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

Look out for Brantley

April 14th, 2009
9:02 am

Brantley and Tebow will be a most impressive duo as they look up from the turf of the old Gator Bowl, staring into a blue, cloudless sky while the hot breath of Rennie Curran rains down on their Gator heads…..Go Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawg Food

April 14th, 2009
9:03 am

Along with Marcus Washington, Geno Atkins, Jeff Owens, et al

Alpo Gators

April 14th, 2009
9:05 am

Don’t forget up and coming Justin Houston

LSWho?

April 14th, 2009
9:09 am

Tony, who will be Florida’s “downhill-running” I-back?

bill cleary

April 14th, 2009
9:12 am

stop it puppies. you know that the national champs will once again abuse the dogs at least by 30, maybe 49. face it you are second rate when you play uf

JB

April 14th, 2009
9:21 am

I’m a big Dawg dawg fan, but a realist. Florida is a load and loaded. beatable, yes, ask Ole Miss. But, we ain’t Ole Miss and Meyer always has them worked up into a lather for us, unlike a noon kick off with Ole Miss. I do believe we will play them closer this year, as if you can stay close, you never know. It’ll be up to the D. I do believe without Tebow the following year, They come back down to earth some. But, we’ll be playing a new QB ourselves. Defense will beat them. Always has.

Dean

April 14th, 2009
9:21 am

It seems that every year we hear about how Meyer is dong different things to improve Tebow’s draft stock. Why is is so hard to expect a player of Tebow’s caliber would have any trouble in the NFL. Of course, if he is unprepared for the NFL and does not do well imagine the implications that could have for future quaterback prospects when conisdering Florida.

JB

April 14th, 2009
9:26 am

Any Florida fan will tell you the rivalry started in 1990. (It did for them.) I tip my hat to them, although that tip NEVER comes back. They call the year before last a fluke. I call it a solid win and proud to beat them that day….and we did beat them.

John Brantley

April 14th, 2009
9:27 am

Man. that’s funny! Look out for Brantley is saying that UF running backs are getting to be staring up at UGA linebacker Rennie Curran after Curran plants them into the turf? Is Rennie part of the same UGA D that surrendered 49 points to the gators last year? Is that the D you talkin bout?

gatorhead1013

April 14th, 2009
9:29 am

Tony, who will be Florida’s “downhill-running” I-back?

Emmanuel Moody!

John Brantley

April 14th, 2009
9:31 am

JB,

Gee. Thanks for tipping your cap to a team that has walloped you 16 out of 19. Sorry JB but you have no choice but to show deference to that kind of aZZwhooping on a continual basis. I see you still living in the past talking about 2 years ago. You sound like a Bammer fan. But I think they at least live in the present now.

Speaking of the Bammers are you still hoping and saying that Saban is leaving them. Same stuff you been saying for 3 years? Let me guess. You’re also saying that Urban Meyer is going to Notre Dame. Is that right?

JB

April 14th, 2009
9:34 am

I’m not sure we can man up a stud at running back yet. I have not seen any proof yet. Caleb King will have to show something else before fall. Let’s hope Samual comes back full strength, I’ll take 6,2 220
running behind our line this year. Carlton Thomas looks like a good change of pace back, maybe 8-10 carriers a game.

The General Feeling

April 14th, 2009
9:36 am

This is a diversion. Don’t expect anything to change until after Tebow leaves (he will leave one day, right?). This is about the second string QB getting a few reps on the practice field.

Urban Meyer cares nothing about Tim Tebow’s NFL darft stock. Why should he when they are well positioned to win a third BCS.

Gator Mike

April 14th, 2009
9:42 am

Tony B. has some good points and they are on target with what is coming out of Gainesville on a daily basis this Spring. As a loyal Gator, all I can say is that it is way too early for anyone to project anything (regardless of their team). Injuries can flatten a team. I fully realize that injuries had an adverse affect on the UGA Dawgs last year which significantly contributed to spoiling their aspirations. Talk is cheap at this stage for all fans of any team including mine. If the Gators keep their focus and listen to the coaches they will do very well this year, but I will not predict any championships. Anything can happen. The playrers must win the games on the field, and all of our jabbering means nothing, but it is fun. If the Gators do not win it all, I want another SEC School to do it.
Go Gators.

JB

April 14th, 2009
9:42 am

John Brantley, you have a big pie hole and happen to support a very good football team. Everything in this conference ” goes around and comes around” and Yours will again. I think most Georgia people realize that ya’ll have had our number, But look at Auburn now after taking Bama to woodshed for 7 years straight. Talking about the past, I know you were just crapping in your diaper every hour when the shoe was on the other foot, but have a little class. I know that is tough for Gator, but try it. You might enjoy college football more.

John Trent

April 14th, 2009
9:46 am

“Look out for Brantley” must be off the wagon for that first comment….It didn’t happen last year, so you must just be dreaming(again)…see you puppies in Jax!

RockSteadyFreddie

April 14th, 2009
9:46 am

Who cares about the offense? UF could average 24 pnts a game and win 10 this year with the D the gators have coming back. Come WLOCP time, UGAs colors will once again be Red Black and Teal.

JB

April 14th, 2009
9:50 am

Gator Mike…..a gator fan with class…..and a football thought with some sense.

m

April 14th, 2009
9:51 am

UFag has it made in the shade. They play in a weak conference and then get to play a Big 10 or 12 team in a made up championship game. They are a lock to win it from now on. But if we had a 16 team playoff, both UFag and oklahomo would have been NOWHERE to be found when the final game came around. The BCS sucks almost as bad as Chan Gailey….Thank God and Greyhound he is gone forever.

some guy

April 14th, 2009
9:53 am

florida wins national championships more often than uga beats florida.

think about it.

Miles

April 14th, 2009
9:54 am

Florida will definitely be the team to beat in the SEC…no doubt about it…Tebow will be fine…he’s the best football player in the country…GATOR BAIT!

John Trent

April 14th, 2009
9:57 am

JB…appreciate your class and commentary.Ga did a fine job of executing two years ago, and an even better job of celebrating the rare win…
I am certain this year in Jax is gonna settle these delusional daydreams posted above about Georgia’s D putting Tebow and Brantley on their butts all day, but rest assured, Tebow and company will find the end zone a lot more than UGA will against the Gator D….
Gonna be a fun game, for sure…(just like last year)

Tony Barnhart

April 14th, 2009
9:59 am

Concerning the downhill running back, they believe that Emmanuel Moody, Chris Rainey, and Jeff Demps can all fill that spot. Rainey needs to keep his weight up near 185, I’m told. The true freshman, Mike Gillislee from Deland, could also get a look.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
10:05 am

There will be a rematch in the SECC this year!!!!Bama will have a better passing attack than last year, with of course the winner going to the NCG!!!! This will be an even better game than it was last year. Bama goes 12-1, so does Fla. BAMA wins SECC and plays Texas for the title and trucks the Little 12 for a second straight SEC NC!!!!!RTR!!!!

gatorman770

April 14th, 2009
10:05 am

Yea Dean (dong)…they’ll all want to go to UGA due to it’s recent fine record of quarterbacks having success as starters in the NFL over the years since Fran T.

Gator T

April 14th, 2009
10:06 am

All jawing and team loyalties aside for the moment, it is going to be fun seeing how UGA and UF shake out leading up to the little party in Jax…I would hope to see the UGA fans stick around a little later at the end, but it sure was an easy walk to the parking lot without all that red and black(and blue)crowd clogging up the roads after the game….
See you there!

Red Elephant

April 14th, 2009
10:08 am

m……must stand for Milledgeville as in ‘Escaped from Milledgeville.’ Please stick to what you (I assume ACC with your Chan Gailey comment?) know best……basketball and lacrosse. Leave football to the big boys. GT football is a bad joke in a bad neighborhood. You guys are really something else with your pee pee envy. Do you want to play LSU every year? ALABAMA? Auburn? Florida? You manage a rare victory against Georgia and suddenly you are Football U. What a piece of work.

SecIsFootball

April 14th, 2009
10:11 am

Look out for Brantley….If this year is anything like last year, Brantly wont get into the game until UF is up by 50+. Tebow in the game in the 4th quarter last year against Kentucky was pathetic. Brantley may be talented but I would not look for a lot of snaps for his when you know Meyer is trying to get Tebow another Heisman.

Gator Mike reply

April 14th, 2009
10:12 am

Gator Mike,

It is good to read sensible comments about College atheletics from a fan of any school. I imagine you would like the Gators to win the SEC and the BCS every year, as I would the Dawgs; but you and I both realize that will not happen.

It is good to have a realistic perspective concerning college sports, it allows one to cheer for the college team of their choice and not loose their proverbial “religion” after a loss.

Selah!

Huh?

April 14th, 2009
10:12 am

That sounds like alot of practice for a team that apparently has a bye straight to the SECCG this year.

JB

April 14th, 2009
10:13 am

John Trent, thanks for the comments….. Any SEC fan, And i mean any would say the Gators are the team to beat this year. But, we play the game and anything can happen. As a Dawg fan, We have no idea what we will have this year….we have a lot of great athletes, but we have a couple of coaching issues and I know Nobody wants to hear it, especially gators, we really had the injury bug last year bad. We will be a better football team this year, but I’m still thinking we only win 9 or 10. Our offense line is young and plentiful and will be excellent the next two years, But we really need to get back to being a better Defensive club if we’re going to compete with you guys. Richt will always have a team that’s capable of scoring. always look forward to playing ya’ll, and I know you do. Good luck this year.

whitx2

April 14th, 2009
10:18 am

Gator Mike
Well said, my friend.

JB
That was 6 years to the woodshed, thank you.

M
If if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, well, you know the rest.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
10:25 am

m,

You need to hurry on to middle school now before you miss P.E. class, and make sure you take your free lunch card with you!! Give your mommy a kiss baby boy!!!! New Day, Same childish post by M!!!!
RTR!!!!!!

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:30 am

Tony, are you wearing your jorts, cheap shades and mullet extensions? Are you washing down your takeout pulled pork from Sonny’s with Milwaukee’s Best? Are you spending your down time pitching pennies and trying to shoot skeeters out of the air with a water pistol? And what is that round, marshy geographic feature just south of town called? Surely, it has a name.

PTC DAWG

April 14th, 2009
10:34 am

I’ll take UGA and 49 right now vs FU. Name your price.

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:35 am

Just funning, people. In actuality, I wouldn’t mind hanging around in Gainesville doing that stuff. But, really, does that round, swampy area have a name?

joe

April 14th, 2009
10:37 am

St Nick is a Mo-Ron…Ole Miss wins the west.

dawg fan

April 14th, 2009
10:37 am

Any UGA fan recognizes on paper UF is a great team and should be favored to win the SEC and play for the BCS NC. As pointed out UGA has too many variables on Defense and Offense to predict a record so start out wiht 3 losses and could go up or down by one. The dawgs did lose their best Offensive Lineman and best Defensive lineman last year and this would effect anyone. (See Alabama in Sugar Bowl). On the west side I think Alabam will be good but minus a quarterback. LSU should be loaded again without the weight of expectations I think a UF vs. LSU championship is logical, although LSU does have to play UGA and Alabama on the road along with Florida at home so they have a rough road. Last year was the first year UGA was non competitive several games and hopefully the last. The SEC is a great conference and whoever wins should be in running for the NC.

Florida News - 4/14/09 | MrSEC.com

April 14th, 2009
10:41 am

[...] of The Orlando Sentinel.)Finally, Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Gator offense is going to have some new wrinkles this year… Tim Tebow’s throwing motion looks better… and backup quarterback John [...]

athensdawg

April 14th, 2009
10:48 am

tim tebow = stays in school and working toward winning his 3rd NC and maybe another heisman….while trying to better himself for the draft.

matt stafford = going to be on jimmy fallon tonight.

anyone notice a difference there?

Atlanta Jackets

April 14th, 2009
10:49 am

Now its back to sorry SEC talk. Good article about an overrated team.

Tech led by the Robot turns the corner this year and dominates the ACC, plays in the BCS championship game and beats Texas for the title. Remember this post. It is the truth.

Mutts and gaytors, who cares about you? Not me. LOL!

John Brantley

April 14th, 2009
10:49 am

JB,

I’ve seen plenty of your comments on this board. And trust me sir, you are not one who should speak to others about having class.

And BTW you need not tell me to enjoy college football more. I’m enjoying it plenty, especially 2006 and 2008. And I’ve especially enjoyed my annual trips to Jax 16 out of the last 19 years I’ve been there.

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:52 am

Tim Tebow is like John Smoltz, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan: Great talent, leadership and iron will. They have to be odds-on favorite to take the whole enchilada again.

Dean

April 14th, 2009
10:53 am

Yeah, We jsut can’t compete with your fine record of Rex Grossman and Danny Weurfell.

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:56 am

I saw Tracy Ham and lots of other Paul Johnson quarterbacks take the pounding that offense requires. I’m concerned this “Robot,” fellow, while talented, is a might fragile. Hope not, I like to watch him play and expect that in year two, he will have a nice season throwing the ball, too. If he can stay healthy.

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:58 am

And don’t forget Shane Matthews and the Throwin’ Mayoan Kerwin Bell, Doug Johnson, etc.

Saint Nick

April 14th, 2009
10:58 am

Joe,

I am a moron????? Ole Miss will have a decent team, But I think Bama has too much coming back on defense. This defense and the UF defense will be 1 and 2 in the country this year. Alabama will better on Offense this year because they will have a QB that can sling it all over the field. We won’t have to depend on the run as much this year, BUT, the run will be there when it is needed!!!! Richardson and Ingram will be a great 1-2 punch and Mcleroy to Jones, Maze, and Alexander will be lethal!!!!! Bama has too much coming back and I expect the Ole Miss game to be close, but Bama will pull away late!!!!!ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!

Giggety

April 14th, 2009
10:59 am

You know, I know a heckuva lot about college football. Maybe I’m Mr. College Football. Hmmm.

DawginLex

April 14th, 2009
11:01 am

Tech in the BCS title game? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You will be lucky to be in the ACC title game. 1 win in 8 years and all of a sudden Tech is a natonal power? Ask LSU about that. ask UGA after Nov 29th, 2009. I bet Coach Richt won’t point to the stands after UGA wins like the classless Johnson did.

Dean

April 14th, 2009
11:02 am

Saint Nick, you really think the offense will be better without Wilson?