November 16, 2010 by
Florida’s Urban Meyer is in uncharted waters these days. His high-profile program derailed somewhere along the line this season. At 6-4, Meyer is just hoping to get his team to a respectable bowl game. The Gators have lost four of their last six games and will miss the SEC Championship Game for the first time in three years.
Meyer held his weekly presser yesterday, a little more humble these days…..
“Thanks for coming. This will be strictly like normally what we do this time of year and just talk about our seniors and talk about what they have meant to this program. It’s easy to do when you have a great group with a great record. With that said, I will just talk about these guys. We have 23 seniors and we have five that left last year and are out playing in the National Football League. We have two that have already graduated. Eight will graduate in December and all the others are on schedule to graduate. Obviously, that sometimes takes a hit when some of these guys take off in the spring to go to these combine preparation camps that they do. We are pushing it real hard, but I have great confidence that they will all at some point have a degree from the University of Florida. Eight players in this group played for two national championships. Eight were part of two SEC championships and three SEC Eastern Division championships. Three were part of three BCS bowl game wins. Their overall record is 41-10, 24-8 in the SEC, 22-5 at home and 11-1 against the rivals. Six Academic All-SEC selections, and they can finish as one of the winningest classes in SEC history. And they can finish as one of the top three in Florida football history. We are awful proud of these guys. I love these guys. Their leadership, obviously this season has been full of speed bumps and adversity, and I would let you know if I didn’t believe we have a good senior class. This is a great group of guys. Guys that we are all very close with and I know … I can’t speak on behalf of Gator Nation, but there are a bunch of Gator greats, and a bunch of guys that we’re awful proud that they came to the University of Florida. We want to send them out winners. That’s our whole intent this week. With that said, I will answer some questions for you.”
On whether or not Urban Meyer sets aside time every year for staff evaluation and is there a chance that Steve Addazio might not be doing the offensive coordinator job next year: I don’t think that will happen and I don’t think … I am not into blame or excuses. We’re into solutions. Right now the solution is to somehow have a great Tuesday and Wednesday. I know that is a coach-speak answer, especially around here, but that’s what we do. We started heading in the right direction. We’ve got to get the momentum back. We failed to capitalize on that last week, offensively.
On evaluating himself and next year: Well, the head coach will be back next year. I mean, I can’t say that, I hope I am. I will do the best I can to get this thing back at the elite level, which we all expect. There are some great young players that have promise. I am not sure if that’s appropriate to even talk about that right now. I just want to … These (Justin) Trattous and Brandon Antwine, by the way, played great on Saturday. Ahmad Black played great. Brandon Antwine, that’s going to be an interesting story someday when it comes out, all the adversity he has gone through. He played 33 plays and played very well. We are thinking he might get the start this week … I don’t want to … because it’s still too early, but that just … I just texted him on the way down here how proud I am of him because he will leave with a degree and some great memories, and (he’s) heck of a player.
On whether or not he evaluates what he could do differently and if he thinks changing methods or doing things differently is necessary: Yes, of course I do, absolutely. I don’t … I am not prepared to tell you that. At some point I will. I have not had a chance to … We just installed our punt for this week and kickoff return. That’s where our focus is right now. At some point, absolutely.
On if John Brantley doesn’t fit the system well or is not as good as the hype: He will start at quarterback for Florida this weekend. We have to do a better job in a lot of areas. To say it’s all our quarterback, that’s not fair, and that won’t be said. Obviously, our team wouldn’t say that. Our focus is on the task at hand, and the task at hand is to find a way to get these seniors from 41-10 to 42-10 somehow.
On recently allowing sacks and whether or not the back-up offensive linemen are too far from being ready to play that there aren’t other personnel options: You’d have to ask Steve (Addazio) that. I would say that if they were better and they gave us the best chance to win, then they would be in there, so obviously they are not there yet. If they were … I think the Matt Patchan thing has been a tough go on him and also us just because of his dynamic personality. I don’t see an offense full of life. I don’t see a lot of energy. That’s one thing, as a head coach, that concerns me and that’s all personnel-based and success-based. When you try to go recruit personalities, a great example is Mike Pouncey is full of …loves the game of football, he’s contagious, usually grades out at 90 percent and will be a great NFL football player. I don’t see that around our offense right now, so we’re trying to energize that group somehow. We thought the up-tempo would help. It did help, but we never got in a rhythm where we could utilize that energy. We’re a staff that believes that energy equals production, and when you fail to see that energy … Trey Burton gives us that. You see the energy that a guy like that provides. We are trying to push on it as hard as we can on this offensive outfit right now.
On the energy level of Jordan Reed and whether his role will expand: Perhaps. We are going to look at that this week in practice, but that’s a possibility. He does provide some energy just the way he plays. You can see the energy level, which is obviously critical at the center of the offense.
On what the purpose of the rest of the year is as it relates to next season besides winning the last two games: That’s a good question that I am not prepared to answer because I have not thought about that. We are just on Monday of Senior Day. This will be our sixth senior day and the last three senior classes have been really, really impressive. They have gone out of here winners, so we want to do the best we can to get them out. I think that is a good question. I’m just not prepared to answer it.
On if it a time to test out some things: No, we are testing out things to find solutions. Remember, we are into solutions, not blame and not excuses. If there is a way to help us win this game, then we are going to do that. The problem is we don’t have that bye week. We are going to attack it Tuesday and Wednesday like we do.