9/20: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

By Adam Silverstein
September 20, 2010

Head coach Urban Meyer meets with the media each Monday after the Florida Gators participate in a game the previous Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

WILSON TO MISS MORE TIME

Redshirt junior guard James Wilson, injured on Sept. 4 against Miami (OH), recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Wilson’s injury comes at a time when Florida’s offensive line is as solid as its been all year with sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon back in the starting lineup for the first time on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (wrist) remains out of action but is close to returning, perhaps as early as Oct. 2 against Alabama.

Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks told the media Monday that, contrary to the belief that it was dislocated, he has actually been playing with a heeling broken thumb over the last three weeks. He will continue to get major time on the field and should continue to impact the game as he has been thus far.

Though redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson went down at the end of the game Saturday, he will be fine. However, redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody‘s bruised thigh will continue to be monitored throughout the week.

WEEK THREE CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that nine Gators graded out as Champions after the Tennessee Volunteers game. Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore and senior defensive end Duke Lemmens were singled out as Players of the Week.

Offensively, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey and redshirt seniors right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard Maurice Hurt were all honored. Four players on defense – senior DE Justin Trattou and LBs senior Hicks, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins – shined throughout the game. Jenkins was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his career-high six tackles and first career sack.

BRANTLEY TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISCUE

As OGGOA noted in both our game story and tweets during Saturday’s contest, Pouncey’s bad snap early in the first quarter appeared to have occurred due to Brantley rushing to get a snap off when he realized the play clock was ticking down. The signal caller said the same thing Monday, taking the blame for the poor snap. Though not on him specifically for that mistake, Meyer noted that Brantley must progress and get better.

“I think he’s got to get better,” he said. “There’s one way we evaluate quarterbacks here. He’s 3-0 as a starter at Florida, so that’s pretty good, going on the road and winning a game. To say we’re thrilled with where we’re at offensively, and he’s the focal point of the offense, that would be a false statement. To say that he’s handled himself very well, to say he’s managing the team, to say that he does throw a very nice pass and hit five third-and-longs against Tennessee – those are all very good. We just need to improve. We’re pleased with where we’re at, we just need to keep improving.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

On the secondary’s gaffes: “On defense the only concern was, and it’s a major concern, when you turn guys loose in coverage. And that all can be corrected.”

On if he is encouraged by the offense’s improvement: “Not enough. I wish I could stand up here and say I have seen… I’ve seen us win some games, I’ve seen us do some good things, but I have not seen enough to say we’re right on that edge. Hopefully after Wednesday’s practice I’ll say that. The thing I have seen is some receivers step up and make some plays. I’ve seen Johnny Brantley go into 100,000 people and control the game, and I was very concerned about that. Because we’ve seen enough new starters come in [to The Swamp] and look like new starters. I don’t think we looked great, but [with] Johnny at least we managed the game and did what we had to do to win it.”

On some of the young players who have improved: “There’s a bunch of them. Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins are two off the top of my head. Those are two freshmen linebackers who played at a very high level in this game against that very good runner (Taurean Poole). Ron[ald] Powell is starting to make some tremendous strides, he got his first sack. Cody Riggs is a guy on special teams – he’s the one that downed the ball [on the one]. It was absolutely perfect – textbook – the way he went and closed in. Obviously the punt was hit perfect as well, but that’s no easy task and he’s getting better. A guy named Kitchens, you’re going to start hearing from him more often, he bought in. He’s doing very well.”

On redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown’s performance: “I think Jeremy Brown’s getting a little better. I know he gave up one, but he’s also playing… He had two where he stepped right in front of the receiver because he read the drop of the quarterback. And that’s starting to show a little experience.”

On going “big” on defense with Lemmens standing up: “Number one, you want Duke Lemmens on the field. He’s high-energy, he brings a passion that every coach wants on the offense or the defense – around the team. He’s a captain. Is he big enough to sit in there and play five-technique against a team like Tennessee or the I-formation teams that we’re going to face? The answer is no. So how do you get him on the field? […] We started working on that in spring, and it was great to use that. We’re going to need that down the road as well.”

On the wide receivers stepping up: “Not near Florida standards, but they’re improving. They’re first-time starters and they are improving. I think [sophomore] Omarius Hines made a couple, obviously the one big play. Carl Moore going up and taking that ball away. Deonte [Thompson] didn’t get much pub, and we didn’t really recognize him … but he went up and made a play. […] I expect them to keep improving.”

On the pass protection: “We’re being cautious of that right now. We’re not doing a lot of the five-man protection, we’re mostly into six-man. You see the tailback in there quite a bit more than when Tim [Tebow] was here. We need to start getting into the five-man. Our efficiency isn’t really high in passing right now. […] That’s because we got a new quarterback [who has to] settle down. […] You’re going to see a little more five-man protection.”

On Brantley running the option: “He’s going to do what we ask him to do, and he executed that very well. I think it was a seven- or eight-yard gain that gives you a 2nd and 2. That’s kind of our bread and butter.”

On the blocking on the fake punt: “The point of attack was Jon Bostic. [Redshirt senior defensive tackle] Terron Sanders did a fantastic job. [Redshirt sophomore DT] Omar Hunter – if Omarius would have followed him, we would have scored. The backside we had [junior safety] Will Hill, [senior S] Ahmad Black and [freshman LB] Neiron Ball – and they did a fantastic job.”

On the efforts of the special teams: “Our field position, right now in that game, is why we won the game. […] The value of being a left tackle on kickoff return is as valuable as carrying the ball. […] To see [freshman CB] Cody Riggs put as much time and effort as he does every Wednesday [when pooch punt drills are done] that changed the game. When you keep them pinned down in there, it’s demoralizing and it gives you great field position. Our coverage units are playing at a very high level right now. And they weren’t in the first game.”

On junior running back Jeff Demps’ 26 carries and 30 touches: “We’re a little concerned about that. Not because Jeff can’t handle it, just because if you ride one horse too long eventually that horse might go down.”

On not scoring in the first quarter or having a drive of over 50 yards in the first half: “That’s awful. You’ll lose this game if you don’t do that this week. We’re facing the best offense we’ve faced so far in the 2010 season.”

On Saturday being his 100th win: “I feel very blessed. [I’ve had] a bunch of great players and great assistant coaches. One hundred wins just means you’ve been doing it long enough. I haven’t really thought about it but no, I did not think in that hotel in Columbia, MO, when I told my wife, ‘We’re going to get our brains kicked in tomorrow,’ that we’d be 10 years later, 100 wins or something like that.”

18 Comments

  1. Daniel M. says:

    Andre Debose….MIA

  2. David says:

    How is Maurice Hurt a champion? Two times the DT he was “blocking” got his hands up and knocked down Brantley’s passes. Also, didn’t he have a big penalty?

  3. g8ter27 says:

    yes where is Andre. And thanks Brantley for taking the heat but when the ball is rolled back to you…it isn’t all your fault, rush or not.

  4. Marky Mark says:

    I’m sorry, but a bad snap is no ones fault, but the center’s. I have no idea why Brantley is taking the heat for it.

    I don’t think there is a QB in the country who hasn’t had to rush to get a play off at some point. The centers never have a problem. Why does Pouncey act like he doesn’t have a problem? He should be the one admiting fault.

  5. Gatorbuc15 says:

    I agree. Where is Andre!

  6. John S says:

    I’m starting to really feel good about the win. Looking at the stats overall we did really well, especially on 3rd downs. Tennessee maybe rebuilding, but so are we (watching the replay there are a lot of young guys playing) and we won convincingly in their house. We have a lot of upside.

    Sure our starts suck, but I’d rather finish strong than start great and fall apart, especially away from home (aka the 2007 team, Zook years). If we’re down going into the 4th quarter this team can still win.

  7. Pouncey obviously has a mental and/or physical process he is going through to get the snap right. When he was rushed the way Brantley rushed him on that play, any number of things could have happened. Additionally, whether or not it is Pouncey’s fault, Brantley is being a good leader and a good QB to put it on himself. Pouncey played solid the rest of the game.

  8. Evan says:

    Andre Debose, where art thou?

  9. Luke says:

    I already forgot about Debose… I was hoping Mack Brown would see the field instead of Moody. His slippery fingers remind me too much of Kestahn… I cringe every time he gets a carry. I feel bad that I don’t root for him, but I hope he gets a good degree and gets benched in favor of our other backs to rotate with Demps and Gillislee.

  10. dp says:

    Adam? Debose?

  11. ConnGator says:

    Luke, I am with you. I tried to pull for Moody but I finally gave up this year. Give his carries to Gillislee, and maybe Brown if he is ready.

  12. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I think last week Urban metioned Debose being more outside than inside which I read that he is not even close to being the difference maker Percy was….maybe he’s still not 100% but you would think with Rainey out it would have opened up more Percy type plays for Debose but apparently he’s not the playmaker most of us were hoping for!!!

  13. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    One thing that should really help us is that Bama faces a tough test this week at Arkansas…..Mallet (same style as Brantley) hopefully will find some weaknesses in Bama’s young defense that we can learn from!!!

    I also can’t wait to see Miami on Thursday night at Pitt….if they lose that game it will be total meltdown in Coral Gables!!!

  14. Timmy T says:

    My guess is Debose just isn’t up to par yet with blocking schemes and effort. As far as Brantley taking the blame for the one bad snap, that’s what a leader should do, and he’s trying hard to be more of a leader. I say, good for him.
    Demps can’t be running the rock 26 times. About 10-12 of those carries should go to Mike Gillislee, IMO. That kid runs downhill and busts the hole hard. My last coaching suggestion, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing Burton in on 3rd and short the way Tebow was used in his freshman year. All that said, we are 3-0 and improving a bit each week. This team is full of young pups trying their hardest to win football games and get better. Sit back and enjoy watching our boys grow up right before your eyes, because this team will eventually be fantastic.

  15. tank says:

    Demps and Gillislee should be splitting carries. IMHO

  16. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I will agree there is much to be excited about with the youth of this team….our front seven on D has been awesome and I think this could be the best D-line we have had in a while…..and on offense we have weapons all over the field…we just need to gel on that side.

  17. RE: Andre Debose

    Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with updates of players not provided by the coaching staff. However, what I can tell you from a person I spoke to close to the team, is that the reason Debose is not seeing the field as soon as Percy Harvin did (for example) is because of his blocking on run plays and the lack of crispness of his routes.

    It seems like the coaching staff is being extra careful with Brantley, wanting to get as many dependable receivers on the field as possible for him to limit mistakes. Hines, Hammond and Clark have proven that they can block, are running good routes and have sure hands. They may not feel as comfortable with Debose yet.

    That’s not to say things can’t change. Something could click today and he could catch five balls against Kentucky. But watching the way this coaching staff has developed receivers over the years, I would feel comfortable from a fan’s perspective trusting them to determine when he is – and is not – ready to play.

    That is all.

  18. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Thanks for the insight Adam….I know one of the few times he was on the field was against USF when they left him one on one with no safety help…I thought Brantely missed the throw as Debose had the entire middle of the field open and Debose had the corner beat by at least 2-3 steps…maybe with time him and Brantley get used to each other but with no safety at all to me you have to give your WR a shot maybe Debose saw that and changed the route and Brantley wasn’t expecting that

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