Muschamp on positions, coaching, discipline

In addition to discussing his 18 new players and the recruiting process in general, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke on a number of other topics Wednesday during his National Signing Day press conference.

POSITION CHANGES FOR QUARTERBACKS

Addressing whether or not frosh quarterback Jeff Driskel has a legitimate opportunity to win the starting job in 2011, Muschamp (like most new coaches) related that every starting job on the football team is open to competition.

“It’s not just the quarterback position. I don’t look at that position as [different from] any other. Every position, every day needs to be earned,” he said. “The best motivator in any sport or anything is competition. When a guy knows he has to go out and compete for his job every day, he’s going to play well.”

However, Muschamp did note that Florida is deficient in their depth at signal caller, even though the Gators technically have five quarterbacks on the team with the addition of Driskel. In addition to redshirt junior starter John Brantley, Florida has QBs in redshirt freshman Jordan Reed and freshmen Trey Burton and Tyler Murphy.

As has been assumed, Muschamp’s comment cements the likelihood that at least two of those players will change or adjust their position assignments.

“Trey was a guy that’s been talked about as a defensive back,” Muschamp noted, “but I’m not so sure he’s not better suited to be on the offensive side of the ball as a fullback move and still have some sort of package for him at the quarterback position. Jordan’s a guy that we’re still working through the process with him of where he’ll end up. He’s an outstanding athlete and will be an integral part of what we do offensively, I can tell you that.”

Reed, who was moved to tight end before being needed behind center in 2010, may end up back in that role while Burton, who noted via his Twitter account that he was planning a move to defense, could be used as an H-back and short-yardage QB. That would leave Brantley, Murphy and Driskel as the team’s three signal callers.

INVOLVEMENT IN THE SECONDARY

With just three years of coaching experience, Travaris Robinson was hired by Muschamp to coach the team’s defensive backs. Though he has confidence in Robinson, who he described as “a winner” who has “competed at the highest level in this sport and is a good young coach,” Muschamp plans on being involved in the secondary just as former head coach Urban Meyer was in the special teams.

“I hope they play better than me, I can tell you that,” said Muschamp, who was a defensive back at Georgia. “‘Do as I say, not as I did,’ is my motto as a coach. I’m going to be very involved in the defense and very involved in the secondary. I’ll be working primarily with the safety position.”

FIRST TEST OF HIS DISCIPLINE

With junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins being cited for possession of marijuana, Muschamp was faced with his first discipline issue almost immediately after stepping foot on campus. Considering the matter closed and none of the public’s business, he said Wednesday that, “It’s all being handled internally, and I’ve handled the situation.”

Photo Credit: GatorVision capture

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TWO BITS: Weis high on Brissett; surgeries

1 » Friday marked new Florida Gators offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Charlie Weis’s first day on the job, and he spent it in West Palm Beach, FL trying to recruit four-stars quarterback Jacoby Brissett and linebacker Curt Maggitt of Dwyer High School. Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer had previously offered Brissett the opportunity to greyshirt, but a visit by Weis followed by a phone call to new head coach Will Muschamp after the meeting netted Brissett an official scholarship offer on Friday. Maggitt already had an outstanding offer to join the Gators.

Dwyer head coach Jack Daniels told the Palm Beach Post that Weis showcased one of his Super Bowl rings and told “a ton of stories about what he’s done and situations he’s handled.” Brisset will take an unofficial visit to Gainesville, FL over the weekend to get a look at the school and watch the Florida-South Carolina basketball game (a former schoolmate plays for USC). The Gators hope to convince both Brissett and Maggitt to take an official visit to Florida before the recruiting cycle closes. [Read more of what Daniels had to say from the Post.

With Gators freshman QB Trey Burton expected to move to the defensive side of the ball (possibly safety), Florida would have five quarterbacks on its roster should Brissett commit. Redshirt junior John Brantley announced he is not transferring, five-star frosh Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) is already enrolled, and both redshirt freshman Jordan Reed and freshman Tyler Murphy are currently listed as QBs. Reed is also a tight end and could permanently switch to that position, and Murphy could theoretically change positions as well though he has come out and said he only wants to play quarterback.

2 » Muschamp announced Friday that freshman LB Neiron Ball and redshirt sophomore guard David Young both underwent surgery this past week. Ball, who played in all of Florida’s contests on special teams in 2010, had surgery to repair a sports hernia. Young had hardware cleaned out of his left knee from a prior surgery and only participated in two games this past season. Expectations are that Ball will be able to get work in during spring practice, but Young will most likely have to wait until the summer.

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1/1: Meyer, Black speak after Outback Bowl win

The Florida Gators defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 37-24 at the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL on Saturday afternoon. Below are quotes from head coach Urban Meyer and game MVP senior safety Ahmad Black (as well as thoughts from freshman cornerback Cody Riggs and Penn State head coach Joe Paterno), all of whom spoke with the media immediately after the contest.

HEAD COACH URBAN MEYER

On Black winning the MVP: “I think that’s rather appropriate that Ahmad Black, the best safety in college football, won that [MVP] award.”

Opening statement thank yous: “I have a lot of people to thank. Obviously I want to acknowledge Penn State – that was a tough crew. That defensive line, our guys told me, was as tough and physical as anyone we’ve had to go against all year. Obviously Joe Paterno, the finest coach in all of college football history. And the Penn State University, that was a classy game. That was two teams going as hard as they possibly can. Not a bunch of nonsense going on. Just playing hard. It was a honor to coach in that game.”

On his halftime speech and turning the game around: “Our goal was to get to the second level somehow and they were doing a very good job. When you have three weeks to prepare, Penn State did a heck of a job. They made some adjustments on their defense. They did some stuff that they hadn’t shown, but we knew they would do that. I thought Coach [Steve] Addazio did a heck of a job. Jordan Reed is a hell of a player. Jordan Reed did a great job moving that offense. With it up-tempo, I think they wore out a little bit. I think possession time was substantial for the Gators in that second half and you could see them start to give a little bit. Our defense was hanging in there the whole game. We were awful in the first half on offense, but we came back with special teams and in the second half our offense played very good.”

On his letter to Paterno: “I’ve said that’s been the story all week and it’s all true. He will go down as the greatest football coach in the history of the game, and he should. Every young coach, in my opinion, should take a lesson from him, not some of this other stuff going on. If I ever start a coaching school, I am going to make everybody do a book report on Joe Paterno and say that’s the way you should act in coaching. That’s college football. And that’s what players should take away from a guy like him. You just don’t want to lose that man. You don’t want to lose what college football is. That was college football out there today.”

On singing the alma mater and fight song with the crowd: “My wife started crying, so she choked me up a little bit. You could obviously see what she was wearing and all of the kids, they love Florida. We have given six years – six equals about 40 years of your life – to Florida and we couldn’t have dreamed to do it anywhere else because this is our place. We love it. To sing that fight song one last time and to go salute the band – we have the best band in the country – and shake hands with our band director, that was real special.”

On Black: “Ahmad Black is one of my closest friends, and I can call him a friend now because he’s not my player. He’s family. Ahmad Black was not the Ahmad Black when we got him four years ago. Ahmad Black has turned into a grown man, a grown man who is going to pay taxes some day, a grown man who is going to have a family some day. He’s going to be a great father and a great husband because Ahmad Black is a grown man now. He has a great family. His relationship with Chuck Heater, and I made a comment about that, if it’s done right, the player-coach relationship is second only to that of your family. He’s can attest to that. Ahmad Black wasn’t what he is when we got him. Now that he’s leaving here, he’s everything and more. I’m very proud of him.”

Many more thoughts from Meyer, Black and Paterno…after the break!
Continue Reading » 1/1: Meyer, Black speak after Outback Bowl win

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Meyer exits with a smile as Gators pick off Nittany Lions 37-24 in 2011 Outback Bowl

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer wanted to go out with a bang and senior safety Ahmad Black – perhaps Meyer’s favorite player on the team – made sure that was exactly what happened. With the Penn State Nittany Lions threatening to score a potential game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Black intercepted quarterback Matthew McGloin and returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown to ice a 37-24 win for the Gators in the 2011 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

Florida (8-5) defeated Penn State (7-6) on Saturday in Tampa, FL behind a defense that intercepted McGloin five times and an offense that did not commit a single turnover after giving up the ball twice in the first quarter. Redshirt junior QB John Brantley threw an interception on UF’s first play from scrimmage, and freshman QB Trey Burton fumbled into the end zone when the Gators were threatening to score from the one.

Rallying from a 17-14 deficit at halftime, Florida scored four straight times to end the game and did not allow the Nittany Lions to put up a single point in the fourth quarter. Meyer walked away from the Gators with a win over future Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno and a 5-1 record in bowl games.

Penn State jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when McGloin hit wide receiver Derek Moye with a five yard pass.

Sophomore tight end Omarius Hines tied the game at the start of the second quarter with a 16-yard end around run for a touchdown, and redshirt sophomore defensive end Lerentee McCray put Florida up 14-7 after returning a punt blocked by freshman WR Solomon Patton 27 yards for a touchdown.

WR Michael Zodrich evened things up for the Nittany Lions with a one-yard score just minutes later, and kicker Colin Wagner helped Penn State take a 17-14 halftime lead with a 20-yard field goal.

After Gators senior punter/kicker Chas Henry hit a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 17, McGloin ran the ball in from two yards out to put PSU back put 24-17. Henry’s career-long 47-yard field goal near the end of the third reduced UF’s deficit to 24-20.

Sophomore RB Mike Gillislee helped Florida jump ahead 27-24 with a one-yard touchdown run to begin the fourth quarter, and Henry added a 20-yard field goal to put the Gators ahead 30-24 before Black’s game-sealing interception return.

Black also nabbed an interception off McGloin in the first quarter. Freshman cornerback Cody Riggs picked him off to start the second quarter, senior linebacker Brandon Hicks earned his first career interception at the end of the third quarter and redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins grabbed a pick to end the game.

Henry, who helped Florida manage its field position all game and was clutch in his field goals, had an uncharacteristic 14-yard punt go out of bounds starting at the Gators 23 and failed in a fake punt opportunity. With over seven minutes to go in the third quarter, Henry had a fake punt called in which he was supposed to throw a pass to wide open junior safety Will Hill Instead he tucked it and ran four yards – one yard short of the first down. He also had a long of 58 and downed two inside the 20 (one to the one).

Penn State outgained Florida 350-279 in total yards, 211-101 in yards through the air and 32:49-27:11 in possession time. The Gators outrushed the Nittany Lions 178-139 yards. Both teams were inefficient on third down with UF going 4-for-15 and PSU connecting on 5-of-18 attempts.

Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed, who took the vast majority of snaps behind center for Florida, finished as the team’s leading passer and rusher. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 60 yards and rushed 24 times for 68 yards. Brantley was 6-of-13 for 41 yards and an interception in mostly third down work. Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey carried the ball six times for 66 yards (including a long of 51).

Hines was the team’s leading receiver with two receptions for 27 yards. Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson and Burton each caught two passes for 22 yards.

McGloin finished 17-for-41 for 211 yards with a touchdown and five interceptions for Penn State. Running back Evan Royster – the Nittany Lions’ all-time leading rusher – carried the ball 20 times for 98 yards and added four catches for 51 yards.

Moye caught the majority of McGloin’s passes, finishing with five receptions for 79 yards and a number of first downs. CB D’Anton Lynn caught Brantley’s early interception and recovered Burton’s fumble in the first quarter.

After Black’s interception, chants of “Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer” rained down from the Gators side of the stadium. Florida improved to 16-0 under Meyer when blocking a punt in a game, a statistic he has always been proud of as the team’s head coach.

Photo Credit: Rob C. Witzel/Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

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2011 Outback Bowl Gameday Preview (Tampa, FL): Florida Gators vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Location: Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL [Capacity: 65,856]
Weather Forecast: 75°F, clear skies
Time: 1:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ABC/ABCHD
Sirius/XM: 120/140
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Joe Paterno
Record: 7-5 (4-4) Record: 7-5 (4-4)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 10
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -7; O/U 48

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is undefeated (2-0) against Penn State in the all-time series, beating them in the 1962 Gator Bowl (17-7) and 1997 Citrus Bowl (21-6). They are also 22-14-3 all-time in Tampa but only 1-2 in Outback Bowl appearances.
» Meyer is 4-1 in bowl games with the Gators and will be coaching in the Outback Bowl for the second time in his career. He and Florida defeated Iowa 31-24 in his first bowl game with the school in 2006.
» Meyer is one of nine coaches in college football history to compile multiple 20-game winning streaks and only one of two who remain active. The other is Paterno. Meyer is, however, the only active coach with three 13-win seasons on his resume.
» Penn State offensive coordinator Galen Hall was Florida’s head coach from 1984-89, compiling a 40-18-1 record with the Gators. UF defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was formerly a graduate assistant with PSU from 1991-92.
» Paterno was the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator when they lost to the Gators 17-7 in the 1962 Gator Bowl.
» Florida under Meyer is 53-3 when holding an opponent under 21 points, 57-3 when leading at the half, 62-6 when out-rushing an opponent, 49-2 when scoring first and 45-4 against unranked opponents.
» The Gators out-rank the Nittany Lions in three of the four major statistical averages. Florida is 44th in rushing yards (165.6), 48th in points scored (29.3) and 31st in points against (21.1) compared to Penn State being 75th in rushing yards (142.8), 81st in points scored (24.6) and 39th in points against (22.6). PSU, however, has the 52nd best passing game in the country (231.3 yards), while UF is 85th (191.3 yards). The teams’ only common opponent – Alabama – beat both of them handily.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has an 9-9 TD-INT ratio this season. He has completed 194-of-316 passes (61.4 percent) for 2,020 yards and has a passer rating of 118.8 on the year.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed…both of whom will spell Brantley at quarterback in Florida’s new three-QB system. Burton set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has 12 scores on the season, has played five positions and is second on the team in rushing (73 carries for 347 yards). Reed has performed admirably in limited action, completing 18-of-33 passes for 192 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He is also sixth on the team in rushing with 53 carries for 260 yards and five scores.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (531 yards) after missing two full games and being limited in seven others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey…who returned to action against Georgia after being suspended. He has been acting mostly as a rusher for UF since returning and has amassed 300 yards on 45 carries. Rainey has also caught 22 balls for 198 yards and has five total touchdowns this year.
» Redshirt freshman WR/kick returner Andre Debose…who set a school single-season record with two kickoff return touchdowns With an 88-yard return against LSU and a 99-yard return against South Carolina, he is the only freshman nationally with two in 2010 and one of only two players nationally with two in 2010.
» Sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr.…who is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most important pass catchers. He was the team’s leading receiver against Mississippi State and caught three passes for 46 yards against Georgia and another three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt the following week.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry was named the nation’s best punter this season, and Meyer often uses his leg to improve field position after offensive lapses.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 13 balls this season. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black, junior CB Janrois Jenkins, redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown, and junior S Will Hill have all picked off three balls and accounted for all but one of the unit’s picks this season.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles seven times this season: vs. South Carolina (career-high 16), LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10), USF (8) and Vanderbilt (4). He is tops on the team overall with 102 tackles, including nine for loss.

PENN STATE
» QBs Robert Bolden and Matthew McGloin…each of whom have completed 58 percent of their passes and have thrown for over 1,300 yards this season. McGlion – with a 142.6 QB rating and 13-4 TD-INT ratio – has been more productive offensively.
» RB Evan Royster…who is the Nittany Lions’ leading rusher taking 188 carries for 916 yards and six touchdowns. He also holds career-high running back marks for PSU with 3,834 yards and 29 touchdowns.
» Penn State’s receiving corps…which consists of four pass catchers with more than 25 receptions and three with more than 400 yards. Derek Moye leads PSU with 48 catches for 806 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

INJURIES

» Active: Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot)
» Inactives: Junior CB Janoris Jenkins (shoulder), redshirt senior OL Maurice Hurt (knee), redshirt senior DT Lawrence Marsh (hip), redshirt senior DT Terron Sanders (shoulder), redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks (neck), redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)
 

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12/27: Florida’s Outback Bowl practice notes

The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are some notes from the players after practice on Monday.

NO CHANGES FOR THE OFFENSE

Florida will once again play three quarterbacks in its offense according to a number of players who were asked Monday about the team’s plans on that side of the ball. Redshirt junior starter John Brantley reaffirmed those statements. “We’re still working Jordan Reed and Trey [Burton] in there. That’s what we’re going to stick with. Who knows what the defense will give us, but we’re going to stick with that and keep practicing and keep trying to execute.” Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will remain the play caller for the Gators in his final game with the team before leaving to lead Temple as head coach.

BRANTLEY REMAINS UNDECIDED ABOUT FUTURE

Speaking of Brantley, the Gators starting QB has yet to decide one way or another whether or not he will stick around next season. Brantley admitted for the first time after new head coach Will Muschamp’s introductory press conference on Dec. 14 that transferring was a consideration. “I’m still going to sit down with my family after this bowl game,” he said at the time. “I think coach Muschamp is a great coach and he’s going to have a great staff come here. But I’m still going to sit down with my family and talk about things.” His tune did not change Monday. “I haven’t really discussed it with my parents yet,” he said. “I’m really concentrating on playing this bowl game and playing the best against Penn State as I can. […] I’m a Gator. That’s what I am right now. I’m just giving all my effort to the bowl game and just acting like it’s any other bowl game or any other game.”

Asked the same thing numerous other times, Brantley repeatedly said that he would “weigh the pros and cons” of returning and playing in a new offense under Muschamp. He did, however, admit that the fact UF is going pro-style is appealing. “Pro-style offense is what I was looking for,” Brantley said. “And I’m still just gonna go home and talk and weigh the pros and cons with what Coach Muschamp wants to do and everything and go from there.”

For what it’s worth, his teammates do not think he is going anywhere. “I think Brantley’s going to say,” redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “I really think so. … [Transferring] went through everybody’s mind because I know it went through mine.”

DEMPS STILL NOT SURE-FOOTED

Junior running back Jeff Demps has yet to fully recover from the stress injury in his foot and probably will not see extensive playing time on Saturday. Nevertheless, he says his foot feels “85 percent” healthy, and he will certainly try his best to give it a go.

FOUR PLAYERS, MCCARNEY WILL BE MISSED

With four players who play extensive minutes set to miss the Outback Bowl, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter said the team is not overly worried about them being out. “We got some young guys who are going to step up. I got trust in them,” he said. “Some guys got to step up, myself included.” However when it comes to defensive line coach Dan McCarney no longer being with the team (he is now the head coach at North Texas), Hunter feels the void. “I miss coach McCarney. I do,” he said. “It’s just a different voice in your head. I’m not used to not hearing his voice in my head every play, every snap. ‘Omar, get going. Get going. Do this, do that.’”

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12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4) head coach Urban Meyer and Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) head coach Joe Paterno spoke with the media on Monday now that their respective teams have been selected for the 2011 Outback Bowl set to be played on Jan. 1, 2011, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

MUTUAL RESPECT RUNS DEEP

Meyer has always expressed his respect for those in his profession – like Paterno – who have paved the way for his success as a head football coach. Mentioning before the season that he and his wife Shelley have spent some personal time with the Paternos recently, Meyer again stated his admiration for the man on Monday. “Coach Paterno is college football,” he said. “It’s an honor to coach against him. He does it the right way.”

Paterno shared a similar sentiment. “Urban is one of my favorite people in coaching,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to play against him. He has been very innovative and ahead of things. He’s not one of those showoffs or anything like that. He is very honest. He seems to always be one step ahead of the people he is playing against.”

ADDAZIO STILL THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR – FOR NOW

Asked if Steve Addazio would retain his offensive coordinator role next season, Meyer was quick to answer. “I’m expecting that to happen. I’ll keep you updated,” he said. Though he did leave some wiggle room in his reply, Meyer has maintained that he has appreciation for Addazio and has not given any indication that he would be leaving the staff. That being said, Addazio could retain the offensive coordinator title while giving up the playcalling duties to a co-offensive coordinator – in theory.

A rumor began over the weekend that Meyer had contacted and was in the process of trying to convince Oklahoma State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dana Holgorsen to leave Stillwater, OK, for the same position and responsibilities in Gainesville, FL. Whether or not that rumors holds water remains to be seen.

He also had this to say about coaching staff changes in general. “So much happens,” Meyer said. “At this time, I can’t make any statements. There is so much going on with the profession right now.”

MCCARNEY TEMPORARILLY REPLACED

With assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney leaving the team after the regular season to take the top job with North Texas, Meyer was forced to find a suitable replacement for his team’s bowl game. He has temporarily promoted graduate assistant Tony Weaver to coach the defensive line for the Outback Bowl and will reevaluate the position after the season officially concludes.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer updated the injury status for a number of players on Monday. He said redshirt freshman QB/tight end Jordan Reed has yet to practice since suffering a concussion against Florida State, junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) is wearing a protective boot and hopes to be able to play on Jan. 1, and both redshirt senior defensive tackles Terron Sanders (shoulder) and Lawrence Marsh (hip) will likely miss the game after having surgery on their injuries last week.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

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Week 13: Gators post-game news & notes

Falling flat on their faces with an embarrassing 31-7 loss to the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles (9-3) on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL, the Florida Gators (7-5) completed their worst season under head coach Urban Meyer in lackluster fashion. OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

COMPLETE REBUILDING EFFORT PROMISED

Meyer got right to it after the loss Saturday, going on a mini-rant about what he needs to do in order to turn the Gators around immediately.

“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we would be that far down – but we are,” he said. How do you build up a program? I’ve done it a few times. You build it up with tough players, tough coaches, and you got to play better. You have to have a plan to win.

“Obviously this is the first time…2010 is the first time in 10 years we did not follow a plan to win. You can’t turn the ball over. I didn’t think our guys did not play hard…we [just] did not play smart. We did not coach smart and we didn’t take care of the ball. Four turnovers – I know at least three led to direct touchdowns. And I didn’t manage the game right on that fake punt. With that said, we’re going to be rebuild it right though, not wrong. We’re going to rebuild it right.”

He added that his immediate plan is to prepare the team to honor the seniors with a bowl win and recruit at a high level to infuse the program with some new players. “Recruit our butt off is what we’re going to do – and that starts tonight,” Meyer said. “Coaches are all on the road tomorrow, so we’re going to recruit our butt off and build this thing back up. Obviously we’re down. We got to build this thing back up. [...] How do you rebuild it? Tough-ass players and tough-ass coaches.”

THE QUARTERBACKS AND JOHN BRANTLEY

Though the three-quarterback system was cute and effective coming out of the bye week against Georgia and the following week against Vanderbilt, it has blown up in Florida’s faces over the last few games. Whether that is because of how the coaching staff has handled the transition of signal callers during drives (mostly) or simply the concept all together (somewhat), Meyer said it will certainly be looked at soon and could be completely revamped before the bowl game.

“There’s a chance, sure. I have no idea [right now]. I know one thing – we went up and down the field before our quarterback-slash-tight end got hurt. Had some decent drives. I think we ran the ball for 200-something yards. We were just really ineffective in certain areas. Really, really ineffective,” he said. “If that’s because of three quarterbacks, we’ll blow that thing completely out of the water. We’re in immediacy and then we’re in the future; right now we’re in immediacy, we’re going to do everything we can to win the bowl game and work our tail off.”

It should be noted that Meyer has referred to redshirt freshman Jordan Reed as someone who will play tight end for this team in the future, mentioning that is the position he believed he would succeed at. This is the first occasion recently that Meyer has referred to him as a quarterback, though that is probably a minor point.

One of the major issues with the system on Saturday was the fact that the coaching staff seemed to only bring redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley in on third-and-longs – obvious passing downs. Though Brantley’s performance was no doubt lackluster, he was not necessarily given a fair shake or allowed to possibly build any type of momentum throughout the contest. “Some of those are early first and 10s, it wasn’t all third and medium. But yeah, it probably is [unfair],” Meyer said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can to move the ball right now. Trying to find that mix.”

FAILED FAKE PUNT AND PENALTIES

In addition to the Gators’ three fumbles and interception, one of the most catastrophic mistakes made during the game was Meyer’s call of a fake punt on a 4th and 5 from inside Florida territory. Claiming he “just wanted to make something happen” for the team early with that call, Meyer realizes he made a game-changing mistake with the call. “It didn’t happen. It killed us,” he said.

Also of issue were the numerous drive-stalling penalties that landed the Gators in vulnerable spots throughout the game. “Awful. Real huge concern. That’s a huge concern,” he said of the miscues.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 13: Gators post-game news & notes

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