11/1: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

By Adam Silverstein
November 1, 2010

Think Saturday’s win meant something to Meyer?

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.

CHAMPIONS AND AWARDS

After three consecutive losses and an overall lack of things to celebrate post-game, a tough win allowed Meyer to announce that 17 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Offensively, Meyer named redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, freshman quarterback Trey Burton and redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. as his most valuable players along with senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt junior QB John Brantley, redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson, redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio and redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, junior safety Will Hill won the MVP award, while senior safety Ahmad Black, junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins, and senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens were champions.

The Southeastern Conference honored senior punter/kicker Chas Henry with its Co-Special Teams Player of the Week award and Burton with its Tri-Freshman of the Week award on Monday. Henry was 2-of-3 on his field goal attempts including a 37-yard game winner, and Burton rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown.

IMPROVEMENT IN FOUR DEFICIENT AREAS

One week ago, Meyer mentioned four particular areas in which Florida was struggling on offense and needed to drastically improve on in order to turn around the season. Here is how the Gators fared in those four areas against the Bulldogs:

1. Turnovers – 4-to-1 ratio with Brantley’s interception coming when sophomore WR Omarius Hines quit running a route.
2. Big plays – Florida had five against Georgia after none in the previous five games combined – a big turnaround.
3. Pass efficiency – UF’s quarterbacks were 30 points more efficient (120) than average.
4. Red zone efficiency – The Gators converted 5-of-6 red zone opportunities with a miscue coming on a missed field goal by Henry on the first offensive drive of the game.

OFFENSE REBOUNDS, DEFENSE CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE

While the offense spent two weeks of practice being retooled and streamlined, the defense’s goal during the bye week was figuring out how to get off the field on third down. Mississippi State ran the ball down Florida’s throats in its upset victory two weeks ago, and Georgia accomplished a similar feat through the air. Meyer was blunt when speaking about what had to be improved on that side of the ball.

“We’re not playing great defense. It’s just the way it is. We’re not and we have to improve,” he said. “Does that mean we didn’t have some great efforts? We certainly created turnovers and short fields, which our defense has done a decent job of all year. Back to compartmentalize – it’s third downs and red zone. We were 3-of-3 [in red zone scores] we gave up and third downs are not good.”

Asked if he will reevaluate the defense the same as he did the offense, Meyer responded: “I just don’t have time. I’ve never done that. These are the issues, get them cleaned up immediately. We have very good coaches. We just got to clean up a few things because at times we play outstanding defense. It’s getting off the field that has been a situation for us.”

GAME BALL TO MR. ANDREU

To begin his press conference, Meyer handed a game ball to long-time Gainesville Sun writer Robbie Andreu, whose father passed away in October. Today, Nov. 1, also happens to have been his father’s birthday. Best wishes from OGGOA.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Meyer on a special teams gaffe: “We allowed a kickoff return a the most critical time to pop out past the 50, which is something that absolutely cannot happen and will be exposed this week as well – [Vanderbilt] has a fine returner.”

Meyer on Hill: “Played his best football game as a Gator. […] He played well. Move on. Keep playing well. You can’t play good defense without a free safety.”

Meyer on the next game: “The urgency has not left this facility and left this team. We had a good day [Saturday], and we will move forward.”

Meyer on running the ball: “Right now to run the football in college, you need to do some kind of… It’s Oregon, it’s Missouri, it’s Auburn, it’s Florida in the past… You have to be creative to run the ball. Defenses are too good. […] You need to create explosive plays in the run game. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it’s just darn close not having the ability to get some athleticism at quarterback.”

Meyer on saying Georgia victory was his “greatest win:” “Greatest win. Of all time. History of the game. Absolutely. It’s big-picture. Big picture for the most important people – our players. Second most important people – our staff, support. The karma. The eating food that tastes good again. We had a victory meal last night, I think it was about 8:30 at night. I couldn’t tell ya – I have no idea what it was, but it was unbelievable. That’s why. That was a much-needed victory. And the way they did it. When Will Hill intercepted that ball and went 80-some yards – it was 70 people down in the end zone. We needed that as opposed to the dull… My gosh, after a while it’s just beating a dead horse. ‘Let’s get this thing going.’ And we did. And I think Steve [Addazio] and our offensive staff did a brilliant job with the tempo. You don’t have time to be a dullard now. So we’re going.”

Meyer on how the program felt after the last three losses: “It was miserable; however, the 22 other hours were miserable, the two hours [during practice] weren’t miserable because we had guys that weren’t resistive, weren’t defiant, and they were working. You got to take your hat off to guys like Mike Pouncey, Johnny, Trey Burton, Rainey, Demps and just seeing the energy out there – and Deonte. There’s no shortage of good dudes in this program. There might be a shortage of some other things, but there’s no shortage of that. The 22-hour miserable days were only made possible by that two hours of everybody on a mission to get a little better.”

Meyer on if Reed can and will throw: “Yeah, he can throw. Yes. Done. I’m giving you something maybe I shouldn’t give you. It’s in, it’s done and he will throw the ball next week. How’s that? Make sure they defend it.”

Meyer on the team being rejuvinated: “It’s amazing how fragile it is. We all know that we were a couple healthy runners maybe away from winning the third game. Not taking anything away from our opponent – the MSU game. If the ball bounces or, it’s just the game of college football is so fragile. And when you start dealing with noise, it becomes even more fragile. Obviously [winning] cures a lot of evils. It’s easy to be a great leader, great person and great worker when you’re hoisting the crystal ball. It’s somewhat difficult – and that’s why everybody’s made a little differently – when you’re getting hit right square in the mouth. Can you come back and go a little harder? The guys I’ve mentioned, the Champions right here, you can hit those guys square in the mouth and they’re going to come back for more and get a little better…which is kinda cool.”

Meyer on if freshman CB Cody Riggs is now a starter: “No. He played pretty good. He’s certainly in the rotation though.”

Meyer on if Burton playing a large role bothers Brantley: “I think he’s fine. Johnny’s one of those guys, he tells you how he feels and he likes to win games. […] I don’t see a problem, and I look for them.”

Meyer on if playing at Vanderbilt with a smaller crowd during the day is weird: “It is a concern because you know the team you’re playing is one of those teams that’s looking to getcha. And they got the talent to getcha. And they got that offense where they got an athletic quarterback. That’s uncomfortable. Last time was down at Ole Miss – that was bizarre – getting up at 6 a.m. and the whole deal. Nothing we can do about it, just gotta play our tails off.”

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

10 Comments

  1. npgator says:

    I thought that Hines and Hammond both played outstanding.

  2. GatorsFanLA says:

    I want to see Trey Burton throw a pass… And next week against Vandy is the best opponent to do so. I feel bad in saying this, but because of the offensive plays Addazio/ Meyer calls it has become clear that the John Brantley experiment has failed.

    Does anyone else agree with me when I say “Start Trey Burton now!” ?

  3. Aligator says:

    That is wild when he said he did not have time to evaluate the defense. I hope and pray that someone does.

    • He’s not saying he doesn’t have time to evaluate the defense, he’s saying he doesn’t have time to evaluate it the same way he did the offense. Obviously he watches the defense and knows what needs to be improved, but there is a defensive coordinator for a reason. Meyer has always been an offensive and special teams guy. Most coaches have their specialization – none can really oversee every area equally. That’s why the relationship with Strong was so successful – he was head coach of the defense.

  4. ziggy says:

    Got to give a lot of credit to the O-line for opening some holes so that the dreaded dive play actually worked. Pretty funny if you think about it. The plays were the same. The execution was much better, but the up tempo offensive attack and rotating QB’s kept the defense from blitzing 100% and got them using their mind instead of there feet. It looked like we lined up on offense and ran the play. There was no looking over to the sideline and changing the play based on “what the defense gives us”. Keeping the defense off balance and guessing was the key in my opinion.

  5. ejlgator says:

    The john brantley “experiment” as you called it has not been a failure, in my opinion. After all these weeks of railing on the offensive playcalling I think it was apparent against georgia that whe our o line does their job the offense is fine. When Brantley had time to throw he picked apart their defense. The kid has been playing with broken ribs ans a messed up thumb and he gets clobbered all game. When he gets time you can see he has the potential to be real good.

    Trey Burton works well in tandem with JB not in place of him. I am starting to think all this harping on execution was aimed at the o line. If they do their damn job we will win games.

  6. Escambia94 says:

    I totally agree with this quote, “Trey Burton works well in tandem with JB not in place of him.” Burton can make certain throws, but JB can make all the throws, given more protection than what Burton needs. The problem is that in this offensive scheme with this offensive line, JB will never succeed without alternating with an option QB. I don’t know how he plans on getting drafted without an offense that suits his talents.

  7. joe says:

    The failure would be to bench Brantley for Burton and watch him run 40 – 50 offensive plays a game. If you think Brantley can make some bad decisions when the o-line misses assignments, think what a freshman will do back there – especially in passing situations.

    Point: This 3QB system is our offense until the coaching staff changes it – I doubt that will happen again this season.

    I agree with ejlgator that the “execution” issue was definitely related to the O-line, but it also fell on the QB’s to make the correct reads on option read plays and route running/ separation on the part of the receivers (which they did well this week). When everything is executed correctly the spread looks fantastic, without execution it looks uglier than most other types of offense.

  8. Will says:

    Our offense does look decent when we just line up and play. I think alot of our problems earlier in the season were because it looked like Brantley was being spoon fed plays from the sidelines. The offense would line up pretty quickly and JB would stare at the sideline for 10 seconds or more before even lining up. All of the time we wasted gave the defense plenty of time to read our setup and adjust appropriately.

  9. Aligator says:

    Adam, I know that, I was just making an off the cuff statement.

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