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:
» Asked about the health of his players on Wednesday, Meyer indicated that his starting offensive line, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley and running backs junior Jeff Demps and sophomore Mike Gillislee should all be good to go for Saturday’s game against LSU.
“Offensive line is in tact. I believe they’re 100 percent ready to rock and roll,” Meyer said. “Jeff Demps is probable, [he] did not practice yesterday [in full]. Gillislee did practice full.” As for Brantley? “Johnny practiced yesterday. He’s sore, but he practiced.”
» Coming out of the Alabama game and going into this week, Meyer noted that his top concern was the punt coverage unit, which allowed a 42-yard return to wide receiver Julio Jones last week. “No. 1. That is absolutely our No. 1 concern on our football team right now,” said Meyer of the coverage. The Gators must get that corrected this week with Patrick Peterson looking for similar big gains.
» Meyer also said that the team was confident about its short-yardage running game last week but feels much differently now. “We felt good going into the Alabama game and now we don’t feel good again,” he said. Gillislee is now the primary “downhill back to get the first down” and that redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody has “got to continue to improve at that position.” The youngster is Meyer’s first option, but he indicated the real improvement must come from the front as the offensive line and tight end need to block better on those plays.
No opening statement provided.
On LSU being Florida’s permanent SEC West opponent: “I know that every year-in and year-out we’re facing arguably the team with the most talent in the conference and one of the most difficult places to play. […] Every year they look the same to me.”
On what separates LSU from other teams: “The quality of player. The quality of athlete. I’ve always thought that stadium is one of the hardest in the country to play in. What makes it different is just when you see that team jog out of the tunnel that’s as good looking of a team as there is.”
On how the Gators’ “bloody Tuesday” practice went: “It was one of our better Tuesdays and today’s obviously a real critical day as well. Yeah, they did have a really nice day yesterday.”
On if freshman QB Trey Burton will be used Saturday: “We hope to use Trey a little bit in that game at quarterback.”
On senior punter/kicker Chas Henry: “Chas I thought did really well. … [Junior Caleb] Sturgis is still our kicker, as soon as he’s healthy. That kind of injury, they’re not sure how long that will be. But this week Chas will do both.”
LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles on the SEC West being better than the SEC East: “The great teams play great defense. I think the great teams can run the football and they don’t make mistakes. I think really both East and West you find that to be the case. Obviously the West here seems to get tougher and tougher each year. Of course I see those guys every year. In the East, obviously we see Florida every year and that is a very capable team. I can see at times certain teams are more capable to run it, throw it and have better defenses. I think that’s really the swing. I don’t necessarily see a big difference between East and West.”
On avoiding predictability with his two quarterbacks: “Both quarterbacks will throw and run. Both quarterbacks will have a pretty balanced menu. Both quarterbacks will run the football differently and throw in a like fashion. They’re going to have to defend the run and the pass no matter what quarterback’s in. Hopefully we’ll avoid that predictability that way.”
On Florida’s secondary and ability to intercept balls: “They have great speed. You obviously have to know where you’re throwing the football. It’s a place where you have to be careful because if you put the ball up in the air and let it hang too long it can end up in the opponent’s hands. We’re going to attack them with a full view to how they predictably play their secondary.”
This post will be updated later Wednesday with more quotes.