10/25: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

By Adam Silverstein
October 25, 2010

Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet with the media each Monday before the Florida Gators compete in a game the following Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

FOUR AREAS OF CONCERN BEING ADDRESSED

Like last week, Meyer made mention of four particular areas in which Florida is struggling and needs drastic improvement in order to turn around their season. Specifically, he said the Gators must hold onto the ball (high turnover rate), return to making big plays (only four from the running game this season), complete more passes and be more efficient in the red zone. These are all glaring issues he has seen while watching tape.

“In the last three games we’ve had five interceptions and three fumbles. The way I have always evaluated turnovers is I put it with carelessness and toughness.” Meyer said. “Fundamentals fall underneath carelessness. We’ve had more turnovers this year than we had all of ’08 already.” He continues, “Our running backs have accounted for four [big plays] for the year. Just to give in relative terms, we had five in one game last year against FSU. So that tells you a lack of production. None in the last five games from the running back position.”

HEALED INJURIES PROVIDE HOPE

Though Meyer said that redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose is questionable for the Georgia game with an ankle injury, he is relatively confident that juniors running back Jeff Demps (foot) and kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) will be able to play. Demps, Meyer said, “ran on the treadmill, he’s going to practice 20-25 snaps today.” Sturgis missed three weeks with a severely injured back he had been struggling with early in the season. Senior punter Chas Henry has been filling in for him; he made two field goals against Alabama but has missed every other attempt since. “Good news on Sturgis,” Meyer said. “We’re going to try him this week, see what happens.”

RAINEY READY TO RETURN?

Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, who had been suspended from the team for a month, was reinstated last week by Meyer on a provisional basis. During the Southeastern Conference teleconference last Wednesday, Meyer said Rainey would be eligible for the Georgia game but would not play unless he met specific requirements laid out by the coaching staff and administration. He reiterated that fact Monday, noting that a decision on Rainey’s availability will be made on Thursday. He has been practicing with the team for two weeks and was on the sidelines in normal clothes for the Mississippi State game.

MEYER INVOLVED IN PLAYCALLING

Brushing off whether or not playcalling is an issue for the Gators, Meyer said he evaluates every play that is called each week. “We don’t have a bad play. I don’t allow that. That’s kind of my job,” he said. “There’s no such thing as saying, ‘Boy, that’s a bad play.’ It might look awful because someone doesn’t block the right guy or someone doesn’t execute. So I go back to efficiency. I evaluate every play called. I do that every week. Is there times where I would have liked to run this as opposed to this? Yeah. Is it a bad play? There’s not a bad play that goes into a game. It’s poorly executed because we didn’t efficiently practice it.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Meyer’s opening statement: “We’ve obviously had some severe issues here the last three weeks that have been very damaging as far as the won-loss record. The issue is not finding the blame, but it’s finding a solution. That’s what we’re going to do this week. We began the task last week, and I think some are very obvious. As far as the plan to win that has been fairly successful around here – it is not being followed. The intent is not to asses blame; the intent is to get better and improve. The first thing you look at is: If there’s a lack of execution, why? Are you getting it done in practice? That’s my job.”

Meyer on needing big plays: This is alarming, and this is something I didn’t realize because we’re just trying to get a first down. Our goal in 2005 was to have the fastest team in college football. I know there’s injury issues, all kinds of excuses that maybe we’re not hitting the big plays. However, the not-so-obvious to the outside but on the inside is maybe it’s the lack of execution, lack of blocking the edge. And that’s what we’re going to really work on this week. Our running backs have accounted for four [big plays] for the year. Just to give in relative terms, we had five in one game last year against FSU. So that tells you a lack of production. None in the last five games from the running back position. […] So that has to be addressed. What’s the solution? I have ‘speed’ written down in real bold letters right here. I have perimeter blocking and then I have execution of the play call.”

Meyer on pass efficiency: “Our expectation level is about 160-165 as a passer rating. And we’re currently at 117; he last three games we’re at 98.5. It’s a multitude of issues that have to be corrected. Number one would be drops. Number two would be protection issues between the offensive line and the backs. Number three would be execution of the play.”

Meyer on red zone failures: “We’ve led the SEC the last three years. The first four games this year we were 16-of-16 in the red zone. The last three games we are 3-of-11 with three turnovers and three missed field goals. That’s execution and grind it and work at it.”

Meyer on two special teams issues: “The area we’re missing is big hits and block punts.”

Meyer on the defense: “I don’t believe we’re playing at the level we expect. We’re not dominant. However, we’re good enough to win some games around here. The area of concern will be third down and getting guys off the field.”

Meyer on modifications to the offense: “We have modified quite a bit. Things are modified. The injury issue, the personnel issue is real, so [getting people back healthy is] going to help. It doesn’t look like us out there. I want to have the thud. We all want that.”

Meyer on losing three straight: “We played a couple really good teams. That’s number one. We got smacked with an injury that just devastated us because we’re not dynamic enough. But you played the No. 1 team in the country, another team that was ranked real high and a couple real good defenses. But it’s absolutely inexcusable.”

Meyer on what he’s looking for: “I’m hoping that I come out there to watch practice today and it looks like the University of Florida.”

Meyer on extra motivation:“18-to-22-year-olds are all motivated differently. The moment I put up the standings of the SEC East and they see what’s going on…it lifted my spirits and I think it lifted a lot of guys’ spirits around here. We went Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as hard as we’ve ever gone. As much contact as we’ve ever had for development.”

Meyer on what redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan brings to the team: “You talk about energy givers, energy takers. Everybody wants energy givers. That means you’re walking next to somebody and you feel the energy; you don’t have to motivate and hug and slapping the tail and rah-rah. ‘Let’s go real hard today, what do you think?’ He supplies energy. To me, that’s an evaluation of a player that is so overlooked. He supplies energy for the entire program, and that’s real important. That’s an intangible that a guy like Matt Patchan brings to not just offense – team. Because he’s an energy giver, tough guy.”

Meyer on if his team is talented enough to “execute:” “Sure. I have more of an issue about efficiency at practice. Fundamentals don’t improve for a lot of reasons: Number one is you don’t practice them at the game speed you need to practice them at, number two is you’re not taught very well, number three is that the players aren’t good enough. That number three is not allowed around here. You don’t say that here. That’s very clear to our staff. […] Absolutely we have the talent to execute at a high level. I’d like to see it all together at once so we can operate.”

Meyer on if the Gators are desperate: “I like the word urgency instead of desperation.”

Meyer on if he “hates” this team as much as the 2007 squad: “No. No. No. No. No. Not at all. I kind of like where our players are at. I can’t stand where we are at, but I like where we’re at as far as 7 a.m. today seeing my guys back today after… It’s all about your players. This is all about your guys, and we have good guys.”

Meyer on potential changes to starters: “Depends on health. Obviously the Dempsy issue. You’d have to ask Steve [Addazio] about the offensive line. Between Xavier [Nixon] and [Maurice] Hurt I don’t know.”

Meyer on changes to the rotation: “That’s more up to the position coaches. But the answer is, ‘Yes.’ That’s week-to-week. […] There’s not someone like waiting in the wings that’s going to blow the top off this thing. It’s guys executing and efficiency at practice time.”

Meyer on if he’s been able to watch Cameron Newton: “It’s really hard, I’ll tell you that. I don’t watch much of it. […] I think he’s a very good player, and I’m trying to watch more of the teams that we play.”

Meyer on if he wishes he was still here: “No. No. No. No. No. No. I didn’t say that.”

24 Comments

  1. Tom says:

    what does Meyer mean ” we don’t have a bad play. I don’t allow that”. If he is saying that he is approving all the plays when they are called then we Gators have a HUGE problem!

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    What a pile of cr_____p! Did not address offensive line play at all, and I would dare say that when the opponents line up and are screaming out where the back is gonna’ dive in to the line so they can close the gap, and nobody in the whole stadium is surprised, then there is bad play calling. I think it’s “BAD” when the other team knows what you are going to run. A play can be fundamentally sound, be a good play, but if it is called on evry first down, or every 3rd down, then it’s not the play that’s bad – it’s the play calling. Didn’t hear him mention the passing game either. Oh, that’s right , we don’t have one because they won’t let JB throw the dang ball!!

  3. John S says:

    This is about what you’d expect. at least he mentioned the line at several points. The play calling issue, I don;t think he understands. It has to do with predictability. If you play a talented defense, if they know what play you are going to run, they will stop it 80% of the time. If you perfectly execute (which often means the other team doesn’t execute) then you’ll get something, but you won’t get a home run, ever. It’s like playing the dime slots. That’s basic stuff.

    We play in a great conference against great coaches. If they are approaching play calling as “We’re Florida this should work” than Meyer and Addazio are failing.

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    John S – you are right, predictability is one of the major reasons we aren’t breaking “big plays”, along with our line getting blown off the ball. What the heck is all the garbage about we have to make big 3rd downs?!? Just get 4 – 5 yards on first down, and 3rd down isn’t always do or die.
    Wonder if saban and other coaches “watch” practice or “Lead” practice? Seems to be a real lack of intensity and ‘edge’. I stand by my earlier comment that I liked Meyer better as a coach when he was on edge, ultra focused, and pushed the team hard. Something has altered his mood, and i’m not sure it is good for our program…

  5. G8trpls says:

    It’s not…ignoring the obvious flaws, that have cost us the past 2 games, Bama doesn’t count, they killed us…The offensive line is awful, the passing game is awful, we never spread the field, the opposing defense only has to cover a condensed portion of the field..i.e. making it easier to stop us, we have dug ourselves a hole and are fortunate to still be playing for something…we better not lose 4 in a row…especially to the Leghumper’s

  6. HJUF79 says:

    Coach Meyer did not “realize” there were no big plays?? What is he doing on the side line, impersonating Bobby Bowden?? He is absolutely correct about lack of execution, efficiency, motivation, fundamentals, blocking etc…this is a lack of coaching, offensive coaching. He says we have the absolute talent to execute at a high level, so, it must be coaching, or like he says, “you’re not taught very well”
    Hopefully behind all of the political correctness he spoke of above, Coach Meyer got back to being himself and started coaching again…I for one still have faith in him. “hopefully”

  7. gerry areni says:

    coach meyer is a loyalist,he will not put the blame on anyone.addazzio was not a proven spread offensive coordinator.will he ever be one i doubt. will meyer hire a new coordinator i doubt it .so gator fans be prepared to indure more pain because meyers a loyalist.
    gerry

  8. Escambia94 says:

    We are not that predictable. Come on, guys! We only run the dive 99% of the time. There is a 1% chance of us running another play!

  9. Joe says:

    Meyer has already begun changing the offensive, he didn’t let Stevie talked to the media today. I take this a the most positive sign I’ve seen so far this year.

  10. Aligator says:

    The plays are not bad, it is the strategy of those plays that are called. That is what needs to be addressed and when people use the terms “placyalling and plays”, it leave the door open for that answer. I could be wrong, but if someone asked about the strategies then I think the answers would be different.

  11. Aligator says:

    Also, Meyer is also watching his health, but I think that he will realize sooner or later, he has to take the reigns and go to town.

    I mean everyone, including him thought he had heart issues due to stress. at the end of the day that was not the case and yes, maybe he is trying to pace himself, but he will be alright and this will turn around.

    There were a lot of changes this past year and a lot of issues primarily his health. I think we owe it to him to let him figure this out. He is not an idiot and I really believe once we make it through this season, weather we are 4-8 or 9-3 we will be okay.

  12. ziggy says:

    Think about this for a minute. How many times have you heard Brantley and Addazio say that “the play calls are good…we’re just taking what the defense is giving us…” Therein lies the problem. We are allowing the opposing defense to tell us what play to run. The other defensive coordinators know that if they show this look then we are going to run this play. Meyer needs to quit allowing the defense to dictate our offense and be assertative in the play calling. What do you think Adam?

    • Some of you guys are really going overboard here. Not going to point anyone out. Just don’t jump off the boat before it sinks, that’s all I’m saying. Aligator has made a few good points. (This is NOT a response to the last comment asking my opinion.)

  13. ziggy says:

    Adam, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one for blasting any player or coach on our team just like I’m not for booing our own team during a game. However, there have been a lot of posts on the fact that the play calling seems to be predictable. I mean, I knew we were in trouble when Miami, OH knew what play we were running before we did. I remember when the offense was clicking and Meyer talking about the fact that they were able to run 5 different plays from the same look. i think that may also be a component to what is missing. We need more plays from the same look (ie option shovel pass to the inside). Just sayin

    • Playcalling was “predictable” in 2008, too. But the execution made it unstoppable. Most plays are predictable if the opposing coach game plans correctly. That being said, it does need to improve. But there are much bigger issues that need to be addressed.

  14. Oscar says:

    I guess we will wait and see what kind of product the Gators put on the field on Saturday. It’s tough when up to the last game we were told by coaching staff that everything was good even though everyone saw there was something completely off with the offense… since the first game. Took a loss to Miss. State for Meyer to finally take more action (at least publicly). As far as the plays being good… they maybe, but only if called for the correct circumstance and with the correct personnel on the field. I think that, more than anything, is the gripe fans have with the play calling. Addazio deserves plenty of credit for the work he has done since coming over in 2005. But we should also be able to fault / blame him when he does not perform his duties. Stats don’t lie, and stats and watching games indicates that his 2 main responsibilities are weak points on this team.

  15. ziggy says:

    I think your right in that execution goes a long way. That’s what entered my thoughts when watching Cam Newton on a 30 yard scamper. He had excellent down field blocking that allowed him to find holes and keep going. I was pleased to see Meyer talk about perimeter blocking. It’s not just the guys with the ball in their hands that need to execute. I just don’t know why it’s so hard to get these young guys to understand their roles and blocking schemes. Meyer said it himself, we don’t have bad players, so does that mean it’s the coaching?

  16. GatorsFanLA says:

    All is well?

  17. campyone says:

    I think Meyer is being a little disingenuous when he says we have no bad plays. Sure, the playbook doesn’t contain any plays that couldn’t possibly work under any circumstances. In that sense they’re all good plays. But that doesn’t mean the right good play is always called at the right time.

  18. Jesse C says:

    Whoa Adam, I wouldn’t say our offense was unstoppable in 2008. I seem to remember the offense getting bogged down on several occasions before Timmy and/or Percy bailed us out with their superior athleticism.

    Anyway, I think the general consensus from this blog is that Urban seems to be missing the point regarding the playcalling… it is not the individual plays in the playbook where the problem lies. It is the strategy implemented for games and the timing of the calls made for certain situations. Sure you start with a plan of attack and when it isn’t working you make adjustments throughout the game. I thought a multiple option spread offense was supposed to have multiple looks for every formation. Aren’t they allowing Brantley to read the defense and change the play call at the line of scimmage? Why not?

    • Jesse – I was just providing a general comparison for you. Florida’s offense may have had its down moments in 2008, but the team 30 against every team but Miami and Oklahoma and scored 45 or more in seven games.

      As far as your second comment goes… Are you saying that is the consensus from the website or from its commenters? Two very different perspectives. From what I have seen this season, many of our readers have problems with the particular plays (read: dive, swing passes, short gains). What I take issue with when I rewatch the game is the strategy and how Meyer and Addazio need to do a better job concentrating on what Brantley does well rather than sticking to a gameplan they used with Tebow.

      With the comments from Meyer this week, it seems that the modifications they have made to the offense are in utilizing and featuring the plays that work and giving some of the others a bit of a backseat until they prove to be more effective. Anyone who expects to see a game Saturday w/o a dive play is kidding themselves. If the team got 0 yards per carry on the dive they would still run it to keep defenses honest because it is a part of the offense.

      So I agree with you, it is not the playbook or the plays that are the problem, it is how they are utilized and the lack of adjustment that has been made to nitpick the ones that work the best with the talent on the field. That being said, I’m not sure that is how most people feel (at least it wasn’t for a while, I’ve been able to change some minds recently).

  19. Jesse C says:

    Adam – My point regarding the comparison to the 2008 season was that when the offense stalled, we had game breakers that would bail us out and make a big play. The points we scored were a little misleading due to a bunch of great defensive plays every game.

    With all the hype and pre-season accolades given to our current players, recruits and position groups (O-Line), many of us thought that we had plenty of potential playmakers like Harvin, Cooper, Murphy, Hernandez, etc. to fill that role. So now at the midpoint of the season, we are left scratching our heads as to why we are so inept. Are our players simply not executing or are we not spreading the ball to all of our playmakers? Its easy to fault the playcalling because we seem to run the same boring plays (dive, swing, sweep) to the same players. We know the plays are in there (playbook) like when we see a reverse to Hines go 20+ yards but we’ve only seen those plays once in a blue moon even though they always seem to work. We need to keep defenses guessing and our coaching staff is doing a horrible job mixing it up.

    On the other hand, our defense has also dropped the ball in many ways and although they are kept on the field way too much thanks to the lack of production on offense, they have several of their own issues. See MSU game second half… reminded me of Hoke’s “bend-don’t-win” defense.

    By the consensus, I meant from the commenters I’ve read from multiple sites… as I’ve said before, you offer a fresh perspective in a lot of ways and actually respond to others’ comments which is why I like this website. Keep it up.

    On a side note, we can thank the football Gods for the SEC east acting like the SEC west of the 1990’s where you are still alive in the divisional race with three losses. With that said, we can still get to Atlanta despite all this turmoil and underachieving. Hopefully, Meyer has tweaked the offense like it was 2005 and we roll the rest of the year. Heck, if UGA can do it so can we. Go Gators!!!

    • Jesse- I disagree that the points scored were misleading, even though I understand where you are coming from. Also, now I understand what you meant by comments, but it is important to distinguish what you read here with everywhere else – I try to keep it “fresh” as you said.

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