9/15: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

By Adam Silverstein
September 15, 2010

OGGOA had the opportunity to participate in Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday (we will be doing so every week). Below are some notes from the event:

» Meyer added to what offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said Tuesday regarding the status of redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, noting that is currently not a part of the team. “He’s not with the team,” Meyer said. “I think it’s just further evaluation as we go. The immediacy of it is: he’s not with the team.” As far as the minimum amount of time Rainey will be out of action? “I can’t do that. I don’t know,” he said.

» Rather than start redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose or freshman WR Robert Clark in Rainey’s slot position, Meyer said the Gators will instead go with sophomore WR Omarius Hines, who had been playing a hybrid WR/tight end position during the first two weeks of the season. Redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed will also be moving to Hines’ previously occupied hybrid role. “We haven’t had a lot of production in the first two games from [Rainey],” Meyer said. “The good news is that Omarius Hines is a very talented guy that we’re moving in. And also Jordan Reed will be going to Omarius’ spot so we got some guys who will still make plays.”

» Meyer also noted that sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon will return to the starting lineup after being held out of the first game with a knee injury and sparingly playing blocking TE against South Florida. With redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson back in his role last week, Florida’s offensive line is back to normal for the first time all season. More on that below.

QUOTES FROM MEYER (After the break…)

Opening statement: “I thought our second half was real encouraging last week against South Florida. … Xavier Nixon will be back in the starting lineup, and Carl Johnson. I think [junior running back] Jeff Demps is playing [at] a very high level, and our defense is getting a lot better. So [there are] a lot of young players starting to improve. Anxious to get going in the SEC.”

On if he’s spoken to Cameron Newton recently: “I just watched the one game on TV, I think it was Mississippi State. He’s a hell of a player.”

On getting the offensive line healthy: “Anyone that doesn’t start with their offensive line usually doesn’t have success. And our offensive line, going into the season, was our strength, and we just had a multitude of injuries during training camp. We’re still waiting for [redshirt sophomore LT] Matt Patchan to get back. As soon as he gets back, then you’re full force. … We live and die on offense by the offensive line.”

On Nixon: “We’ve only had two true freshman start here on the offensive line, and that was Maurkice [Pouncey] and X. That tells you the quality of player. That’s the one position that’s usually a two-to-three year development process. And I’ll tell you, that’s a special guy that can come in and there and play as a true freshman. He’s a high-level player that has a great attitude. His weight’s back up – he’s over 290-295. Extremely talented, had a really good day of practice day. We’re really excited to have him back.”

On expectations are too high for redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley: “We expect a lot out of John. I thought the first game was obviously inadequate. I thought the second game he managed very well – especially what we asked him to do. And I think the surrounding personnel – quarterbacks get a lot of the credit also they get a lot of blame when other issues are going on – I think we’ve improved out at receiver. Guys are getting a lot better and that showed last week against a pretty good team in South Florida. The first game was not good at all, but the second one I think he did a nice job.”

On the next step for Brantley: “Just what he’s doing. He’s gotta play a little better this week because we’re playing a better team, better personnel. This is going to be the first time he’s going to play quarterback in a situation where he’s going to really have to manage in a tough environment. That’s the next step and it’s here.”

On kids being ready to play as true freshmen: “Well, a lot of times they’re not ready. It’s just the hand you’re dealt. I think the biggest issue is when you start losing juniors to the draft – I think we lost five last year. That just puts guys in situations where they have to play. … When those kinds of things happen, that forces maybe players that aren’t ready to be ready as soon as possible. That’s the biggest difference. As far as the quality of player, we still get great quality players. It’s just the timing of, when you’re behind a guy that all of a sudden you’re counting on and he leaves for the draft, it forces a guy right into that position. … Skill players are a little more prepared because, I think in football, especially the ones who are playing football year-round in all these spring practices … It’s five years of high school because you have four years of spring practice and four years of high school football.”

On Rainey’s replacement: “Omarius Hines.”

On relying on Demps all year: “With the loss of [Tim] Tebow, we’re still going to be a team that runs the ball and we need the big play hits. I just think he’s a great player, and he’s a better kid who we just have to take care of because he does so much for us. You got him kick returning right now, I think he had over 200 yards offense last week. One of the issues we have with Jeff is he goes so hard in practice that we got to be really cautious with him in practice. We’re going to lean on him more and more because he’s that good of a player.”

On stopping the Tennessee run game: “We’re looking at some big personnel … We’re going to have some big people on the field because I think they’re real clear with what they want to do to you. They want to give the ball to that great back and pound it. They got a real big offensive line, so we have to be able to spend a lot of time on that this week in practice.”

QUOTES FROM TENNESSEE’s DEREK DOOLEY

On the Gators’ offense: “It came into its own in the second half [against South Florida] and looked no different than any other Florida team to me.”

On Florida’s defense: “What you see is a real confident group. You see a tremendously athletic and fast group. And you see a group in the secondary that, when the ball goes up in the air, they act like it’s their ball. And that’s what you want every defender to think. And so to do that, it’s just going to take precision with our execution. It’s going to take our receivers to run fast and crisp routes. And it’s going to be critical that our quarterback places the ball where he needs to place it. That’s all you can do – go out and execute.”

On relying on his running game: “I don’t think so, because we’re going to have to throw it to win football games. There’s no denying every game we’re going to try to go in and run the ball, but until we get the throwing game more effective we’re always going to struggle to win.”

On the extra importance of the UF game: “I don’t think it is. It’s another game and it’s an important game because it’s a SEC game. Certainly there’s a lot of rivalry attached to it, but they all count, and they all count the same. And every SEC game counts the same. So you have to pour your heart into it every week, and I don’t care who you’re playing. If you don’t play well you’re going to get whipped, and if you do play well you have a chance to win.”

On what stands out about Demps’ speed: “The obvious. He’s fast and he’s a playmaker, and if he has space, he’s going to hurt you. So we have to do a good job of reducing the space that he has, and we have to do a great job of wrapping up and gang tackling. If you don’t do those things, he’s going to have a breakout.”

6 Comments

  1. Gatorious says:

    Never thought I’d compliment a Vol coach but this Dooley is a good guy. Football smart and knows how to hold himself in an interview and say the right thing. I imagine with the right talent the Vols will be a force in the years to come. Hopefully this year the Gators prevail. Cant be playing like the bad news bears in Neyland. It wont work there. Go Gators.

  2. npgator says:

    With our offensive line intact we should be able to run the ball against most teams we play this year.

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    npgator, I agree. With a healthy O-line the Gators should be able to run well on anyone. Let alone the cr#ppy Vols.

  4. SC Gator says:

    Yeah, having the OL intact will help a lot.

    I’d not considered putting Hines in the slot but the more I think about it the more I like it. Should create some awesome mismatches.

  5. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Definitely.

  6. brlgator says:

    Its a little odd putting hines at slot reciever cause those are generally speed routes. Hines creates his own mismatches by his size whether he plays slot x y or h really does not itself create mismatches.

    it be a little weird seeing him get a wr screen. i d rather he be blocking

    speaking of which you can really tell how great nelson and cooper were at blocking cause this year the downfield blocking has been rather pedestrian

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