9/30: Florida Gators week five practice notes

By Adam Silverstein
September 30, 2010

No. 7/7 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s fifth game Saturday against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni also spoke on Wednesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

DEBOSE CONTINUES TO GROW

As Meyer alluded to last week at this time, redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose saw his first legitimate action last Saturday against Kentucky, catching four passes in the first quarter for 36 yards. Azzanni explained on Wednesday that Debose’s limited time on the field was by design based on the number of plays to which he had been assigned.

“[We] just had a small package for him. He practiced really hard last week. When you’re a young guy, the way you practice dictates how much you play here. That’s how it is,” Azzanni said. “He practiced great last week. So what did I do? I put together a little package for him and said, ‘This is your package. Go get it.’ […] He had a good game. […] He’s a young guy. I want him to go play really hard, really fast, and I don’t want him thinking a bunch. […] I thought he executed his package well. The way he practices this week, the package will grow.”

Meyer had similar things to say Thursday about Debose’s improvement.

“[He’s] getting close. He had a good week. He’s still very much involved,” he said. “I made the comment last week and it’s going to [stay true] for the next week: If he doesn’t practice very well [he won’t see the field]. He’s really coming on. Good to see that, too.” Part of what Meyer is looking for is how Debose understands and executes the playbook. “He just can’t handle it [all] right now,” Meyer continued. “That’s where a guy like [freshman quarterback] Trey [Burton] does. It’s amazing. Trey – boom – got it and go. But that’s not uncommon. It took [redshirt junior WR] Deonte [Thompson] a while. [Debose]’s doing a good job. Really good week of practice.”

DEMPS REMAINS PROBABLE

Even though he was limited in practice on Thursday, junior running back Jeff Demps continues to be listed as Probable on the Gators’ unofficial injury report. Demps had been wearing a protective boot for the last few days, which is now off according to Meyer. “[He was] limited today still. We’re going to try to practice him [Friday] more. But he’s still limited. He’s probably for the game Saturday. He wasn’t full speed moving around.”

Should Demps have difficulty playing, it was made clear that redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee will have increased roles. Meyer also mentioned that freshman Mack Brown could see additional time. “[Brown’s] a freshman with really big wide eyes. A nice guy that has a lot of talent and he’s getting a lot better,” he said.

OTHER INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (hamstring, stitches) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) are both “ready to go,” according to Meyer, who also said junior kicker Caleb Sturgis is slowly recovering from a nagging back injury. “He’s got that back issue. He fought through it [during] last week’s game,” he said. “It’s going to be something he’s going to have to deal with and work through and he has been. He’s done a nice job with it.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Meyer on the importance of special teams to both Florida and Alabama: “You can always tell a team that puts a premium [emphasis] on special teams. And obviously we do, and the team we’re playing does. So that’s going to be a big part of this game.”

Meyer on how practice went Thursday: “Good, great practice. This Wednesday was up-and-down because the crowd noise always throws a monkey wrench in the whole thing. Defense I thought was very good, offense just wanted to turn around and knock those speakers out. But it was a really good week of practice. I think we’re over the hump of teaching guys how to practice now. Thank God. That was a learning curve for a while.”

Meyer on how to offenses can attack Florida’s heavy package: “I’ve heard a lot of people ask about that. You’re taking [senior defensive end] Duke Lemmens and putting him at outside linebacker. And really that’s kind of the body type he is. He’s a little heavier than [redshirt senior linebacker] A.J. Jones, so it’s not that big of a difference. What I like about it is you’re getting a 300 lbs. guy at a five-technique, which plays over the tight end and tackle. […] It’s the same defense we run, just bigger people in there.”

Meyer on his veterans and leaders: “They’re mature people. I see them trying to make sure that the young guys really appreciate what’s going on. You get caught up in who we’re playing and forget: Hey, it’s a great day here in Gainesville, Florida, and we’re getting ready to go play on national TV in prime time.”

Meyer on his penchant for doing unusual things in big games: “I don’t follow you, like a fake punt or something? I think our players expect us to do everything possible to win the game. There’s no intent to try to, ‘Hey, let’s keep this thing close.’ If we’re down and we have to do something to try to flip the switch, we’re going to do it. They would expect nothing less and I’d expect the same out of our staff. I don’t know if it’s just big games. Those things are always available to us. Maybe it just shows up in big games. When momentum shifts is … those are the times. When does that happen? I don’t know. You have to be on the sidelines looking at your players’ eyes to figure that out.”

Austin on slowing down Alabama’s RBs: “Probably have to stop the bus from getting to the stadium. That’s probably the only way, but we’re going to do our best. […] I think the biggest thing is these guys make people miss. And not just miss, but they can make you miss and run over you. They run with speed, elusiveness and power. They’re a tough combination and really the best backs that we’ll face. I thought the kid we played last week was good, but these guys are in a different category.”

Austin on their next-level prospects: “Oh yeah, they’re NFL guys. I’ll keep that short and sweet. They’re NFL guys. They are.”

Austin on how RBs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson differ: “When you look at Ingram, really a powerful runner. Really keeps great pad level for a runner. Hits the whole one step – boom – can get downhill and get to full speed, acceleration really fast. Same thing with Richardson except bigger thing I think he’s a probably little quicker, maybe a little more elusive than Ingram. They’re really complete backs.”

Austin on containing Alabama QB Greg McElroy: The key to stopping him is he keeps some plays alive with his feet. He doesn’t panic once the play may break down and then he finds an open receiver. The big thing is, if we can get him in those situations and the play does break down, we stay disciplined in our coverage on the back end with all seven guys making sure you keep an eye on the guy not looking at him and then letting our pass rush do the work from there.”

Austin on Florida’s “heavy package”: “What heavy package? [Laughing] Hypothetically that probably could make a difference. We’re not going anywhere with this [topic], so we’ll go on to the next one.”

Austin on game planning for Alabama: “When you watch Alabama, they game plan like an NFL team because they’ll attack weaknesses – perceived weaknesses – of your team. Maybe a player they think they can take advantage of. […] They do what they do well, but they may attack a certain scheme, a certain player, and that’s what you see from these guys. As a coaching staff, what we made sure we did was say, ‘OK, where are we struggling? Where are we doing maybe not as well?’ And make sure we shore that up.”

Azzanni on how redshirt senior WR Carl Moore can continue to improve: “Practice really hard.”

Azzanni on Moore’s level of improvement already: “He has a good focus this year. He’s kind of got has blinders on, knows what he wants to do, wants to help this team win a championship. He doesn’t want any drop off from Riley Cooper and Louis Murphy to him. He wants to uphold the tradition at that spot.”

Azzanni on his unit’s effort against Kentucky: “We did some things really good and we did some things really bad. There was no in between. I was proud the way they came out. They went fast and they played really hard, and when they made mistakes they did it as hard as they could make it. That’s why some of those plays work, guys make a mistake but they do it full speed with great effort and things end up working out and the ball bounces your way some times when you play that way.”

Azzanni on if senior center Mike Pouncey called out the WRs: “I’m on them every day. There wasn’t anything specific. We want to keep that hard edge to us. We feel like no one knows who we are. We’re maybe the weak link of the team, and we kind of like that. We like being the misfits. We use that to our advantage.”

Azzanni on redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr.: “Frankie’s just a great football player. He does everything the way you want it done out there. He plays like 900 different positions. He plays on every special team. I can put him in at any spot on the offense as far as receiver is concerned and he can go get it done for me. He plays really hard, that’s another thing. Guys who play really hard seem to get on the field.”

7 Comments

  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    It’s great to see Andre continue to grow. Won’t be to much longer before he becomes a major contributor on this offense.

  2. Joey says:

    Really proud of Hammond’s. Just shows you how much class he has. Everyone makes mistakes it is how you responded that’s makes the man out of you…

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Gatorbuc : The whole “Debose is growing stuff” I believe is all smoke and mirrors leading up to this weekend. The Gator schedule has allowed them to hide their play book for this weekend. Don’t be surprised to see completely different offensive and defensive packages this weekend. I’d also look for a few fake punts/field goals if we go down by more than 7.

    As I stated earlier this week, I love the position we are in right now. Complete underdogs, being given no shot by anyone. This is when the Gators play their best. Win or lose this weekend, it will definitely be close. Just remember if we lose, all is not lost so long as we can make it to Atlanta and win part 2 if Bama gets there. Thats the game for all the marbles, this is just a road block.

  4. Daniel M. says:

    I still think that they are not showing all their cards on AD4. It just doesn’t all add up. I’m looking for him to have an even more productive game Saturday night. Prove me right Andre. You just know that the staff will have some special stuff cooked up for this game.

    I hope McCarney rotates lineman heavily so we have fresh bodies in the fourth quarter when we know ‘Bama will be pounding it.

    Stop the run, win the game.

    Go Gators!

  5. cline says:

    I agree. doing everything we can to stop the run is key. GO GATORS!

  6. Will says:

    You don’t hold a player out who has never seen the field to hide your game plan. I think the issue is just what the coach says it is, that he hasn’t got to where he needs to be. I think we will definitely be throwing a lot this weekend as that’s the obvious way to attack Bama. I’m thinking Hammond and Hines get a lot of touches and probably more of Moore on key 3rd downs.

  7. Jimmy Gator says:

    Go Gators, beat those &$*@(*% . All week Bama fans have been obnoxious as hell, make them cry in their beer !

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