Coach Meyer: “The plan to win versus Tennessee was to play great defense. I do not usually get shocked when you think about the games 24/7. The performance of the front seven, I don’t want to say shocked me, but I was extremely impressed. They held Tennessee to 298 total yards and 37 yards rushing. They were in the red zone four trips and walked away with one turnover and two field goals.”
Head Coach Urban Meyer
Obviously, the players deserve the credit as well as our defensive coaching staff. For turnovers, we got two interceptions and a fumble and we had one. We are plus two on the season. One is too many, but I think our defense finally got it together at very opportune times. Markihe Anderson had a great turnover and the fumble for the touchdown was the checkmate and the play of the game. I think we had one of our finer days at Florida in terms of our kicking game, we had eight of ten goals reached. Our third down was also a big key. Champion efforts on defense are Derrick Harvey; Clint McMillan only had one tackle but he played at a 90 percent technique rate which is incredible; Jermaine Cunningham; Javier Estopinan; A. J. Jones; Tony Joiner; Major Wright; Wondy Pierre-Louis; and Joe Haden. We put Joe Haden at our boundary corner because he is the best tackler we have out of our corners and he made nine tackles. Player of the game was Dustin Doe, he is playing some very good football right now.
Offensive champions include Kestahn Moore, who had 11 carries for 48 yards, and played very hard; Louis Murphy also played well; Eric Rutledge played his finest game as a Gators and graded out at 86 percent; Cornelius Ingram graded out at 90 percent and is one of the best tight ends in America; David Nelson earned his 30 plays at practice and is really coming on; Tim Tebow played very well and there is a lot of production coming out from him; Carlton Medder; Jim Tartt; and Drew Miller. The offensive player of the game was Percy Harvin.
Some major concerns for this week are that there is one person on our staff that knows about making this trip, its an 11:30 am game, its an hour bus ride and I want to say there are about 40 young guys making this trip for the first time. So those are all red flags. We want to enjoy this win but our goal is to make this Tuesday the most difficult one we have had at Florida to make sure our focus is on what is important. Our goal this week is to outwork our opponent.
On taking the younger players on the road
Number one is routine. Routine as a coach is easy because we are grown men and we go about our business but for these young men it is important. All from what kind of shirt you wear to what food you eat is all about routine. Our focus needs to be on our assignments. The hour bus ride really concerns me. We were kind of ambushed at Alabama last year and got there late so we had guys rushing to put their pads on instead of thinking about the first play when we are at third and six. We will spend an enormous amount of time on that
On Tebow’s deep passes
We cannot practice that a lot, because you will wear out the receivers. First, he has a strong arm and a lot of confidence. He is also throwing to people who can adjust to the ball very well. When you look at some of the deep throws, especially the one that Percy caught on Saturday, there are only three receivers in the country who could catch that ball. It was a great throw, but the acceleration to the ball was as good as I have seen. I think it’s a combination. Tim throws the ball very well but we have some guys who adjust to the ball very well. There is confidence among that group and that isn’t developed during the week. It was developed in the summer and spring practices.
On the defense’s rush
Our pressure right now is coming from some type of blitz. We do have a very good three and out package and you saw some more hurried passes on Saturday. We have not had a lot of pressure from four down but I trust Greg Mattison to tell me what the plan is. I grade that area of our team right now as a negative. We all know at some point pressuring the quarterback will get you if you can get it right.
On the offensive performance against Tennessee being surprising
“That is a tough question. I don’t want to disrespect anybody and I certainly don’t want to talk like I don’t expect our team to play very well. Everyday I see playmakers in this offense. To see Riley Cooper catch a touchdown does not surprise me one bit, because he does it all the time in practice. I see CI and Murphy and to see Percy Harvin make a run, believe it or not I’ve seen him do that kind of stuff in practice. Without disrespecting anyone involved, I am not surprised to see our guys score touchdowns. When Maurkice Pouncey goes out and Maurice Hurt goes in we call that competitive excellence around here. When your number is called to make a play our guys are doing that. That happens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at practice. To answer the question I am not surprised.”
On UF’s defensive staff
“There is a ridiculous amount of experience in the defensive staff meeting room. That was on purpose. There is a lot of experience. I get flustered, but I never see that on defense. When I have a decision to make in a game, I flip over and say something to them. That’s how much respect I have for them.”
On playing on the road “I definitely think it is a challenge. A lot of guys haven’t played on the road and it will be new for a lot of people. We have to really step it up and hopefully keep it going.”
On the goals for the Ole Miss game “We are definitely going to try and start out quicker. We started out last week three and out on the first two drives. We need to move the ball and can’t have turnovers like that in big games, they can come back to haunt you”.
On expectations following the 3-0 start “I think the expectations as far as what everybody else thinks of us have increased, but I think our expectations all along have been to win the SEC championship. That’s our goal and what we are working for”.
On the Ole Miss game “We can definitely use all the current upsets as motivation. Also, it’s an SEC team so there shouldn’t be any lack of motivation”
On Gators offense “It’s pretty explosive with all the guys we got. We have a lot of depth. We are big time.”
On the Ole Miss game: “After Appalachian State upset Michigan, many other teams are looking to do the same types of things. It shows you that you need to maintain focus every week.”