Meyer Confident UF Will Rebound
Mick ElliottGAINESVILLE - Sunday was not a day of rest for the Florida Gators.
Published: September 30, 2008
Published: September 30, 2008
After Saturday's stunning home loss to underdog Ole Miss, Coach Urban Meyer called an evening practice on the team's usual off day and then canceled Monday's drills.
"The first time we've done that on a Sunday," he said. "We all had to get around those players and put closure to a bad day. We practiced. I was impressed by the way they came out."
A team meeting was also part of the session.
"Made it real clear that it's a long football season," Meyer said. "It's not if a team deals with adversity and injury. It's how you deal with it and we're going to find out. I kind of have a feeling I know how we are going to handle it."
Meyer declined to provide details of the closed-door meeting but acknowledged it was passionate.
"We all had a bad taste in our mouth," he said. "Myself and some people had some things on their chest and if you want to say something, let's say it.
"The human element takes over. What happens is we've all been there. Can't stand being there, but you are going to lose a game once in a while. The first thing is you feel sorry for yourself, and then you want to point a finger. So we closed the doors and you could say whatever you wanted. It was good."
NO TEBOW IN TEBOW? Somehow, someway, the Gators have taken the Tim Tebow out of Tim Tebow.
The preseason vow when questions turned to a possible renewed emphasis on the running back position was that the Gators' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback would continue to do what he does best, no matter what.
But, as the Gators prepare for Saturday's road game at Arkansas, it has become noticeable that Tebow's role has changed.
Tebow, as dangerous last year running as throwing, has become a pocket passer.
While throwing for 3,286 yards in 2007, he also led the Gators in rushing with 895 yards. Twice he topped 100 yards, including 166 against Ole Miss.
This year? After four games, Tebow has 125 yards rushing, averaging 31.3 per game and 2.6 per carry.
He finished with 7 yards on 15 carries against Ole Miss. Against repeated Mississippi blitzes, Tebow mostly stood defiantly in the pocket - and took three sacks.
"It's something we've discussed, but no he's not been told not to run," Meyer said. "He's being told to execute as best he can. I think he's made a little conscious effort to sit in the pocket. But last week in the fourth quarter, now that was classic Tim Tebow. He played his rear end off."
ANOTHER LOOK: After further review, little about Saturday's performance looked any better the second go-around.
The Gators' kicking game, a week after earning praise from Meyer for accomplishing 10 of 10 pregame goals against Tennessee, graded out particularly bad on game film.
"Only two of 10 goals," Meyer said. "Maybe one of the worse we've had."
Meyer also reported 11 missed tackles by Gators defenders, three fumbles by the offense, and a 9 percent third-down conversion success rate as the week's sore spots.
"That's not playing to win," he said.
GATOR BITES: Florida's Oct. 11 home game against LSU will be the second game of a CBS day-night doubleheader, kicking off at 8 p.m. ... Mississippi senior safety Jamarca Sanford earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Florida: 11 total tackles (four solo) as the Rebels held the Gators offense to five three-and-out series.
•Swimmers Clark Burckle and Rex Tullius have been named to the 2009 World University Games U.S. Swimming roster that will compete in Belgrade, Serbia, July 5-11. The selections were based on performances at the USA Swimming U.S. Open. Burckle claimed silver medals in the 200- and 400-meter IM events, while Tullius swam a career-best 55.25 in the 100 backstroke to finish fourth.
•Ameera Abdullah scored two goals in a 5-1 win over Tennessee as the No. 15-ranked women's soccer team improved to 7-2-1, 2-0 in the SEC.
•The Lady Gators' volleyball team in ranked 10th nationally and coming off a 3-1 win over Ole Miss, powered by freshman Kristy Jaeckel's match-high 19 kills and 11 digs. It was Jaeckel's second straight and third double-double of the year.