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.”
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.