10/20: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

By Adam Silverstein
October 20, 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:

OFFENSE EVALUATED, WILL BE TWEAKED

Obviously the most important topic Meyer covered Wednesday was Florida’s offense and how it has been evaluated following the loss to Mississippi State. Meyer said he completed a “very in-depth study of where we’re at and what the issues are,” noting that if he was to discuss what was found in full it would be a “two-hour answer.”

He specifically said that the Gators have not had a big play in the running game since the South Florida game “which is alarming” and that all three of his running backs – especially junior Jeff Demps – being injured has really hampered the offense. Meyer also pegged passing efficiency and turnovers as the other two stumbling blocks the offense has to work through. “Those are the issues, now how do we fix the issues? It’s a multitude of things, and that’s what we’re working on in practice – extremely hard,” he said.

Looking at game tape, Meyer evaluated every one of Florida’s offensive drives and came to the conclusion that the Gators have successfully moved the ball on occasion but are not scoring. He said one-third of UF’s drives end in a punt, one-third in a turnover and one-third in a score or missed field goal. Prior to this season Florida used to score on over 50+ percent of its drives; that efficiency is currently down to 19 percent. Meyer added that his evaluations are “all on paper, all up on the board” and even gave an indication that he had them in a stack right near where he was sitting.

The issues, as Meyer sees them, are “scheme and personnel.” He said, “It’s a little bit of both. I don’t want to get into too much detail because it’s not set yet, but we just have to improve. And how do you improve? It’s two the things: it’s scheme and personnel.” Meyer added about potentially changing who calls the plays, “I’ve been head coach now for 10 years, and I’ve been very involved in the game plan and play calling. […] [Offensive coordinator] Steve [Addazio]’s got a very strong presence in the run game and protections. We just have to get better and I’m not sure that’s the answer. If it is, that’s what I’m evaluating as well but I’m as involved in that as well as Steve is. That will be fixed if it’s broken. If it’s execution as opposed to the play calling, you can call all the plays you want if you miss your first eight passes or we drop passes and all that, we’ve just got to execute better.”

INJURED GATORS TRYING TO HEAL

With so many Gators injured, Meyer ran through status updates on the players on Wednesday providing a mix of good news and bad news.

» Demps (sprained foot) – light practice Tuesday, being “cautious”
» Sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) – light practice Tues., being “cautious”
» Redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (quad) – light practice Tues., being “cautious”
» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) – “He will not practice this week. We’re doing everything we can to get him back next week. It’s a rather severe ankle sprain, but he’s doing well.”
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) – “progressing pretty good,” will know Monday if he may be available for Georgia
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) – broken bone has healed, just needs to gain strength in the arm back
» Redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio (finger) – getting better
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – “[He’s] doing pretty good. He’s not practicing, but it’s all positive.”
» Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins (concussion) – “[He] will be fine. He did not practice yesterday, but I’m not sure about today. We’re real cautious about concussions.”

RAINEY WILL BE ELIGIBLE. BUT ACTIVE?

Meyer said that redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey will technically be allowed to play in two weeks against Georgia. Whether or not he will is another story all together. “He’s eligible to play for this game,” he said. “That won’t be determined ‘til next week. He’s on a week-to-week [basis]. He is eligible to participate in the Georgia game. I’m not saying he will because that has not been determined yet.”

MEYER QUOTES

Opening statement: “I’m not sure if the open date came at a good time or not. We’re trying to get some skill players back and obviously we have to get this thing turned around.”

On how this open date is important for Florida: “Yes. It is [important]. Because it’s this year, that’s one reason. Number two is we’re five minutes before kickoff [against Mississippi State] and we’re being kind of told we don’t have any running backs available for the game. Jeff ended up playing, but he played at about 70 percent. […] The correlation between that and lack of production in our run game is obviously there. I thought [sophomore WR] Omarius Hines did a great job coming in and getting a few plays for us, but he’s obviously not a running back.”

On practice this week: “We had a great practice yesterday, and we’re going to have another one today.”

This post will be updated later Wednesday with more notes and quotes.

22 Comments

  1. El Meester says:

    Adam, I agreed with your grading of the UF offense for the MSU game, and it sounds like Meyer did as well. That’s a good sign. I’m glad to hear someone finally say the words “scheme and personnel”. I’m now pretty excited to see how well Meyer makes his adjustments. Leave no doubt, if this “ship” is to be turned around, it MUST start with Urban Meyer and nobody else.

  2. npgator says:

    I am utterly confident in Coach Meyer and his ability and will right the ship.

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    The off week could not have come at a better time this year. You can also bet your last dollar with all the injuries, Rainey will be playing against Ga.

    I’m also still curious as to why Mack Brown was not on the field Saturday? I know they mentioned learning the plays was an issue but was placing Hines in the back field when running the option and sweep a better path than Brown?

  4. OBgator says:

    I’m also glad to hear us owning up to the problem instead of sticking our heads in the sand as we’ve done for the past 3 weeks. I never wanted Coach Meyer to point fingers, but just an acknowledgment of problems with coaching and personnel that needs to be fixed.

    Also, Adam, do you know if Mack Brown is in the dog house or just not ready? I heard he’s playing a lot of special teams, but I’m surprised he didn’t get any touches when we have so many injuries at RB. Considering his high rating in high school, I would’ve thought he’d merit some touches at a time like this.

  5. Even with injuries I don’t understand why a large majority of fans believe every freshman should be able to step on the field against a SEC opponent their first season. Most freshmen on most teams don’t play. There is a period of learning, developing and performing that must be achieved before an impact can be made. Offensive guys who can make an impact and be successful like Tebow, Percy and even Burton this year do not come around often. If the coaching staff does not believe Brown can perform at the level they require, he is not going to see the field during a big-time game. Plain and simple.

  6. SC Gator says:

    Ehh… I thought they had redshirted Brown actually.

    • Not yet, not officially. Meyer does not like to redshirt players and certainly won’t go out of his way to do so. Brown has seen some carries this season, so it is interesting that they haven’t used him since.

  7. Ahab says:

    We’re trying to improve execution in our offense. Throwing new players into that situation is not necessarily helpful.

  8. JW says:

    I think Michael Dyer and Marcus Lattimore are two reasons people are curious about Mack Brown.

  9. cline says:

    I wonder if there is any talk of moving the play caller to the skybox. I would think the “birds eye view” would be more valuable than being down on the field.

  10. cline says:

    i took from the comments above that they might be re-eval’in who calls the plays?

    Meyer added about potentially changing who calls the plays, “We just have to get better and I’m not sure that’s the answer. If it is, that’s what I’m evaluating as well but I’m as involved in that as well as [offensive coordinator] Steve [Addazio] is. That will be fixed if it’s broken.

  11. rich says:

    turning it over on downs or turnovers for 2/3rds of all our drives is just horrible. Not an easy fix either..

    Great work ADAM, thanks for all the great quotes.

  12. Aligator says:

    Good article and right in line with the things you had previously said.

    I think at the very least, before we burn addozzio at the stake, we should have him in the press box and hire an OL coach as both areas struggle.

    • Aligator- I always enjoy when Meyer confirms opinions I give. Makes me think I can coach…except for the time commitment, talent to develop players and ability to scheme.

  13. Aligator says:

    Another Idea is to hire the C from Louisville to be CO-OC. He was Urb’s OC at Utah. He could coach whatever on top of that, be in the press box and work with Steve on play calling. Yes personnel and scheming would also need to be addressed. They actually could hire one more coach if they kept Addozzio with double duties.

  14. Escambia94 says:

    Unless we are forsaking the rest of the season, the only freshmen that need to be taking the field next game are the ones that have beat out our underperforming junior/senior players. I know that Urban Meyer does not like to be specific, but I hope some of his tweaks include re-assigning Moody to some role that does not require catching that swing pass, re-assigning Deonte Thompson to routes that he can catch (it appears that he likes going across the middle more than going deep despite his speed), giving JB better targets down deep, and giving Burton more option plays. All of these are simple tweaks to the existing offense. I think we can safely assume we are not going to overhaul the entire playbook in two weeks. The stretch here will be whether we continue throwing out of the pro-style I-formation, and if we do, does that give Moooody a chance a redemption? Does this give our real fullbacks more playtime so JB has protection if he throws out of the I? In the spread-option, how do we create a crease for Demps, Rainey, or Gillislee to get those explosive runs?

    I have given up on the idea of Loeffler being promoted to OC or calling more plays, so this is how I interpret Urban Meyer’s tweaks–small personnel and scheme changes using the existing offense and existing coaches in their current positions. Starting more freshmen? Won’t happen. Maybe if UGA blows up on us 63-3. New OC? Won’t happen unless aliens kidnap Addazio. Make Burton the starting QB? Won’t happen unless JB gets nailed by one of UGA’s four LBs (yeah, they run a 3-4, like Alabama). Beat UGA? Entirely possible, but not easy without better execution, no matter how big or small the tweaks are.

  15. OBGator says:

    Adam,

    I understand that every high school stud is not going to step in and be a star at the collegiate level. The chances of Mack Brown being a stud at the SEC level as a freshman is even slimmer. However, I wonder why he didn’t get carries when 1) the RB corps is banged up; 2) he’s had carries before and performed well; 3) he’s been playing special teams so he might have had his redshirt burned by the staff; and 4) the alternative is to play a 70% demps or a 80% gillislee or an out of position hines. Just seems strange, unless he’s had fumble issues in practice or something.

    Oh well, it’s moot now because we should be healed up a bit with a bye week this saturday.

    • OBGator- I think it all comes down to whether or not Meyer trusts him to carry the ball against an SEC defensive front in a big game. If Demps can fumble the ball that easily on the 17, for example, what might happen when a freshman takes a big hit he isn’t expecting. There is something to be said for experience and Meyer simply may not believe he has enough of it yet. It’s as simple as that.

  16. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Freshman RB’s are all over college football…Demps and Gillislee both got carries as freshman….in fact outside of injuries you would probably be hard pressed to find too many impact RB’s who didn’t get carries as freshman….so to me unless they had already made up their mind to redshirt him thinkin the backfield would be full with so many returnees then he is either injured or not as good as we had hoped…if you are Alabama and you got two NFL caliber running back then you maybe you would redshirt a quality RB but we are not quite in that position

  17. Jesse C says:

    Addazio has been an OL coach and a good one (from what I understand) for many years. He is a weak if not complete failure as an OC. If Spurrier was HC still, he would have started calling the plays himself by now. Spurrier was king of multi-tasking while at UF… HC, OC and QB coach. If Urban would just take some of the responsibility back that he delegated this year (i.e. Special Teams), I think we would be much better off.

    When Urban evaluates the schemes, I hope he sees the problem with predictability. He said he noticed that we aren’t making any big plays in the run game. Aside from the atrocious play from the OL and injuries which are obvious factors, the lack of mixing up running plays is giving defenses an advantage. Instead of the dive or the sweep every other play, why not try the counter, off-tackle, QB sneak or the reverse more often… it seems most of our big yardage has come from a little razzle-dazzle. The option works on occasion but it is also being used in a predictable manner. Nobody is fooled when Burton goes in… he’s going to run most of the time or hand off. He’s been very good with what he is given but Tebow only started being ultra effective when he was allowed to pass. Why not let Burton do the same when he is in the game as QB? Also, why is Brantley on the field when Burton is taking the snap? The option works because of the plus one ratio and Brantley isn’t going to block or catch or run so WTF good is he in that scheme?

    Sure our execution has been horrible at times but I think the schemes need to be more than just tweaked and someone else needs to manage and adjust the plays to what occurs throughout the game.

  18. i think meyer and his assistants don’t always play the best players…sometimes i think he values being a “senior” more than talent. i am not saying those seniors/juniors who are playinmg are not good but sometimes i believe meyer wants players to “pay their dues” before they get serious playing time….i am not talking about true freshman; i agree it’s rare they are ready to take the field but i’ll bet if a sophomore or junior beats pouncey in practice over and over again he still won’t start or get serious playing time…..the old ball coach would never hesitate to bench a star if he under performed….meyer rarely does that with his senior leaders……and many of them simply are not good right now……brantly is better than he has played….he needs better blocking and needs to get his confidence back…he’s pushing right now and has was we used to call “the yips”…….

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