Expect some tweaks to Florida offense

 

Gainesville, Fla.—I’m spending a couple of days at Florida, the defending national champions. For a team that returns its entire defense plus the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, there is a lot of stuff going on.

I spent Monday visiting with assistant coaches and attending the afternoon practice. Here are a few observations with Florida’s spring game coming up on Saturday:

 

The basics will not change under new offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, but there will be a couple of tweaks. Addazio takes over for Dan Mullen, who is now the head coach at Mississippi State. Addazio was the Florida offensive line coach but he’s been a coordinator before so he knows the drill. The transition is going smoothly because under Urban Meyer, putting together the offense has always been a collaborative effort. Everybody in the room adds their expertise and the coordinator’s job is to, well, coordinate.

“My job is to make sure everybody in the room is looking at the offense with the same set of eyes,” Addazio said. “There are basic things we believe in and those are not going to change. We are going to do what we do.”

But you’re going to see a couple of adjustments in the Florida offense this fall. No. 1, they are working on an I-formation package that will put quarterbacks Tim Tebow and John Brantley under center. Meyer wants a downhill power running game when it is needed. He also wants to be able to put Tebow under center from time to time to calm down the skeptics who wonder about his NFL potential.

Florida will pick up the pace on offense. Florida averaged 43.6 points with only 62 plays per game last season. Meyer, Addazio, and new QB coach Scot Loeffler are working with a no-huddle, up-tempo package in a effort to get more plays and hopefully more points. “With the new clock rules you have to have it (the no huddle) in your offense,” Meyer said.

 

Tebow’s throwing motion looks better. The left hander has always had a long throwing motion. Despite the critics, he seems to make the big throws when Florida needs them. Just ask Alabama. But Loeffler, who has tutored a number of really good quarterbacks including Michigan’s Tom Brady, has worked with Tebow on his mechanics and footwork. During Monday’s practice it was obvious that Tebow’s throwing motion is now more compact and that the ball has a tighter spiral. Tebow has thrown his share of wounded ducks as a college quarterback. It is clear to me that Meyer is going to do everything he can, within the framework of the team, to help Tebow get ready for the NFL.

“I can’t tell you what the NFL guys are thinking but I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of good quarterbacks,” said Loeffler, who also worked with Chad Henne and John Navarre during his time with Michigan. “Tim has that IT, that all great quarterbacks have.”

 

John Brantley is going to be a star: A year ago Brantley, a rising redshirt sophomore, got a few chances to show off the talented arm that made him a highly-recruited quarterback out of Ocala. This season he will be a major factor in the offense as Florida prepares for the post-Tebow era. You only have to watch Brantley for five minutes in practice to realize that he has an NFL arm.

“He’s a special talent,” Loeffler said.

In 2006 Chris Leak was the starting quarterback and Florida developed a package of plays for Tebow, the freshman. This season Brantley will play that same role with a package of plays that will force opposing defensive coordinators to spend extra time preparing for the change of pace when Brantley comes in the game.

 

Florida is finding some depth on the offensive line: The concern going into spring was finding two new offensive tackles. Well, Florida has them and more. Carl Johnson (6-6, 330) and Marcus Gilbert (6-6, 308) are going to be the tackles and they will be good ones. But keep an eye on sophomore Matt Patchan (6-6, 250). He went over to defense last season to help out but is back on offense. He needs to put on some bulk but is athletic enough to do it. Also keep an eye on redshirt freshman Sam Robey (6-4, 290). He is the son of former Kentucky basketball star Rick Robey and is pushing hard to be starter. “I feel pretty good about offensive linemen one through four, but I think you have to have eight guys to play in the SEC,” Addazio said. “We have to identify five, six, seven, and eight.”

 There was some disappointing news on Monday as guard Maurkice Pouncey had shoulder surgery and is out for Saturday’s spring game.  Pouncey, a junior, will need three months to recover.

 

The injuries are piling up: Don’t expect a lot of fireworks for Saturday’s Florida Spring game. Pouncey was one of four additional starters who will not participate, Meyer said at the end of practice on Monday. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive linemen Lawrence Marsh and Carlos Dunlap will miss the game. Meyer said he may adjust the format because of all the injuries.

 

151 comments Add your comment

UGA73

April 14th, 2009
11:02 am

Gator Mike – Finally, a reasonable Gator fan with a good idea of fact and not hype. UF is clearly better than UGA at the most important position…COACH. The talent base is about the same at both schools the difference is execution and discipline, of which UGA is sorely lacking. We will enjoy our trip down to J-ville this year to watch another Urban steam rolling.

azcat225

April 14th, 2009
11:09 am

I’m still trying to decide if “m” is 12 years old or 82 years old. Maybe he’s an incredibly immature 62 year old. And now, apparently, a homophobe.

Atlanta Jackets, calling Nesbitt a robot would imply durability. He’s as fragile as Chipper Jones, and that’s saying a lot. Get back to us when he goes more than three games in a row without an injury.

DIAMOND DAWG

April 14th, 2009
11:12 am

THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE DAWG!!!

NorthSide Dawg

April 14th, 2009
11:26 am

The Dawgs take control of the series with UF, starting this year in Jax. The dawg D will pound Tebow like 2 years ago, who doesn’t have Harvin anymore, and UF has no big play receivers. Richt and his coaches have the date of that Uf game circled—it will be the only game they focus on all season. UGA wins by 10—mark it down.

wiley

April 14th, 2009
11:28 am

wait wait wait….your calling PJ classless when your team does the souja boy after winning….and does a stomping dance after scoring a touchdown….PJ was pointing to tech fans in the stand…think before you type.

m

April 14th, 2009
11:35 am

Paul Johnson had been heckled by a bunch of dawgies who kept yelling that ugag wasn’t appy st or citadel. And Johnson just agreed with them…he told them that he agreed that ugag wasn’t appy st or citadel, because appy st or citadel would’t have quit in the 3rd quarter. I realize that you dawgs are complete idiots but you need to realize this….Paul Johnson is not Chan Gailey. He is going to kick your sorry arses year after year. Just like O’leary did. I am going to laugh at you pitiful pups from now on and so is Paul Johnson. TGAG.

DawgBite

April 14th, 2009
11:49 am

Classless is as classless does and getting in public pizzing contest with 18 year olds is about as classless as it gets. Prima Donna Paul will get his azz handed to him this year in the ACC. He won’t beat VT, he won’t beat UNC and will more than likely lose 5 or 6.

Otto

April 14th, 2009
11:53 am

O’leary went 3-5 against UGA.

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
11:56 am

An alternative viewpoint that you likely won’t hear in the media is that Florida is getting a little arrogant and trying to get cute. Tebow under center? He’s done more than fine up to this point in the shotgun. Why mess with a good thing? No doubt Florida was playing out of its heads at the end of last season and is the hands down favorite to win it all this year, but carrying over that momentum from one season to another can prove difficult. Ask any Georgia fan. We know. “Tweaks” to the offense are just the sort of thing that can kill it. Moreover, worrying about someone’s NFL draft stock could mean that Meyer isn’t keeping his eye on the ball. That could prove a distraction. Florida isn’t immune to these sorts of things.

Again, just an alternative viewpoint. The media wouldn’t dare say such things about their darling Gators. Florida could go 14-0 next year for all I know. Just something to think about.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
12:14 pm

Dean,

If you watched the Bama/Auburn game last year Mcelroy drove Bama down for 2 4th quater scores. He was 2 for 2 with about 50 yards and a 35 yard bullet over the shoulder to Maze. This kid has a great arm, he can manage the game real well, If he can stay healthy all year, we will have great year. To answer your question, yes i think he will be a better starter. I believe he will be a 3 year starter at Bama, he will break all of the passing records at Bama, and will be a first or early second rounder. So many times last year, our receivers would be wide open and Wilson would underthrow the pass just enough where the receiver had to slow down to catch it. Either the DB would gain ground and break the pass up or the receiver would be tackled immediately. Mcelroy can hit the the receivers at full stride and drop it right over the shoulder. This is why our Offense will be more dynamic than last year. ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe Next Year

April 14th, 2009
12:14 pm

Whatever NorthSide Dawg. After hearing Richt’s “we’re going to get back to basics” speech he’s starting to sound like Phil Fulmer without the NC. I hope Richt, Bobo, and Martinez stay at UGA for a long time.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 14th, 2009
12:21 pm

Gator Mike, good classy post.

athensdawg, Stafford=$30,000,000 signing bonus before he even sees an NFL field as a player. I won’t fault the kid for that one.

Otto, don’t forget the 3 Super Bowls that O’Leary took Tech to. At least that is what his resume says

ReptilesRule

April 14th, 2009
12:29 pm

“Meet the new Boss…Same as the old Boss”

volfanbudman

April 14th, 2009
12:31 pm

Lane Kiffin has not been mentioned on a while, so there.

Jumbo

April 14th, 2009
12:44 pm

Longtime LSU season ticket holder living in Dawg nation. Nice post Gator Mike. It is nice to see an objective blog without criticizing other schools like many do on here. Last season was the first time since ‘80 that I have not been to the LSU game in Gainesville. The Gators are the team to beat. I think UGA wins 9 games and maybe 10. I think it is a toss up right now in the west among LSU, Bama and Ole Miss.

JustCallMeChamp

April 14th, 2009
12:44 pm

For those wishing and hoping and praying for the great Florida fall after TT…I introduce you to Johnny Brantley, 2006 Elite 11 QB (MVP of the camp), 2006 National Gatorade Prep Player of the Year, US Army All American, breaker of Tim Tebows (yes, THAT Tim Tebow) Fla High School TD passing record (99),Florida Gator Legacy player, Lazer armed and ready to be the next great Gator QB. Good luck men…

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
12:58 pm

Lets wait until Richt drops a couple of 5 win seasons before we draw any Fulmer comparisons, mmmkay? Thanks.

Nachos

April 14th, 2009
1:00 pm

UGA fans: delusional, trash talking, Get ‘em next, wastes of human flesh. See above for proof.

Gator Growl

April 14th, 2009
1:00 pm

Quetion: Who will be Florida Gators power downhill runner? Answer: He goes by the name of Superman.

Atlanta Gator

April 14th, 2009
1:04 pm

m—As the younger generation like to say, “talk to the hand.” Sometimes one can almost swallow your inane bravado. Today, you have crossed the line into truly delusional.

Anytime your athletic director wants to revive the Florida-Georgia Tech series, he can pick up the phone and call Jeremy Foley. I am sure the UAA could squeeze Tech into the schedule for Florida’s homecoming or a one-time neutral site game in Atlanta, Tampa or Orlando. Don’t worry about filling the Georgia Dome; the Gator fans will take care of that problem for you.

My advice: before you take on the SEC’s Gators, perhaps the Yellow Jackets should find a way to consistently beat the ACC’s Cavaliers.

Good luck.

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
1:08 pm

Georgia Tech won’t even schedule Georgia Southern. That should tell you all you need to know about Florida’s chances of scheduling the cowards on North Avenue.

Gatorzone

April 14th, 2009
1:24 pm

Huh?, the Gators could get too cute by 1/2 but I do not think that will happen. I agree with all of you guys saying injuries could decimate the Gators, but UF does have lots of depth. Speaking of injuries, the Falcons should draft Cornelius Ingram in the second round!
Thoughts?

Jethro Tull

April 14th, 2009
1:26 pm

Mutts talking smack to the Gators after a 49-10 blowout of your most important game of the year WITH the preseason #1 team. Now that’s funny. I expect nothing different from you clowns.

WIshful Thinking

April 14th, 2009
1:27 pm

The cowards from North Avenue beat the preason #1 in Athens. PJ fears nobody.

Atlanta Jackets

April 14th, 2009
1:41 pm

A robot can lose a bolt or two and when repaired be as strong as ever. That’s what’s being done now. Nesbot is having a gear or two rebuild. Like you rednecks working on your Nascars. Can you relate to that? I thought so. The Robot will be back in mutt destroying mode soon enough. And if a gaytor gets in the way, oh well… LOL!

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
1:58 pm

“The cowards from North Avenue beat the preason #1 in Athens.”

And Ole Miss beat the BCS CHampion Gators. And Oregon State beat USC. Heck, even Vandy got a win against us a couple of years ago. They didn’t flip out and pee their pants over it though like the Techies. See a pattern here Techie? They are called FLUKES. I don’t see Ole Miss, Oregon State, or Vandy fans popping off at the mouth like they won the damn Super Bowl, do you? One fluke victory over their instate rival in 8 flippin’ years and the Techies are the mouths of the south. Throw in a Chicken Bowl appearance and you’ve apparently got yourself a miracle season worthy of a commerotive coke bottle. Tech fans are an absolute disgrace. Please keep embarassing yourselves. I love it.

LSWho?

April 14th, 2009
1:59 pm

Saint Nick, I believe McElroy is a junior this season & should be a two year starter. I agree though, JPW definitely had trouble with the deep ball (Sugar Bowl).

athensdawg

April 14th, 2009
2:04 pm

kalamazoo – that’s exactly where I have a problem. Never was a Stafford fan, and that darn sure seals the deal for me.

I’m old fashioned enough to still believe that a college player should show loyalty for 4 years, get his degree and then turn pro.

Blackberry Cobbler

April 14th, 2009
2:14 pm

I hate the gayturds. But one things pretty certain, I bet their offense during the spring game won’t near as lethargic as UGAs. UGA looks pathetic.

Jonathan

April 14th, 2009
2:15 pm

atl jacket – Im a tech fan but you sound like an moron. Please stop with the stupidity…

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
2:18 pm

“I’m old fashioned enough to still believe that a college player should show loyalty for 4 years, get his degree and then turn pro.”

Then you need to direct your whining at the NFL which makes the rules and not Stafford. Stafford is just doing what anyone with half a brain would do. He is doing what Tebow would do if he hadn’t been projected as a 3rd round draft pick. You aren’t old fashioned, just clueless. Thanks.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
2:20 pm

LSWHO?,

Mcelroy I believe is a redshirt sophomore. He has been in the system 3 years.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
2:23 pm

No, my bad he is a redshirt junior. He redshirted Shula’s last season.

Mtn Bama

April 14th, 2009
2:33 pm

McElroy is a junior. As for the rest of the facts, Bama will be a better offensive team this year, Bama is is going to be a truly dominate defensive team this year, SECCG will be Bama vs. Fl in what may be the best game in college football in a long time.

BAMA STAN

April 14th, 2009
2:39 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Gators are on a role!!!
– Uraban is smart to prepare for life after Tebow with a “Brantley” Package.
– If they sit around and do nothing – that means they are being complacent – Urban will work to improve this team – regardless of how successful 2008 was.
– UGA fans can be hope for the best – but the reality is the Gators will beat UGA by 2 or more touchdowns again next year.

Reality – UGA will have a good team in 2009 – but not a great team. You do not have a great QB for next year – Cox arm strength may not even be average – yes we know that he as incredible leadership qualities – but he had to “muscle up” his throws to get the ball 35 – 40 yards down field in the G day game.

Also – I think Richt is a good coach
– will get UGA a good share of wins each year
– but I wonder if he is too nice a guy.
– It appears he lacks the intensity that Urban, Nick and Les bring to the table. All three of these guys are intense and very focussed. UGA is very good – but can they be great? – or have they settled into being respectable – SEC’s 4th/5th best team year in and year out.

Brandon

April 14th, 2009
2:46 pm

Tony, What in the world will Florida do if Tim Tebow has a season ending injury?

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
2:53 pm

Richt is so nice that he’s laid a combined 86 points on Mr. Intesity Les Miles the two times they have coached against each other. Geez, imagine what he’d do to ole Les if he ever got mad.

You are a moron.

Villa Rica DAWG

April 14th, 2009
2:54 pm

Let’s face it… Until we can consistantly compete with UF, we can’t say crap when their douche bag fans start heckling us…

Come on Richt. Coach us to a streak on the Gators man!

Villa Rica DAWG

April 14th, 2009
2:56 pm

go to you tube and search “florida gators corrine” and pick the one with sub-titles…

Brandon

April 14th, 2009
2:57 pm

Coach Richt owns Les Miles!!!!!!!

Dawg Man

April 14th, 2009
2:59 pm

That loss to Ga Tech was a fluke! Put it down on paper—UGa beats Tech this year and next like a rented mule! GA athletes are better than anything Tech can put on the field. After that loss last year, Richt and UGA will prepare for the game, which they didn’t do last year, expecting an easy win. Face it—they didn’t show up. This year in Atlanta, Ga wins by double digits: UGA 37 Bugs 20

JB

April 14th, 2009
3:00 pm

Bama Stan. Good insight…..As you can imagine, most Dawg fans love him to death. He has gotten us a notch or two above Donnan. But………. he has a coach or two on his staff that are not top notch SEC
caliber guys…….He’s loyal to a fault……He’ll let the ship go down before he throws a crew member or two overboard to save the ship. We see a lot of potential, but we lack that foaming at the mouth killer instinct. Have you noticed we have barely beat Vandy and Kentucky the last two years. Yes, I know they are better, but……..
One example will be this year with QB….. If This kid from Florida is better than Cox, it will not matter. This will be an interesting year in Athens.

DawginLex

April 14th, 2009
3:08 pm

So I’m supposed to buy everything that BAMA STAN says? 4th or 5th best team in the SEC year in and year out?

2001-Richt’s first year puts the stamp on the program by going to UT and winning

2002-fluke loss to Florida keeps UGA out of title game-SEC champs

2003-SEC east champs-lose to eventual national champ LSU

2004-fluke loss to Ut in Athens keeps UGA from winning SEC east again

2005-SEC champs with DJ running the show. Knee injury vs Ark keeps UGA from going undefeated

2006-Plays true freshman QB and gets 9 wins-Only year where BAMA stan logic applies

2007-Arguably the best team in the country at the end of the year

2008-another 10 win season but underachieved because of injuries

So BAMA STAN, how does this recap = your logic of 4th or 5th best team in the SEC? I see a team competing for the SEC title every year, winning 2 and coming close in all but 2 years.

Now let’s compare the great and might Crimson tide during this same period. Nah, let’s not embarrass you further

CLASS DISMISSED

BAMA STAN

April 14th, 2009
3:25 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Huh? and Brandon – you are correct – Richt’s teams have beaten Miles’ LSU teams the two times they met.

However – with the exception of last yesr – call in a transition year – Miles teams have garnered more national respect and he won a National Title. I do think that the 2007 UGA team was on such a role at the end of the year – that if the could have made it to the SEC Title game – they would have beaten LSU and played (and won) a National Title – but that team did not gel until the Florida game – spanked by Tennessee that year (did not even show up) and as I recall – kicked a game winner against Vandy end of the game.

I submit to you that LSU will beat UGA in Athens this year. I think the UGA team will be similar to LSU 2008.

However, LSU is not the concern for UGA. Florida is the concern – followed by Tennessee, Auburn and SC.

I also think that Tennessee will be Tennessee again under Kiffin. I personally hope he flops – but the talent base is there – and he put together a top 10 recruiting class – and they have new found enthusiam in Knoxville – as Fulmer apparently had gone stale.

Jury is out on Auburn – like Tennessee – talent base is there – and they dang near beat UGA last year. Auburn will be interesting to watch in 2009 – Defense will be very good under Chizik/Roof – Offense will be the key.

Man – the SEC is just friggin incredible.

As far as UGA – again – I wonder if Richt improve UGA up to Florida’s level? I think that they have settled in to the role of battling for 2nd /3rd in the SEC East – and battling for the 3rd/4th/5th SEC position. Urban and his staff are the standard ….. and just an entire level ahead of UGA – and maybe the rest of the SEC.

As for Bama – it will be us or LSU in the SEC West.

I think Ole Miss is as good as they will ever be with Nutt – a very good team but – very Donnanesque. Guarranteed 8 wins minimum – 9/10 wins here and there – and a bowl victory – but will be 3rd/4th best SEC West team year in and year out with Auburn. Very good teams – but LSU and Bama will be a notch better.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dawgmanx

April 14th, 2009
3:27 pm

I will never understand how you call yourself a die hard dawg fan and we ain’t ole mis or we can’t beat UF don’t call yourself a fan if you don’t believe because we don’t need your negativity.

Atlanta Jackets

April 14th, 2009
3:29 pm

Jonathon, you’re a mutt in disguise. Shut your pie hole! I paid for the pizza now get off my porch! LOL! Burn.

Bama Stan, didn’t we put an end to your claim of 12 national titles? Jeez. Get over it. You have a nice little engineering school admit the sports rec and hospitality departments. It’s cute.

THWG!

TS

April 14th, 2009
3:41 pm

Who is UGA’s receivers coach? How many passes did those guys drop Saturday? It looked like those receivers hadn’t touched a ball since January. They better start catching the ball. You don’t have Stafford’s “rocket arm” excuse anymore.

JB

April 14th, 2009
3:41 pm

I just want to finish my day with this. Tech is toast. We will whip them from here on out. Richt won’t let that joke happen again.

Tom

April 14th, 2009
3:52 pm

How close to tying the series record will Dan Magill let the Gators get before he picks out some prior losses to UF to start “not counting” to prevent it.

Hey, it’s worked before.

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
3:55 pm

Mr. Intensity Les Miles brought a nationally ranked #3 team into the 2005 SECCG and Richt kindly sent him home with a 20 point loss, so don’t act like Richt has only beaten Les’ team in “transitional” years. I’m sure Richt apologized for the lopsided a$$ whooping after the game because he’s such a nice guy. You are full of crap.

Richt is a very respectable 5-6 against Miles, Saban, and Meyer. Why is that respectable? Because they are freaking great coaches with talented teams. There isn’t a football coach that has ever graced the face of this earth that would do much better than .500 against that lot. That’s SEC football. I mean, Urban Meyer is only 4-5 against LSU, Alabama, and Auburn. You can pick and choose records and stats all day long to make ANY coach look bad in the SEC. Its not that hard. Your assertion that Richt is too nice of a guy to compete with these guys is absolutely absurd.