11/1: Weis on the Gators’ roster, miscues, Brantley, Rainey, tight ends, Nixon, Burton

By Adam Silverstein
November 2, 2011

As the Florida Gators prepare for their next home game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Nov. 5 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the bye week and his team’s upcoming contest.

WORKING OUT THE ROSTER’S KINKS

Following Saturday’s loss, head coach Will Muschamp admitted that Florida is struggling with its running game because the team does not have the type of players on the roster to run a power system. Asked to elaborate on those comments Muschamp made, Weis agreed but said it is his job to make due with what the Gators do have.

“When you come in to any new circumstance, what you have to do is see what you do have and work around that,” he said. “Obviously the resource at this level is recruiting. As you bring in recruits that are different types of players, you do different types of things. That doesn’t mean you don’t like the players you have and don’t try to utilize what they do. You don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole.

“If somebody’s a certain type of player, that’s what you have to do. In college football it’s an evolution. It’s all based on when you bring in recruits and what they can do and then you adjust and tweak what you do based on who you have then.”

This is a stance contrary to what Weis’s replacement at Notre Dame – head coach Brian Kelly – said in October about the players he inherited before being forced to apologized.

“You got to be careful not to be disrespectful to the guys that are already here. Alls I know is, every year we’re going to try to recruit one of the best classes in the country. Hopefully some of those guys can challenge to get on the field early,” Weis said. “That’s all you can do. It might be a little bit general, but I think it’s really important not to sell out the guys that are currently on your own roster because then you’re placing the blame on them or placing the blame on the last coaching staff.”

Read more about the Gators offense…after the break!

SLUMPING OFFENSE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHANCES

The Gators’ offense, at this point in the season, may not be lights out, but it has indeed had its share of blown opportunities. Between dropping potential touchdown receptions and fumbling the ball after making big plays, there is plenty of blame to go around for not taking advantage of chances to score and move the ball down the field.

“What you have to do is look at the missed opportunities. Part of slumps are when you have opportunities to make plays and you don’t make plays,” Weis explained. “It gets a little frustrating. You just got to stay the course and keep giving them a different plan and an alternative plan each week to try to give them the best chance.”

Weis does not attribute the breakdowns to one player messing up on one particular play but rather a string of miscues over the course of the entire game.

“Each play is a separate entity. One play that you call really has very little effect on the next play you call. It’s just a question of what happens,” he said. “We were two-for-13 on third down last week. So I went back to see why – when we spend so much time practicing on situational football – why are we two-for-13? If you go back and look at the distances that we were in on third down, I thought there were several long yardage situations and unfortunately I was right. It was third-and-1, third-and-13, third-and-13, third-and-18, third-and-22, third-and-20, third-and-13. That’s not the way you play the game. Whether it’s a penalty or a tackle for a loss or a circumstance like that, you need to play the game in the third-and-six, third-and-five, third-and-four because that’s the way you end up scoring points – by getting first downs and moving the football.”

Weis also noted that by looking at the film after each game, he is able to point out to the players every single missed opportunity. “I look at a different copy of tape than you guys get to watch. You guys get to watch the TV copy. I’m watching the coaches’ copy,” he said. “You see things like, ‘Oh I can’t believe this happened on this play.’ At the end of the day, you don’t make plays, you don’t make plays. That really comes down to it. I’d say we probably had about five missed opportunities for touchdowns in the last game. You end up scoring one. You had some really big missed opportunities. If you have a game that’s a four-point game, all you need is one of them to cash in and everyone feels totally different. It’s not that much different from the week before. You have a handful of plays where, if you make any one of the plays, the outcome of the game changes.”

BRANTLEY CREATING A STRONG IMPRESSION

Weis has maintained since day one that he truly believes in redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley’s ability both as a player and a leader. On Tuesday he explained that Brantley’s mentality – in addition to what he has done on the field from a production standpoint – is equally impressive.

“I’ve been pretty pleased. I don’t want to judge just last week’s game because he made a bunch of big plays and he could have gotten a little help, he could have made a bunch more. I’ve been very pleased with John Brantley,” he said. “I’ve been pleased in a lot of aspects. He’s capable of making every throw. You talk about physical mechanics, [but] I’m just as concerned with mental mechanics, and I’ve probably been most pleased there.

“It’s interesting how people can be analytical. I just go by production. I go by production. The guy’s completing two-thirds of his passes, which is usually what you’re shooting for on a regular basis. That is usually a pretty good measure that the guy is throwing pretty accurately.”

Brantley was severely limited on Saturday against Georgia as his sore ankle did not allow him to take snaps from under center because twisting it caused some discomfort. The original plan was for freshman QB Jacoby Brissett to take a number of snaps from under center, but UF decided not to go that way. Weis would not tip his hand as far as to the plan for this week but said that he was hopeful that Brantley would be able to do more things offensively.

“He can get under center. He is also politicking for me to be under center more. The question comes: Will we use both under center and not under center? Yes. The question comes: How effective can you be when you’re doing it?” Weis explained. “Is he capable of doing it? Yes, he is, but we’ll have to see how the week goes. We’ll just have to wait and see how the week goes. His mobility is better this week than it was last week, but I’m not going to come in here on Tuesday and say, ‘John’s not moving very well so we’re going to shotgun snap the whole game.’”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On where he will call plays from on Saturday: “I intended in the game, you saw our mentality was a totally different attack than what we had been doing. That is what we had geared up for this past week. That’s really not the mode that I intend to be in this week, so I’ll probably be back down on the field.”

» On the idea of developing the freshman quarterbacks by playing them this year: “The most important thing is to beat Vanderbilt. You do anything and everything just to beat Vanderbilt. The best thing for this program is to beat Vanderbilt. It’s not what I’m going to do with Jacoby or Jeff [Driskel]. That’s the best thing. Whatever gives us the best chance to do that, I think it’s bigger than development is winning the next game at home and homecoming and all that other stuff. I think that’s the most important thing.”

» Weis said that all of the tight ends – including freshman A.C. Leonard and redshirt junior Omarius Hines – will “show up in the game” on Saturday.

» On redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey’s ankle injury and how it might hinder him on Saturday: “He’s one of those guys who is banged up. Would he be full speed today? No. He wouldn’t be full speed today. The only problem with guys like Rainey and [Jeff] Demps is when they get banged up – because their whole game is their speed – if by Saturday they can’t play up to that speed than you’re better off really limiting their role because that’s their game. Their game is utilizing their speed.”

» On the offensive line’s protection difficulties: “Obviously we’ve given up a lot more sacks. The first half of the year we had given up two sacks through four games. We’ve given up a lot more sacks. Then again, sacks aren’t always just the line’s fault. Sometimes a back didn’t chip or sometimes a guy ran a wrong route or sometimes a quarterback held the ball too long. There’s a lot of things like that. Obviously our production in the run game has gone down drastically. Some of that could be the teams you play against and the different in talent you go against. The line would be dissatisfied with how they played in the last month, but [they can] join the club. There’s a lot of elements of our offense that would feel the same way.”

» On junior tackle Xavier Nixon’s recent slump: “The thing with X is, it’s important to him. When you see somebody’s sideline demeanor be like that, it’s because it’s important. If it wasn’t important, it would be more laissez fair like, ‘Oh well.’ No one wants bad things to happen. No one wants to give up sacks. No one wants to give up pressures. He’s no different than anyone else. It’s interesting to see how they come back. On Sunday morning there’s a voluntary lift because we just got back from the game. One of the first guys there working out was Xavier. It tells you he wasn’t going to let that game be a deterrent from getting him ready to play in the next game. When they come moping in later in the afternoon and ducking for cover, that’s really when you have to have a bigger concern.”

» On the health of certain players on offense: “I have sore eyes because I’ve been watching the stuff I’ve been putting out there.”

» On if he is surprised how bad Florida struggled even with Brantley out: “I thought the rest of that Alabama game was going to be a bit of a struggle. Going into LSU, I thought that would be a bit of a struggle, especially when Jacoby was dialed up after he hadn’t had a snap. I thought that would have been a bit of a struggle. I felt that if we were going to have to win the game it was going to have to be a low-scoring game, and it didn’t play like that. I’m disappointed when you lose to anybody. I’m most disappointed that, in the last two weeks, we didn’t make enough plays on offense to win the last two games. That’s probably my biggest disappointment. Those were two games that you can’t say we were mismatched opponents. That’s probably my thing I’m discouraged about the most.”

» On the touchdown pass on fourth-and-19: “Because we were uncertain in the kicking situation, we had a yardage where between this yardage and this yardage we would go for it regardless of the down and distance. You didn’t expect it to be third-and-a million at the time. One of the things they tend to do some, which is a little unusual, is in long yardage situations they blitz more than some teams do. They try to trigger you into a sight adjust. And then they go make the play and the play’s over. In this case, what they did is they brought a low weak safety blitz. John stepped up and the weak safety could never get there from the outside and Jordan was running wide open down the middle of the field. We were trying to score. We were throwing to the end zone. That was set everyone vertical.”

» On if sophomore RB Trey Burton’s Wildcat package still exists: “We have packages every week. It’s just a question of, when he goes in there, it’s usually a very heavy run-oriented field. When you put him in there, you see what their adjustment is going to be to what you’re doing and you know pretty quickly how much of a lifespan you’re going to have in what you end up doing.”

3 Comments

  1. MG says:

    I must be watching a different Gator team than these coaches speak of.

  2. Bob Mack says:

    Some “square peg” players CAN, and DO, become “round peg” players, Charlie. Case in point (among many others):
    Antoine Randall El……quarterback turned RB, WR or TE whatever……

  3. G8trpls says:

    ..So I guess we can expect more of this?
    All I hear are the obvious problems, no solutions.
    I guess it’s just like the old saying goes “you can’t polish a turd.”

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