.’ And he says, ‘I see myself as the starting tight end.’ I said, ‘Let’s go, buddy. OK, you’re a tight end now. Next! Bring in the next kid.’ He’s really done a nice job. I don’t think it’ll be hard to find him on the field. I think you’ll be able to find him pretty easily.”

Burton: “The most [important] thing that Trey would like is not to be stereotyped as somebody who is not good at anything and is just OK at everything. What Trey gives me…I’m a formation/personnel guy as far as attacks go. Trey gives me a lot of versatility within one personnel group. Sometimes people don’t understand the magnitude of what that means. He lets you do a lot of things.”

SETTING A FOUNDATION FOR THE SEASON

It is well-known that, historically, Weis has a very complicated offense with a lot of ins-and-outs for players to learn. What he has tried to do so far with Florida is simplify things and make sure he puts his student-athletes in the position to make plays and succeed. It all starts with laying a foundation in the offseason and building on top of that as the year goes on.

“When you go in – and this is not the first time I’ve gone in [new] now – there’s a definite plan when you go in and how to implement it. Where some people are worried about the finer points of the offense, I was more concerned with getting the foundation of the offense. Because once you establish the foundation – especially when you get into a 20-hour work week which you get into when school starts – what you have to do in spring ball and training camp is you have to have an established foundation that allows you to have a whole arsenal of things that you can do on game day without exceeding the limited amount of time you get to meet with them on a regular basis.”

LIMITING MISTAKES AND EVALUATING PROGRESS

It would be ideal for Weis and the coaching staff to fully evaluate the team in the offseason; however, that simply cannot be done because, as Weis puts it, what happens on game day is what counts in the long run.

Concerns heading into the season: “Well, we haven’t played yet. Anytime you’re putting in a new system, you really want to go and try to play as clean as you can in the first game. Everyone goes out there. There’s no preseason games here in college. This is ‘Kick it off and let’s go.’ And it counts. You want to minimize your mental mistakes, you want to minimize your line of scrimmage penalties, you want to take care of the football, and obviously you want to move the ball and score touchdowns.”

Progress of the offense: “We’ll have a better answer for that about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. I think practice is practice and games are games. I’ve been satisfied that they have a very, very good work ethic here. I don’t know if that was here before I got here, but they work hard. These players work hard and it’s important to them. There’s been plenty of progress, but you’re judged by what happens on Saturday night. You’re not judged by what happens in practice. That is the end result. That is the bottom line here. I’ll have a better feel, and each week they get to take another test on Saturday. The only problem with it is that it’s an open book test – everyone gets to see it. You’ll know how they did, you’ll be there watching.”

COACHING PLAYERS NOT RECRUITED FOR HIS SYSTEM

Laughing at the notion, Weis said, “I recruited plenty of them. They just said, ‘No.’”

15 Comments

  1. sjkoepp says:

    I think I’m going to explode from all this pent-up excitement. Gator football is so close!! Thanks for all the updates btw Adam. We all wouldn’t know how to get through these dry spells without them.

    • chigator says:

      What are the chances that Coach Boom’s head explodes before kickoff when they play “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC?

  2. SaraGator says:

    I have to admit that I was never a Weiss fan only because he coached teams I didn’t care for ala Notre Dame and Patriots.

    Lately though, I seem to be warming up to him and now after reading this article I’m excited to see him on the sidelines.

    Can’t wait til this Saturday! I have great seats. Go Gators!

    • GatorCooken says:

      ^^^ Agreed, never a big fan, but now that he’s in our corner, let’s go Weiss! He sounds, IMO, a little more prepared for the position of OC than our former buddy.

  3. cline says:

    I love this type of ball. Run first and often to open up the passing game. GO GATORS!

  4. John S says:

    What a crazy transition, Steve “The Secret” Addazio to Charlie “Smarta$$” Weis. I’m definitely warming up to him. I also like the fact that he seems to enjoy the job, it would be nice to keep this staff for a while.

    • SC Gator says:

      I think that last part is key. From what we have seen and heard from him so far he really does seem to be enjoying himself.

  5. npgator says:

    Adam – first of all GREAT JOB! I for one think that Weis is a huge get for the Gators as not only does he bring offensive genius but also he brings a swagger that I think that our offense was sorely missing.

  6. 1955gator says:

    Not to rip Addazio, that’s already been done, but there’s more in this article than Addazio will ever even think about offense.

    • David says:

      I dont think you can be a great OL coach and a great OC. Addazio was a great OL Coach. Look at the guys in the NFL now. Both Pounceys, Gilbert, etc … I think he just couldnt handle both jobs at once. Also, you dont know if Meyer loved the dive play or if Addazio did.

      • scooterp says:

        Agreed. I really hope that Daz finds success at Temple and its unfair to overlook the good things that he did here……… but my god, was last year painful.

        More and more each week, I’m becoming optimistic about this season. I hope I’m not drinking the kool-aid too early, but I think the media is grossly underestimating this team. They have just as much speed and just as many athletes as the Urb years. It also should be noted that our OL has always had question marks, even during the championship years. We were overlooked both years we won and under performed the years we were favorites. In 2006 we were not considered a top 10 team and no one thought we would sniff a BCS title. In 2008 we were pegged to finish 2nd in the east behind Georgia. And in 07 & 09 we were suppose to be title contenders. I, personally, like where we’re at and think it is to our advantage that such a young team doesn’t have heavy expectations. I think this team will have a chip on its shoulder and suprise alot of teams. I’m calling it right now – 10-2 and representing the East in Atlanta, where we upset in a re-match with either Bama or LSU.

        • David says:

          I just think our schedule is really tough. Bama and LSU back-to-back. Neither FSU nor South Carolina were really good in ’06 or ’08. I think we will play much much much better, but I’m just not sure we will win 10 games. I’m very worried about our DBs. I think that is the unit I’m most concerned with at this point.

      • SaraGator says:

        Agreed. As much as I love Coach Meyer and appreciate what he did for us, I think he has to take the blame for Coach A.

        Addazio did his best. He stepped up to the plate and filled in as best as he could. It was just too much for him. I still wish him the best and am grateful for what he did for us.

      • CeeThree says:

        Oregon runs the dive play over and over, it’s a staple of that offense.

  7. CeeThree says:

    LOVED when he said “I tell my buddies from the other level all the time, you’ve never seen anything like this”

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