Coach Meyer: “Our plan to win was to play great defense and we do not feel that we did play great defense. We held a great rusher to 37 yards; however, we let them throw 300 yards. It was not a great day on defense. In terms of turnovers, we only created one and had zero. So that shows we are taking care of the ball pretty good, we are plus three on the season.”
Coach Meyer, continued: Red zone is one of our stronger areas on both offense and defense. We were four of five on Saturday and to date we are 24 out of 26. In terms of our kicking game, we only hit five out of our ten goals but we have zero punt return yards on the season. Time of possession was a big advantage for the Gators. For third downs, we were 53 percent and Ole Miss was only 18 percent. There are some areas that we need to clean up. We had 127-recorded total yards, which is incorrect. We had about 200 yards taken off from penalties in that game. When you start taking off 40-yard punt returns and 20-yard runs being taken back, you will normally lose a Southeastern Conference game.
Our coaches and players are disappointed with their level of play, but a strength of our defense is the red zone coverage. The defense has been down there 15 times, which is too much, but have given up four touchdowns, seven field goals, two turnovers and two missed field goals. We count that once you hit the red zone, anything but a touchdown is a victory. Four of 15 we have failed by giving up a touchdown but the other times we have held our own down there. You are 1-1 in the SEC, if you let Ole Miss score touchdowns down there. I do not want to take a way from the way that Ole Miss played. I thought they had an excellent game plan and that program is on the rise. That is a hard team to get prepared for. They play extremely hard. They are well coached as well.
The only champion on defense is Derrick Harvey, who is also the player of the game. On offense, a champion was Eric Rutledge, our fullback, who is playing very well. He graded out at 88 percent. Kestahn Moore graded out at 92 percent and continues to play extremely hard. He got dinged up a little bit during the game and didnt have a lot of carries in the second half but he is doing exactly what I have told him to do. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and two catches. He has great hands and we are going to start getting him the ball more and be more involved in the pass game. He was also protecting the quarterback. Carlton Medder played well. We only had three champions to go along with our player of the game, Tim Tebow. He played 90 plays but he actually did not have his best game in many ways but as far as toughness, character and riding that horse, Tim played as good a game as I have seen a quarterback play in certain areas. As far as tenacity and toughness, I knew who we were going to go to win that game.
On not looking ahead to future games: There are many terms that people use, some of them curse words, but I use the word nonsense. Because it is all nonsense. I think that our players will figure it out. My nine assistants have been getting an earful for the last two days and probably will not agree, but the best thing as a head coach that happened was what happened at Ole Miss. We walked out of there with a win, a hard win, in hot weather, 90 plays and we are relatively healthy and we came out of there with a win. For teaching tape, that is unbelievable. I am not proud of the tape and will not want to send it out anywhere, but as far as the task at hand – it could not have been a better day for what we need to get done this week.
On Tim Tebow: The first thing is that we are four starters down on offense with injury (Phil Trautwein, Maurkice Pouncey, Andre Caldwell and Riley Cooper). We were facing a team and at atmosphere where it was starting to get a little ugly. We had done this before, and with Alex Smith and Josh Harris, you want to run the ball but running a quarterback is hard. We call it equate football and we can direct snap it to other guys but it just so happens that probably our best runner is our quarterback. Our plan first is to win the game. So whatever means necessary we want to win, but you have to have some intelligence not to put our players at risk. Tim is my worst enemy and his own too because he was screaming at me on the sideline to give him the ball so he can win the game. And somewhat intelligently, I say ‘O.K. Tim’. We will put a little more thought into it though.
On playing Javier Estopinan and Clint McMillan the majority of the game: Our worst fear going into the game was that they would turn around and pound the ball on us. We thought that they were the best team rushing the football that we have faced to date. Our coaches felt like they have one of the better offensive lines in the SEC and its not even close as far as being gap sound. The essence of defensive football is that you will give up big plays on defense if you are not gap sound and you have a match up issue. That is what we try to do on offense. Obviously the long touchdown pass was a match up issue, the guy ran right past us. We had several times when we were not gap sound. Our young players have yet to figure that out so we, first and foremost, must stop the run. That is why those guys were in there because we just do not trust the young guys yet. We made that trade off in the game Saturday. I think we may have to rethink that, but we have to get those other guys ready to play. Brandon Antwine has been hurt and we need him. Torrey Davis has to go in there and learn to play against the run. We may get a little more pass rush, but our first objective is always to stop the run.
Tim Tebow, Quarterback
On his 27 carries against Ole Miss: Obviously, we don’t want to have that many carries in a game. Depending on the game you don’t worry about it, you run that clock out and do what you need to do. But, I do not think it is part of the game
On Auburn: We don’t really talk about it like its revenge but it is a huge game for us obviously they are a very good team they’ve been upset a few times this year but that doesn’t take away from the ability and the athletes they have on their team. They are still one of the top teams in the SEC. They are very good and have a great defensive coordinator and they are going to play hard. Everybody is pretty focused on Auburn. It is a huge game and a game we look forward to before the season and I don’t think anybody is overlooking Auburn.
On selecting receivers to throw to: I don’t think that was really the plan. Based on the game plan, what the defense is doing, is what we do. So, if they are over shifting more this way then Louis Murphy will get the ball more or if they are playing off I will hit Percy Harvin on more screens. It is not really like we are focused on throwing to these two guys it is really just based on what they give us.
On losing: You put in so much time and effort and losing is tough and hard. Thats one of the reason s why winning is sweet, because of all the time and effort you put into it. I dont know if it is better to win or worse to lose. Losing is heartbreaking.
On Coach Meyer: He doesn’t have that much patience. Hell work with you if youre giving great effort and going all out, like if you are going all out and miss a tackle. If it is a mistake where you don’t really have any talent for it, those are the ones that can be frustrating for him. He does a great job in dealing with that and teaching the guys during practice and going through drills.
David Nelson, Wide Receiver
On the receiving unit: Its tough knowing that you want to be the guy that is making the play. That is how you have to feel if you want to be a playmaker. With guys like Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell, Jarred Fayson, and Cornelius Ingram, you know that any of them can take it to the house and make a big play. You have to learn your role and be patient. When your number is called, you have to make the play no matter what happens. So you have to just make the most out of your opportunity.
On Defensive Line: Its definitely a big concern with ours. I know Coach Mattison’s greatest thrill in life is watching the quarterback get sacked from one of his defensive linemen. It is something we are really addressing and working our tails off to get better. We got a little better in the Ole Miss game and from there we have to keep striding.
On creating pressure on the quarterback: Everyone knows that the whole defense revolves around what the defensive line does it kind of starts the whole thing. We have to have gap control and we have to help our cornerbacks out, they can only guard a guy for so long. It is definitely something we have to get on top of and get control of pressuring the quarterback.
On Derrick Harvey as a defensive line leader: Derrick Harvey is a leader by example. Just watching him go out there everyday in practice then watching him a game, it is no different than how hard he practices.