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Transcript of Coach Meyer’s Media Day Q&A

Written by gcstaff, August 10, 2007, 0 Comments,
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Here’s our transcript of Coach Meyer’s Q&A session from Media Day earlier today to accompany our audio file.

Q:  Coach, can you just talk about how young this team is?  The lack of juniors, seniors, what it…problems that may present?

COACH MEYER: You know, we’re 75%…not quite sure I’ve ever seen that…75% freshman and sophomores and we’ve had a meeting…we just had a defensive staff meeting.  A lot of the youth is on defense, and we just wanted to make sure that our style of play is going to probably be significantly different than it was a year ago.  We had the feeling on defense last year, we didn’t have to do a lot.  We let those 4 guys up front play.  We had some…Ryan Smith, we had some…Reggie got a lot better.  Probably the best free safety in college football.  So we didn’t do a whole lot.  I think the creativity on defense and the defensive staff is going to be significant this year.  And, I think a great way to look at it, you don’t have Reggie Nelson.  You can keep looking, and…very rare players.  You don’t have a Jarvis Moss.  But instead of worrying about that kid’s not as good as Jarvis Moss, someone else is going to have pick up their level of play, and the coaching staff has got to pick up their creativity to make sure that we’re giving these guys a chance to win.  So, I think our defensive staff is going to really earn its coaching stripes this year.  I mean, it’s a major issue.  On offense, I don’t feel like that at all.  I…kind of feels like a veteran team.  This is…you know, we’re doing things at offense that we, you know, our first 2-3 weeks of two-a-days we’re still working on something that we…so, we’re advancing at a nice pace on offense right now.

Q:  Coach, would you talk about the…how the speed has been upgraded from year 1 to year 2, and then again this year?  It seems that this was maybe the fastest team we’ve had here in a long time.

COACH MEYER: Yeah, offensively, it’s not…it’s a different…we’re on a different planet than we were our first year.  Especially when we had a couple of…had a couple of playmakers get hurt.  You seen Chris Rainey out there busting off.  By the way, Chris will play.  He’s earned that right already.  He had a great day yesterday.  He’s an elusive guy, just…we put him on peanut butter sandwiches, 27 times a day, routine right now.  He…expect to take a hit.  Brandon James is looking very good at practice, and then you’ve got to what receiver, to Percy Harvin, Bubba Caldwell, Jarred Fayson, Riley Cooper had a good day.  So, I could probably list 4 of their names which is…I have a little trouble mentioning those names after Bubba got hurt a couple of years ago.  Much different team on offense.

Q:  Coach, with the number of young guys you have, how do you balance breaking them down and teaching them fundamentals, versus getting them ready to play the game?

COACH MEYER: ….question.  That’s…and, here’s the other thing…had to think about this.  Okay, we’re a team on defense that you have to be a little creative because for our freshmen to beat this guy, probably not going to happen on a consistent basis.  Where a Jarvis Moss would beat this guy.  If you have the match-up you let them play.  If you don’t, you have to be creative.  You relate that to offense.  If you don’t have the playmakers then you have to run fake punts all the time.  You have to run trick plays, instead of saying let’s just get into formation and let Bubba go try to beat this guy one on one.  So on defense, if you’re always working on being free, are they really learning how to be a fundamentally sound football player.  And that’s the issue.  We’ll also…well, take a Jermaine Cunningham, and he’s getting better and better and better, but then when we start working on all these blitzes…but he’s not learning how to play fundamental defensive end position.  So, time, patience, and then…I think it’s got to be great coaching.  I really do.  I think Greg Mattison and, like I said, those guys.  I’ve got news, it ain’t Meyer who coached Jarvis Moss…kids got a chance to go on and…obviously I believe…I love our defensive staff.

Q:  Coach…heat has become a topic throughout the country…

COACH MEYER: Heat?

Q:  Heat…talk about your early days as coach…do you remember the days when you guys…how you…

COACH MEYER: Well, I’m scared to death of it.  As our training staff and…I kind of thought I was a tough guy and I came down and my first year of two-a-days, and it beat the mess out of mess out of me, too.  So we’ve adapted.  We practice 6-8 during the…period.  We have the finest group of trainers in the country.  Our athletic director, administration…there’s no budget for heat related…for example, Gatorade, for example, all the stuff that we do.  We actually have ways…where they put something in the player’s stomach to measure the person’s heat, so I can’t imagine any other program in America taking it more seriously…as far as the athletic director, all the way to the head football coach, all the way down.  I mean that’s something…if you see any kind of heat related illness, that’s…he gets tossed, let’s get going.  You get him right before they go back in.  And it’s frustrating at times, it’s like…you know what it is…blow it off.  As opposed to a guy rolls his ankle a little bit, you’re…keep going, keep going.  If it’s heat related, you know, it’s like a concussion.  Once you hear those words you’re done.  Trainers take over.  If you hear he’s got a turf toe, or he’s got a little ankle sprain, that’s where we pick…or we try to encourage them to get back to practice as fast as they can.

Q:  Do you remember the days…

COACH MEYER: Oh sure.

Q:  ….when…didn’t give you water and…

COACH MEYER: Sure I can.  I remember it as a player, and I remember my first year at Bowling Green that I had a trainer actually say that to me.  He said, we have an off season workout…running around, going crazy in the morning, and I said, okay water break.  There’s no water.  And he said, “Coach, I haven’t used water in 27 years.” And I said you’ve got about 36 seconds or your 27 years are over.  (audience laughing) It’s just…that’s an old school problem. 

Q:  Coach, any concern at all about Tim handling all this incredible hype?

COACH MEYER: Yeah, I do.  Dan Mullen’s very good at it.  He’s dealt with it.  Maybe on a different level, maybe on the same level at Utah with Alex Smith.  I think Chris Leak dealt with this hype.  Now this is maybe a different level, but I think Tim’s a very mature guy.  I think he’s got a very mature family, and we’re going to protect him a little bit.  Like, see I started to do it already.  And, Tim can’t say no, which is one of his problems, too.  He’s got a good personality, and he’s been asked to do quite a bit.  So, is there a concern?  Yes.  Are we…do we have a plan in place to manage that concern?  Yes.

Q:  Do you think last year some of the things you said, maybe added a little bit of hype?  You know, when you’re talking about, I love that guy, he’ll be a great football player.

COACH MEYER: Probably.  I do love that guy and he is going to be a great football player, so…

Q:  Coach, what do think about the progress of Kestahn Moore and is he…do you feel like…

COACH MEYER: Yeah.  I’ll tell you what, I’m glad you asked that question.  Kestahn Moore is early and I know say it’s soon to get excited and…I just think that he’s going to be a heck of a player.  He’s prepared himself to have a great year.  And I’ll be crushed like he will if he doesn’t.  Because he’s faster than he’s ever been, he’s more mature than he’s ever been, and I’m really excited about him.  He’s without question our starting tailback and he’s without question…guy that’s our starting tailback and by the way get him every opportunity we can and get another receiver in there.  He’s a guy that we’re looking forward to letting him see what he can do with the football.

Q:  Coach, evidently you were skeptical of Phil Trautwein early in his career.  At least earlier when you were here.  What changed with him and the line?

COACH MEYER: I think him and Coach Addazio…fundamentally there’s a reason why players don’t improve.  And every year I evaluate coaches, every year I evaluate the player, and there’s 5 reasons why a player would not progress.  And the number 1 is resistive to coaching.  That’s the number 1 most common…if you see a player, for some reason…for 3 years Reggie Lewis…he’s just the same flat line, he’s not improving.  The number 1 reason is resistive to coaching.  Number 2 he doesn’t practice at the tempo that you need to have in practice.  The third one is because the coach, and this is a cop-out, says he’s not good enough.  The fourth one is he’s not getting enough reps.  And the last one is because he’s…they say he’s not good enough and he was a recruiting mistake.  And I don’t buy that.  I don’t buy that.  Also…poor teaching.  The think about that young guy is he’s bought into it, Coach Addazio and him have…he’s been flat lining for 2 years, and you saw that change because…I believe it was because of coaching.  And I know he overcame that with Addazio.  But every player that you see that’s developed like that, a Lewis Murphy, a Dorian Munroe, those players were resistive to coaching for some reason.  And you can see that those guys made tremendous progress.

Q:  Coach, it appears that USC is going to be consensus number 1 in the polls.  What do you think about the way that program has been built up over the last few years?  Is there any west coast/east coast parallels to that program and yours in terms of attracting players, and how often do you bump into them on the recruiting trail?

COACH MEYER: Oh, quite often.  You know, I think…I admire USC.  I don’t know of their program, I don’t know about all the off field stuff…so it seems like a different country.  As far as they…one thing they have is they reload year after year, and they convince.  What we’ve tried to do, and it’s hurting us a little bit in recruiting, is we’ve had 2 excellent recruiting classes.  It’s well documented.  I’d have to say after having them now, it’s legitimate.  We have 2 excellent recruiting classes.  Everyone is qualified, everyone’s out there, everyone’s going.  We had 26 this year, 27 this year…26 last year, 26 this year.  And USC does a good job saying, yeah we have…how they keep recruiting tailbacks when they have 7 of them.  They sell the fact for competition.  We’re trying to sell the fact, and I think some of these young people now take an easier road, where they’re guaranteed a starting spot.  I’m going to go here.  As opposed to, I’ll earn a spot.  So how they do that, I’m still trying to, you know…maybe it’s a different market out there, or they just do a good job and I think we’re challenging them right now…really good classes.  And when we recruit right now, we have to recruit with the belief you want to play with the best, you want to compete with the best, and ultimately be the best.  And I think they’re pro…one program.  I haven’t seen any other one do like that. 

Q:  Is it a modern phenomenon that Florida…Academy…more and more…

COACH MEYER: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to look at it.  We won’t…I don’t…I think they’re a little more national than we are.  I think we’re more regional than they are, but is it a modern phenomenon?  I’m not sure I’d say that, because Ohio State is in that…they’re down here all the time, and it’s just…I think probably tells you a bit about the caliber of football player in the south.  When USC’s got to get on a plane and…we’re not going to California.  They’re coming down here.  And that tells you a little bit about the caliber of athlete, and through the NFL all the way to…if you look at the combine, look at the SEC, the caliber of athlete of the south is kind of a testimony to that.

Q:  Shortly after the National Championship game you talked about not resting on your laurels.  Are there 2 or 3 things that you would, say if you were putting together a different…a program has to have to…to keep getting better?

COACH MEYER: Well the first one is, and I don’t want to sound like…the first one is easy.  Players…continue, the minute I start seeing an issue with recruiting, I see an issue with the staff that maybe figured out and they have all the answers.  The best one is, I remember at one point a Big 10 team led the Big 10 in passing one year, the next year they were 11th in passing or 10th in total offense.  When Drew Brees left, that same coaching staff walking around with their chest out, feeling really good about themselves, they were now being criticized.  So it’s all about the players.  And, you know, really anything other than that…you talk your coaching staff.  You talk about facilities.  You talk about everything involved in your program.  It all relates back to recruiting.  And that’s the thing you have to constantly watch.  And that’s why there’s a big beautiful facility going up out there, and it’s not because…it’s because recruiting number 1.  And our staff is constantly evaluated on that.  So that’s…it all relates back to players and recruiting.

Q:  Coach, you talked about the pressure on Tim Tebow this year.  What about Brandon Spikes?  You always talk about being strong up the middle on defense.  As a young guy, how do you think he’s going to handle all the pressure and how will he do?

COACH MEYER: We’re very concerned about that.  I don’t think he handled it January, February, March.  Our off season is real hard.  You know, we don’t spend as much time teaching guys how to bench press as we do trying to back them in a corner and see if they’ll fight their way our.  And he didn’t pass that with flying colors.  However, right now I’d have to rate him as a solid B or even heading towards an A, because he’s trying to keep that defense together.  He’s practicing very hard, and he loves football.  So we’re in his element.  But it remains to be seen when it gets real hard.  You know, we…people got to remember, too.  We’re…everybody keeps talking about training camp.  We haven’t even started training.  We’re just practicing.  We’re in Summer B.  Our kids are in class right now.  So there’s no training camp…today, and then, you know, in a week you’re going to see some solid…walking around this place.  We’re going to find out who the tough guys are.  Everybody’s feeling good about themselves.  They’re just basically practicing.  That’s no different than spring practice.  Now it gets real hard starting…that first double session.

Q:  Coach, how much different will this offense really look from last year?  Did you feel like the offense was limited in any way last year?  If there was anything you guys couldn’t do?

COACH MEYER: Yeah…I mean, yeah.  I think there’s some things we couldn’t do, and there were other things we could do.  You know, Chris Leak was a tremendous…a great football player, and I loved…and I do it all the time.  Check out the Bowling Green offense, through Josh Harris, through Alex Smith, through Chris Leak, through Tim Tebow, and the evolution of the offense is phenomenal.  And it’s…changes, and we’re going to see if we bring back a little bit more Utah things than we’ve done.  But I think the quarterback gets a lot of criticism and also a lot of glory.  Like Chris Leak, the most difficult, probably, time of his career is when you have Dallas Baker out, he had Bubba Caldwell, Jemalle Cornelius out, and really had no one in there that could make a play.  There was times…I remember I had…that we had no one on the field that could make a play, and we were playing the sixth ranked defense in America.  Can’t call a big play.  (audience laughing) It’s a hard thing to do.  Tim’s got a luxury maybe Chris didn’t have that year.  Tim’s got some guys.  But what a great play call we made against FSU, and Percy made 2 guys miss against Arkansas, 57 yards.  It’s not so much the play calling as…not so much the quarterback primarily in our offense…got to be dynamic. 

Q:  Also, just…Derrick Harvey.  I mean, what kind of person is he, and are your expectations for him as high as anybody?

COACH MEYER: Yeah, it’s…mine are as high as his are.  And so is our defensive coach.  But Greg Mattison told me that 2 years ago, and I kind of…we had a little confrontation.  I don’t know if he ever thought of it, but I didn’t see it.  But Greg Mattison, defensive line coach…Derrick Harvey is above and beyond where we thought he’d be.  As a leader, as a football player, as a guy…all he does is go as hard as he can.  And he’s got a tremendous future. 

Q:  ….report that Brandon James will be suspended for the first game of the year?  What’s the status…?

COACH MEYER: It’s all…it’s all things…it has to be…Brandon James is…I told him everything he’s going to have to do.  I don’t believe Brandon James is a bad guy.  I think he made a terrible mistake and he’ll be held…but he’s having a great practice.

Q:  Coach, how do you view going into this season…you had a senior-led team last year.  Do you see it as rebuilding, reloading because you have so many young, talented guys?

COACH MEYER: I mean…I don’t know.  We’re just trying to get a little better, get a young defense to play…I think we obviously…rebuilding and reloading.  I mean obviously we’re rebuilding…a lot of young players.  A lot of young players.  So you’re reloading and you’ve got to develop them fast.  There’s a void…transitions.  There’s a transition.  There’s…when there’s a coaching change that’s difficult, and then our first recruiting class…Florida standards.  So we’ve got a void in there right now.  When 75% of your players are freshmen and sophomores you’ve got to accelerate the learning curves.  How you do that is just time, patience, and get them going as best you can.

Q:  Good morning…can you talk about how you were impressed with Tony Joiner.  What impact do you think he’ll have on the success of the defense concerning…considering he’s still…player and very outspoken on the field.  Did you get that?

COACH MEYER: Are you asking just about Tony Joiner?

Q:  Yeah.

COACH MEYER: Uh, can you read that question?  (audience laughing) They’re good.  Not sure what you said…uh, Tony Joiner will be a captain of our team.  It’s well deserved.  I think he’s an excellent football player.  He is, you know, you said outspoken.  He loves the game of football.  He loves Florida.  Loves playing in The Swamp.  Loves the passion, so he’s helping a lot with the younger players, and I’d like to have a few more players like that…side of the ball right now.  Not so much the position, but the leadership role.  I’m hoping Spikes can have that same kind of passion.  You know, when you take Brandon Siler out of the middle of a defense, someone else has to pick up the slack.  Spikes is trying to, but Tony is helping out as well.

Q:  And Reggie Nelson once held the nickname “The Eraser”…play.  How hard will it be to find a player in the secondary in this unit to replace…

COACH MEYER: You are reading that question.  (audience laughing) Should I write down an answer and read it back to you? (audience laughing) No, I’m just kidding.  Ah, The Eraser, he had…he was the best I’ve ever seen at making up, in that position.  It’s just coaching 101.  When you see a team that plays a lot of single high safety, which we did ago, might not this year quite as much, but he’s just single high safety.  If that guy is not an excellent player, you’re a bad deal.  That means one-third of the field he’s got to make up for issues.  When you put the other 2 corners in man-to-man, they’re only splitting one-third of the field, he’s got 53 yards he’s got to cover.  Perfect example was FSU and Tennessee.  The corner made a mistake, Reggie overlapped and intercepted the first play against Tennessee.  That was not his play.  He overlapped and made a play on it.  And at FSU where he made that great interception, that was…that’s an overlap.  And that takes a little bit of…obviously a lot of speed, but a little bit of gamesmanship.  And that’s something that Reggie really had.  Does Kyle have that?  Does Major Wright have that?  Does our safety position have that right now?  I don’t believe they have that, but that’s not a negative to them.  Reggie was the best…in my opinion, one of the best that’s ever played that position.  So we’re going to…you might see a little more creativity, and that’s part of what I was talking about.  If you don’t have that guy on that defense, you need to be a little more creative than a year ago.

Q:  Coach, would you talk about Coach Marotti and the strength program, and secondly to that, how he has impacted the development of your young guys and getting them ready to go?

COACH MEYER: Well Florida should have the very best at everything.  You know, we made some changes in our training room…best training staff in college football.  Best I’ve ever been around.  When we were putting the staff together, we went through a little transition period in the weight room, and the goal wasn’t let’s try to find a big guy.  Let’s go try to find the best in the country.  Because about 10 to 15 years ago, it all changed, as far as coaches used to train guys.  Really, it…guys would finish summer or the spring semester, you’d give them a big hug, and they’d show up back in August and you’d have to condition them all the time during two-a-days.  And that all changed, and it has become a year around sport for the right reason.  For safety.  You had much more…you dealt with many more injuries and fatigue injuries than you deal with now.  So for the right reasons, college football did that.  When that happened, the coaches weren’t allowed to train them in the summer, which I believe is the right rule, and then all of a sudden your weight staff now became a premium.  And with that I think our weight coaches are paid very well.  Weight coaches have more contact with the team.  Certain times of the year…coaching staff.  And I think…how do you evaluate a strength staff?  Injury free and then also are you dominating the line of scrimmage.  By the time Mickey got his handprint…fingerprints all over this team, we were very dominant on the line of scrimmage and we were injury free on the muscle pulls.  The structural, that’s part of the game.  But I think he’s done a phenomenal job.

Q:  Coach…great players, about how they…with so many young players they can’t all be on the field…impression…what’s your philosophy when dealing with…issues such as a fight, or minor drug possessions for these young players, as opposed to a guy who’s 21, 22 years old?

COACH MEYER: Well, the first thing we do is we have a set of core values in our program, that if you break a core value we consider that a character flaw.  And if you have a character flaw, then you got to really evaluate whether you’ve got to eliminate the problem or if it’s worth trying to correct it.  Second thing is, you make a mistake then we try to make it so they don’t want to make that mistake again.  And how do you that?  Multiple ways you do that.  Every situation is different.  We take the family into consideration, we take the, you know…one way, always taking scholarships.  We’ve taken championship rings.  Obviously in the last 100 years everybody gets up at 6:00 a.m. and runs.  So there’s a multitude of different ways we deal with it.  You treat first time offenders far different than you do multiple offenders.  You take a look at the case.  So everyone’s different, and, you know…I think the most important thing is understanding these are young people.  You’ve got to educate them correctly.  That’s our…we educate and correct?  How do you educate…make it so they don’t want to make that decision again.

Q:  Tim seems to play with the emotions of linebacker at times.  How do you, without taking too much of that away…is hard to imagine him playing a full game at quarterback at that high emotional pitch.  Do you make a concerted effort to try to round that off a little bit, or do you just let nature take its course?

COACH MEYER: I think nature is going to take…that’s a good question, and we’ve talked about…we’ve talked to Tim about it, and also he’s not a big fan of sliding.  You know, there’s times you can take a hit to get that first down, and there are times you’re in survival mode in the SEC, so we’ve talked to him about that.  He looked at me like I had 6 heads when I was talking about he might have to step out of bounds or go down.  But I think…you know, I think we addressed it with him.  That’s a great problem to have.  You have a highly intense, motivated young person…team.  But you have to, I think…the nature of him going into one play, coming out, he’s got a little more juice for you.  But if he’s on his eight play of the drive you won’t see quite the same reaction after a 3-yard gain as you saw last year.

Q:  Who are your other captains?

COACH MEYER: We haven’t voted on it yet.  We’re going to vote, though.  I have a good idea who they are.  I can’t let you know until they vote.

Q:  You’ve mentioned the last 2 recruiting classes…everybody…John Brown?

COACH MEYER: He’s not officially in yet, but he’s practicing. 

Q:  Looking at the schedule, do you have a game that you’re particularly looking forward to?  I mean Auburn was your only loss last year.  You had tough losses your first year at LSU and at South Carolina.  Do you have a game you have circled on your calendar?

COACH MEYER: Anybody want to help him with that one?  (audience laughing) That answers your question.

Q:  Coach, after winning a National Championship…kind of relaxed a little, but how big was it for this team to see the basketball team pull together and go back to that?

COACH MEYER: Oh, I think it was big for our team, and we’re going to have our second annual Billy Donovan Day where he comes in, and it’s a little different approach that we’re going to day.  I can’t wait.  We have it all set.  And it’s going to be a great night for the Gators, a great night for Billy, and you have one of the greatest resources 3 blocks away, 2 blocks away.  And I know one thing, our players admire that team, and they did it the right way, so…there was no real…even if they went 3 and 30, there would’ve been no relaxing at The University of Florida.  You know, but the fact that they saw them go back…I think it’s more admiration, and a great educating tool for our players.  We’re going to use every ounce of it.

Q:  Yeah, Kerwin talked to you a couple of weeks ago about the tape that you prepared…felt on his role in the offense…

COACH MEYER: I’m going to say this about Kerwin.  Kerwin…Brian Brantley is a…I know his father was a quarterback at Florida, John, and he’s…obviously grew up with the ball in his hands.  You can tell.  He’s a great…kid’s as natural a passer as his daddy…and that’s pretty good…when you’re…watching professional quarterbacks that have played for us.  So…Chris is a very natural guy, but this guy might even be more of a natural thrower.  I mean, he’s tremendous.  The tape we put together was just simply…I mean, there’s a myth, or a…you know, that we’re a big option team.  And boy, you know, I’m not sure you can run that offense because you don’t run 4.43 or something like that.  We’re putting together an Alex Smith/Chris Leak tape that’s very conducive to Johnny’s skills, and I think he’s…that guy at the drugstore went out and…you know, well you can’t go there because they run option all the time…run two options…that’s all we run.  So we re-adapt to the personnel.  And I think it was more just to eliminate some of the…instead of saying this is real…it was the Arkansas game.  He really, after you watch…we made him cut off on the Arkansas game when Chris Leak, the way he played in that game, and he had a couple of bad series, but he played really well, in the style of offense that’s Johnny Brantley’s style of play. 

Q:  Coach, Cornelius Ingram has come a long way from position change, he had a good National Championship game…guy.  What kind of impact do you think he’ll make now in the new offense?

COACH MEYER: Well, he’s one of our primos.  He’s a guy that we’ll have every week on our game plan…get a 2 package.  Get it to Percy…get to Jarred, but I’m thinking Cooper…Riley Cooper is getting close.  Chris Rainey, Brandon James might be starting to fall in that category, and that’s really a great issue to have when you start looking on, it’s on the bottom left of that game plan, so…start looking at the bottom left, that’s who hasn’t touched the ball.  For example, we’ll go and he’d tell us he’s got to touch the ball 12 times, so instead of saying…plays, go right down there and see, you don’t like that one…in order, that we call.  And there was a time last…two years ago, I had nothing on my left.  Bottom left.  Corner of my playbook, my sheet, because it was…I didn’t know who to go with the ball to.  But CI is certainly one of the guys that will have his own little list of plays.  And that’s probably a good evaluator when they coaches…how they feel about you.

Q:  Coach, you mentioned about last year’s front 4 veteran guys, throw them out there, let them play.  This year, Derrick Harvey…can you talk about the competition at the other places and what you like at this point there?

COACH MEYER: Well, we’re not…it’s…I’d hate to say coaches…but the first 2 days ago or 3 days ago, my wife got the…playing on defense.  Let my wife say we’re fine, don’t worry about it…go to Disney, we’re okay.  Then I made a call last…and said, boy it’s looking really bad right now.  And that’s what you have when you have young players, and yesterday was not good.  It was a bad day…so I…you said competition?  I hope there’s a lot more here in the next couple of weeks, or we’re going to have major issues.  And I’m expecting there will be, because they’re good kids and they’re good coaches, and there’s talent there.  They’re just so young.  My goodness, there’s six defensive linemen that are freshmen.  Charlie…you know, Coach Strong is a great, you know…he’s been here.  He’s seen what…his…year of coaching…I think that’s a great insight in the, you know, the Marcus Thomas, the Ray McDonald…those kids when they first came in were kind of deer in the headlight, and it was…to get Ray McDonald to take more than 3 steps on a play was a major issue.  And then obvious it became…I mean he was the one that made the play on fourth down against Ohio State, so great effort.  So it’s just coaching and staying on them, and pushing them, and making sure they realize that there’s great rewards for great effort.  I mean that’s what we’re going through right now.

Q:  ….changing things at quarterback this year…

COACH MEYER: I hope we do, Mike.  I don’t know that yet.  Cam Newton comes out later this week.  I really excited about him in the spring.  Brian Wagner has really improved.  My biggest issue is…do we want to do that yes.  To answer your question, yes.  At issue is, you can’t get 4 guys ready in a two-hour practice.  You know, if you extend practice to 4 ½ hours and give them all the reps, but you burn everyone else out.  So we have an issue at that position, and it’s a positive one.  And that is who do we get ready, and we’ve got to…and make that decision and let me know, and I’m going to give my input.  Once that’s made, then you’ve got to deal with some egos and some issues, which I don’t think it’ll…but then you get that package ready.  With that young person you do it, and we like to have a little change of tempo.

Q:  Coach, can you talk about guys getting the ball…you have a number in your head for Percy?

COACH MEYER: (inaudible)

Q:  Double digit?

COACH MEYER: Yes.

Q:  Triple digit?

(audience laughing)

COACH MEYER: Yeah, he’s going to be…if he…I was telling this.  If Percy Harvin faced Percy Harvin, watch out…I mean, I love speed, I love skill, and boy, that’s…that ball will be in his hand…you’re going to be a great decoy this year.  I think Bubba…thank you very much.

END

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Here’s our transcript of Coach Meyer’s Q&A session from Media Day earlier today to accompany our audio file.

Q:  Coach, can you just talk about how young this team is?  The lack of juniors, seniors, what it…problems that may present?

COACH MEYER: You know, we’re 75%…not quite sure I’ve ever seen that…75% freshman and sophomores and we’ve had a meeting…we just had a defensive staff meeting.  A lot of the youth is on defense, and we just wanted to make sure that our style of play is going to probably be significantly different than it was a year ago.  We had the feeling on defense last year, we didn’t have to do a lot.  We let those 4 guys up front play.  We had some…Ryan Smith, we had some…Reggie got a lot better.  Probably the best free safety in college football.  So we didn’t do a whole lot.  I think the creativity on defense and the defensive staff is going to be significant this year.  And, I think a great way to look at it, you don’t have Reggie Nelson.  You can keep looking, and…very rare players.  You don’t have a Jarvis Moss.  But instead of worrying about that kid’s not as good as Jarvis Moss, someone else is going to have pick up their level of play, and the coaching staff has got to pick up their creativity to make sure that we’re giving these guys a chance to win.  So, I think our defensive staff is going to really earn its coaching stripes this year.  I mean, it’s a major issue.  On offense, I don’t feel like that at all.  I…kind of feels like a veteran team.  This is…you know, we’re doing things at offense that we, you know, our first 2-3 weeks of two-a-days we’re still working on something that we…so, we’re advancing at a nice pace on offense right now.

Q:  Coach, would you talk about the…how the speed has been upgraded from year 1 to year 2, and then again this year?  It seems that this was maybe the fastest team we’ve had here in a long time.

COACH MEYER: Yeah, offensively, it’s not…it’s a different…we’re on a different planet than we were our first year.  Especially when we had a couple of…had a couple of playmakers get hurt.  You seen Chris Rainey out there busting off.  By the way, Chris will play.  He’s earned that right already.  He had a great day yesterday.  He’s an elusive guy, just…we put him on peanut butter sandwiches, 27 times a day, routine right now.  He…expect to take a hit.  Brandon James is looking very good at practice, and then you’ve got to what receiver, to Percy Harvin, Bubba Caldwell, Jarred Fayson, Riley Cooper had a good day.  So, I could probably list 4 of their names which is…I have a little trouble mentioning those names after Bubba got hurt a couple of years ago.  Much different team on offense.

Q:  Coach, with the number of young guys you have, how do you balance breaking them down and teaching them fundamentals, versus getting them ready to play the game?

COACH MEYER: ….question.  That’s…and, here’s the other thing…had to think about this.  Okay, we’re a team on defense that you have to be a little creative because for our freshmen to beat this guy, probably not going to happen on a consistent basis.  Where a Jarvis Moss would beat this guy.  If you have the match-up you let them play.  If you don’t, you have to be creative.  You relate that to offense.  If you don’t have the playmakers then you have to run fake punts all the time.  You have to run trick plays, instead of saying let’s just get into formation and let Bubba go try to beat this guy one on one.  So on defense, if you’re always working on being free, are they really learning how to be a fundamentally sound football player.  And that’s the issue.  We’ll also…well, take a Jermaine Cunningham, and he’s getting better and better and better, but then when we start working on all these blitzes…but he’s not learning how to play fundamental defensive end position.  So, time, patience, and then…I think it’s got to be great coaching.  I really do.  I think Greg Mattison and, like I said, those guys.  I’ve got news, it ain’t Meyer who coached Jarvis Moss…kids got a chance to go on and…obviously I believe…I love our defensive staff.

Q:  Coach…heat has become a topic throughout the country…

COACH MEYER: Heat?

Q:  Heat…talk about your early days as coach…do you remember the days when you guys…how you…

COACH MEYER: Well, I’m scared to death of it.  As our training staff and…I kind of thought I was a tough guy and I came down and my first year of two-a-days, and it beat the mess out of mess out of me, too.  So we’ve adapted.  We practice 6-8 during the…period.  We have the finest group of trainers in the country.  Our athletic director, administration…there’s no budget for heat related…for example, Gatorade, for example, all the stuff that we do.  We actually have ways…where they put something in the player’s stomach to measure the person’s heat, so I can’t imagine any other program in America taking it more seriously…as far as the athletic director, all the way to the head football coach, all the way down.  I mean that’s something…if you see any kind of heat related illness, that’s…he gets tossed, let’s get going.  You get him right before they go back in.  And it’s frustrating at times, it’s like…you know what it is…blow it off.  As opposed to a guy rolls his ankle a little bit, you’re…keep going, keep going.  If it’s heat related, you know, it’s like a concussion.  Once you hear those words you’re done.  Trainers take over.  If you hear he’s got a turf toe, or he’s got a little ankle sprain, that’s where we pick…or we try to encourage them to get back to practice as fast as they can.

Q:  Do you remember the days…

COACH MEYER: Oh sure.

Q:  ….when…didn’t give you water and…

COACH MEYER: Sure I can.  I remember it as a player, and I remember my first year at Bowling Green that I had a trainer actually say that to me.  He said, we have an off season workout…running around, going crazy in the morning, and I said, okay water break.  There’s no water.  And he said, “Coach, I haven’t used water in 27 years.” And I said you’ve got about 36 seconds or your 27 years are over.  (audience laughing) It’s just…that’s an old school problem. 

Q:  Coach, any concern at all about Tim handling all this incredible hype?

COACH MEYER: Yeah, I do.  Dan Mullen’s very good at it.  He’s dealt with it.  Maybe on a different level, maybe on the same level at Utah with Alex Smith.  I think Chris Leak dealt with this hype.  Now this is maybe a different level, but I think Tim’s a very mature guy.  I think he’s got a very mature family, and we’re going to protect him a little bit.  Like, see I started to do it already.  And, Tim can’t say no, which is one of his problems, too.  He’s got a good personality, and he’s been asked to do quite a bit.  So, is there a concern?  Yes.  Are we…do we have a plan in place to manage that concern?  Yes.

Q:  Do you think last year some of the things you said, maybe added a little bit of hype?  You know, when you’re talking about, I love that guy, he’ll be a great football player.

COACH MEYER: Probably.  I do love that guy and he is going to be a great football player, so…

Q:  Coach, what do think about the progress of Kestahn Moore and is he…do you feel like…

COACH MEYER: Yeah.  I’ll tell you what, I’m glad you asked that question.  Kestahn Moore is early and I know say it’s soon to get excited and…I just think that he’s going to be a heck of a player.  He’s prepared himself to have a great year.  And I’ll be crushed like he will if he doesn’t.  Because he’s faster than he’s ever been, he’s more mature than he’s ever been, and I’m really excited about him.  He’s without question our starting tailback and he’s without question…guy that’s our starting tailback and by the way get him every opportunity we can and get another receiver in there.  He’s a guy that we’re looking forward to letting him see what he can do with the football.

Q:  Coach, evidently you were skeptical of Phil Trautwein early in his career.  At least earlier when you were here.  What changed with him and the line?

COACH MEYER: I think him and Coach Addazio…fundamentally there’s a reason why players don’t improve.  And every year I evaluate coaches, every year I evaluate the player, and there’s 5 reasons why a player would not progress.  And the number 1 is resistive to coaching.  That’s the number 1 most common…if you see a player, for some reason…for 3 years Reggie Lewis…he’s just the same flat line, he’s not improving.  The number 1 reason is resistive to coaching.  Number 2 he doesn’t practice at the tempo that you need to have in practice.  The third one is because the coach, and this is a cop-out, says he’s not good enough.  The fourth one is he’s not getting enough reps.  And the last one is because he’s…they say he’s not good enough and he was a recruiting mistake.  And I don’t buy that.  I don’t buy that.  Also…poor teaching.  The think about that young guy is he’s bought into it, Coach Addazio and him have…he’s been flat lining for 2 years, and you saw that change because…I believe it was because of coaching.  And I know he overcame that with Addazio.  But every player that you see that’s developed like that, a Lewis Murphy, a Dorian Munroe, those players were resistive to coaching for some reason.  And you can see that those guys made tremendous progress.

Q:  Coach, it appears that USC is going to be consensus number 1 in the polls.  What do you think about the way that program has been built up over the last few years?  Is there any west coast/east coast parallels to that program and yours in terms of attracting players, and how often do you bump into them on the recruiting trail?

COACH MEYER: Oh, quite often.  You know, I think…I admire USC.  I don’t know of their program, I don’t know about all the off field stuff…so it seems like a different country.  As far as they…one thing they have is they reload year after year, and they convince.  What we’ve tried to do, and it’s hurting us a little bit in recruiting, is we’ve had 2 excellent recruiting classes.  It’s well documented.  I’d have to say after having them now, it’s legitimate.  We have 2 excellent recruiting classes.  Everyone is qualified, everyone’s out there, everyone’s going.  We had 26 this year, 27 this year…26 last year, 26 this year.  And USC does a good job saying, yeah we have…how they keep recruiting tailbacks when they have 7 of them.  They sell the fact for competition.  We’re trying to sell the fact, and I think some of these young people now take an easier road, where they’re guaranteed a starting spot.  I’m going to go here.  As opposed to, I’ll earn a spot.  So how they do that, I’m still trying to, you know…maybe it’s a different market out there, or they just do a good job and I think we’re challenging them right now…really good classes.  And when we recruit right now, we have to recruit with the belief you want to play with the best, you want to compete with the best, and ultimately be the best.  And I think they’re pro…one program.  I haven’t seen any other one do like that. 

Q:  Is it a modern phenomenon that Florida…Academy…more and more…

COACH MEYER: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to look at it.  We won’t…I don’t…I think they’re a little more national than we are.  I think we’re more regional than they are, but is it a modern phenomenon?  I’m not sure I’d say that, because Ohio State is in that…they’re down here all the time, and it’s just…I think probably tells you a bit about the caliber of football player in the south.  When USC’s got to get on a plane and…we’re not going to California.  They’re coming down here.  And that tells you a little bit about the caliber of athlete, and through the NFL all the way to…if you look at the combine, look at the SEC, the caliber of athlete of the south is kind of a testimony to that.

Q:  Shortly after the National Championship game you talked about not resting on your laurels.  Are there 2 or 3 things that you would, say if you were putting together a different…a program has to have to…to keep getting better?

COACH MEYER: Well the first one is, and I don’t want to sound like…the first one is easy.  Players…continue, the minute I start seeing an issue with recruiting, I see an issue with the staff that maybe figured out and they have all the answers.  The best one is, I remember at one point a Big 10 team led the Big 10 in passing one year, the next year they were 11th in passing or 10th in total offense.  When Drew Brees left, that same coaching staff walking around with their chest out, feeling really good about themselves, they were now being criticized.  So it’s all about the players.  And, you know, really anything other than that…you talk your coaching staff.  You talk about facilities.  You talk about everything involved in your program.  It all relates back to recruiting.  And that’s the thing you have to constantly watch.  And that’s why there’s a big beautiful facility going up out there, and it’s not because…it’s because recruiting number 1.  And our staff is constantly evaluated on that.  So that’s…it all relates back to players and recruiting.

Q:  Coach, you talked about the pressure on Tim Tebow this year.  What about Brandon Spikes?  You always talk about being strong up the middle on defense.  As a young guy, how do you think he’s going to handle all the pressure and how will he do?

COACH MEYER: We’re very concerned about that.  I don’t think he handled it January, February, March.  Our off season is real hard.  You know, we don’t spend as much time teaching guys how to bench press as we do trying to back them in a corner and see if they’ll fight their way our.  And he didn’t pass that with flying colors.  However, right now I’d have to rate him as a solid B or even heading towards an A, because he’s trying to keep that defense together.  He’s practicing very hard, and he loves football.  So we’re in his element.  But it remains to be seen when it gets real hard.  You know, we…people got to remember, too.  We’re…everybody keeps talking about training camp.  We haven’t even started training.  We’re just practicing.  We’re in Summer B.  Our kids are in class right now.  So there’s no training camp…today, and then, you know, in a week you’re going to see some solid…walking around this place.  We’re going to find out who the tough guys are.  Everybody’s feeling good about themselves.  They’re just basically practicing.  That’s no different than spring practice.  Now it gets real hard starting…that first double session.

Q:  Coach, how much different will this offense really look from last year?  Did you feel like the offense was limited in any way last year?  If there was anything you guys couldn’t do?

COACH MEYER: Yeah…I mean, yeah.  I think there’s some things we couldn’t do, and there were other things we could do.  You know, Chris Leak was a tremendous…a great football player, and I loved…and I do it all the time.  Check out the Bowling Green offense, through Josh Harris, through Alex Smith, through Chris Leak, through Tim Tebow, and the evolution of the offense is phenomenal.  And it’s…changes, and we’re going to see if we bring back a little bit more Utah things than we’ve done.  But I think the quarterback gets a lot of criticism and also a lot of glory.  Like Chris Leak, the most difficult, probably, time of his career is when you have Dallas Baker out, he had Bubba Caldwell, Jemalle Cornelius out, and really had no one in there that could make a play.  There was times…I remember I had…that we had no one on the field that could make a play, and we were playing the sixth ranked defense in America.  Can’t call a big play.  (audience laughing) It’s a hard thing to do.  Tim’s got a luxury maybe Chris didn’t have that year.  Tim’s got some guys.  But what a great play call we made against FSU, and Percy made 2 guys miss against Arkansas, 57 yards.  It’s not so much the play calling as…not so much the quarterback primarily in our offense…got to be dynamic. 

Q:  Also, just…Derrick Harvey.  I mean, what kind of person is he, and are your expectations for him as high as anybody?

COACH MEYER: Yeah, it’s…mine are as high as his are.  And so is our defensive coach.  But Greg Mattison told me that 2 years ago, and I kind of…we had a little confrontation.  I don’t know if he ever thought of it, but I didn’t see it.  But Greg Mattison, defensive line coach…Derrick Harvey is above and beyond where we thought he’d be.  As a leader, as a football player, as a guy…all he does is go as hard as he can.  And he’s got a tremendous future. 

Q:  ….report that Brandon James will be suspended for the first game of the year?  What’s the status…?

COACH MEYER: It’s all…it’s all things…it has to be…Brandon James is…I told him everything he’s going to have to do.  I don’t believe Brandon James is a bad guy.  I think he made a terrible mistake and he’ll be held…but he’s having a great practice.

Q:  Coach, how do you view going into this season…you had a senior-led team last year.  Do you see it as rebuilding, reloading because you have so many young, talented guys?

COACH MEYER: I mean…I don’t know.  We’re just trying to get a little better, get a young defense to play…I think we obviously…rebuilding and reloading.  I mean obviously we’re rebuilding…a lot of young players.  A lot of young players.  So you’re reloading and you’ve got to develop them fast.  There’s a void…transitions.  There’s a transition.  There’s…when there’s a coaching change that’s difficult, and then our first recruiting class…Florida standards.  So we’ve got a void in there right now.  When 75% of your players are freshmen and sophomores you’ve got to accelerate the learning curves.  How you do that is just time, patience, and get them going as best you can.

Q:  Good morning…can you talk about how you were impressed with Tony Joiner.  What impact do you think he’ll have on the success of the defense concerning…considering he’s still…player and very outspoken on the field.  Did you get that?

COACH MEYER: Are you asking just about Tony Joiner?

Q:  Yeah.

COACH MEYER: Uh, can you read that question?  (audience laughing) They’re good.  Not sure what you said…uh, Tony Joiner will be a captain of our team.  It’s well deserved.  I think he’s an excellent football player.  He is, you know, you said outspoken.  He loves the game of football.  He loves Florida.  Loves playing in The Swamp.  Loves the passion, so he’s helping a lot with the younger players, and I’d like to have a few more players like that…side of the ball right now.  Not so much the position, but the leadership role.  I’m hoping Spikes can have that same kind of passion.  You know, when you take Brandon Siler out of the middle of a defense, someone else has to pick up the slack.  Spikes is trying to, but Tony is helping out as well.

Q:  And Reggie Nelson once held the nickname “The Eraser”…play.  How hard will it be to find a player in the secondary in this unit to replace…

COACH MEYER: You are reading that question.  (audience laughing) Should I write down an answer and read it back to you? (audience laughing) No, I’m just kidding.  Ah, The Eraser, he had…he was the best I’ve ever seen at making up, in that position.  It’s just coaching 101.  When you see a team that plays a lot of single high safety, which we did ago, might not this year quite as much, but he’s just single high safety.  If that guy is not an excellent player, you’re a bad deal.  That means one-third of the field he’s got to make up for issues.  When you put the other 2 corners in man-to-man, they’re only splitting one-third of the field, he’s got 53 yards he’s got to cover.  Perfect example was FSU and Tennessee.  The corner made a mistake, Reggie overlapped and intercepted the first play against Tennessee.  That was not his play.  He overlapped and made a play on it.  And at FSU where he made that great interception, that was…that’s an overlap.  And that takes a little bit of…obviously a lot of speed, but a little bit of gamesmanship.  And that’s something that Reggie really had.  Does Kyle have that?  Does Major Wright have that?  Does our safety position have that right now?  I don’t believe they have that, but that’s not a negative to them.  Reggie was the best…in my opinion, one of the best that’s ever played that position.  So we’re going to…you might see a little more creativity, and that’s part of what I was talking about.  If you don’t have that guy on that defense, you need to be a little more creative than a year ago.

Q:  Coach, would you talk about Coach Marotti and the strength program, and secondly to that, how he has impacted the development of your young guys and getting them ready to go?

COACH MEYER: Well Florida should have the very best at everything.  You know, we made some changes in our training room…best training staff in college football.  Best I’ve ever been around.  When we were putting the staff together, we went through a little transition period in the weight room, and the goal wasn’t let’s try to find a big guy.  Let’s go try to find the best in the country.  Because about 10 to 15 years ago, it all changed, as far as coaches used to train guys.  Really, it…guys would finish summer or the spring semester, you’d give them a big hug, and they’d show up back in August and you’d have to condition them all the time during two-a-days.  And that all changed, and it has become a year around sport for the right reason.  For safety.  You had much more…you dealt with many more injuries and fatigue injuries than you deal with now.  So for the right reasons, college football did that.  When that happened, the coaches weren’t allowed to train them in the summer, which I believe is the right rule, and then all of a sudden your weight staff now became a premium.  And with that I think our weight coaches are paid very well.  Weight coaches have more contact with the team.  Certain times of the year…coaching staff.  And I think…how do you evaluate a strength staff?  Injury free and then also are you dominating the line of scrimmage.  By the time Mickey got his handprint…fingerprints all over this team, we were very dominant on the line of scrimmage and we were injury free on the muscle pulls.  The structural, that’s part of the game.  But I think he’s done a phenomenal job.

Q:  Coach…great players, about how they…with so many young players they can’t all be on the field…impression…what’s your philosophy when dealing with…issues such as a fight, or minor drug possessions for these young players, as opposed to a guy who’s 21, 22 years old?

COACH MEYER: Well, the first thing we do is we have a set of core values in our program, that if you break a core value we consider that a character flaw.  And if you have a character flaw, then you got to really evaluate whether you’ve got to eliminate the problem or if it’s worth trying to correct it.  Second thing is, you make a mistake then we try to make it so they don’t want to make that mistake again.  And how do you that?  Multiple ways you do that.  Every situation is different.  We take the family into consideration, we take the, you know…one way, always taking scholarships.  We’ve taken championship rings.  Obviously in the last 100 years everybody gets up at 6:00 a.m. and runs.  So there’s a multitude of different ways we deal with it.  You treat first time offenders far different than you do multiple offenders.  You take a look at the case.  So everyone’s different, and, you know…I think the most important thing is understanding these are young people.  You’ve got to educate them correctly.  That’s our…we educate and correct?  How do you educate…make it so they don’t want to make that decision again.

Q:  Tim seems to play with the emotions of linebacker at times.  How do you, without taking too much of that away…is hard to imagine him playing a full game at quarterback at that high emotional pitch.  Do you make a concerted effort to try to round that off a little bit, or do you just let nature take its course?

COACH MEYER: I think nature is going to take…that’s a good question, and we’ve talked about…we’ve talked to Tim about it, and also he’s not a big fan of sliding.  You know, there’s times you can take a hit to get that first down, and there are times you’re in survival mode in the SEC, so we’ve talked to him about that.  He looked at me like I had 6 heads when I was talking about he might have to step out of bounds or go down.  But I think…you know, I think we addressed it with him.  That’s a great problem to have.  You have a highly intense, motivated young person…team.  But you have to, I think…the nature of him going into one play, coming out, he’s got a little more juice for you.  But if he’s on his eight play of the drive you won’t see quite the same reaction after a 3-yard gain as you saw last year.

Q:  Who are your other captains?

COACH MEYER: We haven’t voted on it yet.  We’re going to vote, though.  I have a good idea who they are.  I can’t let you know until they vote.

Q:  You’ve mentioned the last 2 recruiting classes…everybody…John Brown?

COACH MEYER: He’s not officially in yet, but he’s practicing. 

Q:  Looking at the schedule, do you have a game that you’re particularly looking forward to?  I mean Auburn was your only loss last year.  You had tough losses your first year at LSU and at South Carolina.  Do you have a game you have circled on your calendar?

COACH MEYER: Anybody want to help him with that one?  (audience laughing) That answers your question.

Q:  Coach, after winning a National Championship…kind of relaxed a little, but how big was it for this team to see the basketball team pull together and go back to that?

COACH MEYER: Oh, I think it was big for our team, and we’re going to have our second annual Billy Donovan Day where he comes in, and it’s a little different approach that we’re going to day.  I can’t wait.  We have it all set.  And it’s going to be a great night for the Gators, a great night for Billy, and you have one of the greatest resources 3 blocks away, 2 blocks away.  And I know one thing, our players admire that team, and they did it the right way, so…there was no real…even if they went 3 and 30, there would’ve been no relaxing at The University of Florida.  You know, but the fact that they saw them go back…I think it’s more admiration, and a great educating tool for our players.  We’re going to use every ounce of it.

Q:  Yeah, Kerwin talked to you a couple of weeks ago about the tape that you prepared…felt on his role in the offense…

COACH MEYER: I’m going to say this about Kerwin.  Kerwin…Brian Brantley is a…I know his father was a quarterback at Florida, John, and he’s…obviously grew up with the ball in his hands.  You can tell.  He’s a great…kid’s as natural a passer as his daddy…and that’s pretty good…when you’re…watching professional quarterbacks that have played for us.  So…Chris is a very natural guy, but this guy might even be more of a natural thrower.  I mean, he’s tremendous.  The tape we put together was just simply…I mean, there’s a myth, or a…you know, that we’re a big option team.  And boy, you know, I’m not sure you can run that offense because you don’t run 4.43 or something like that.  We’re putting together an Alex Smith/Chris Leak tape that’s very conducive to Johnny’s skills, and I think he’s…that guy at the drugstore went out and…you know, well you can’t go there because they run option all the time…run two options…that’s all we run.  So we re-adapt to the personnel.  And I think it was more just to eliminate some of the…instead of saying this is real…it was the Arkansas game.  He really, after you watch…we made him cut off on the Arkansas game when Chris Leak, the way he played in that game, and he had a couple of bad series, but he played really well, in the style of offense that’s Johnny Brantley’s style of play. 

Q:  Coach, Cornelius Ingram has come a long way from position change, he had a good National Championship game…guy.  What kind of impact do you think he’ll make now in the new offense?

COACH MEYER: Well, he’s one of our primos.  He’s a guy that we’ll have every week on our game plan…get a 2 package.  Get it to Percy…get to Jarred, but I’m thinking Cooper…Riley Cooper is getting close.  Chris Rainey, Brandon James might be starting to fall in that category, and that’s really a great issue to have when you start looking on, it’s on the bottom left of that game plan, so…start looking at the bottom left, that’s who hasn’t touched the ball.  For example, we’ll go and he’d tell us he’s got to touch the ball 12 times, so instead of saying…plays, go right down there and see, you don’t like that one…in order, that we call.  And there was a time last…two years ago, I had nothing on my left.  Bottom left.  Corner of my playbook, my sheet, because it was…I didn’t know who to go with the ball to.  But CI is certainly one of the guys that will have his own little list of plays.  And that’s probably a good evaluator when they coaches…how they feel about you.

Q:  Coach, you mentioned about last year’s front 4 veteran guys, throw them out there, let them play.  This year, Derrick Harvey…can you talk about the competition at the other places and what you like at this point there?

COACH MEYER: Well, we’re not…it’s…I’d hate to say coaches…but the first 2 days ago or 3 days ago, my wife got the…playing on defense.  Let my wife say we’re fine, don’t worry about it…go to Disney, we’re okay.  Then I made a call last…and said, boy it’s looking really bad right now.  And that’s what you have when you have young players, and yesterday was not good.  It was a bad day…so I…you said competition?  I hope there’s a lot more here in the next couple of weeks, or we’re going to have major issues.  And I’m expecting there will be, because they’re good kids and they’re good coaches, and there’s talent there.  They’re just so young.  My goodness, there’s six defensive linemen that are freshmen.  Charlie…you know, Coach Strong is a great, you know…he’s been here.  He’s seen what…his…year of coaching…I think that’s a great insight in the, you know, the Marcus Thomas, the Ray McDonald…those kids when they first came in were kind of deer in the headlight, and it was…to get Ray McDonald to take more than 3 steps on a play was a major issue.  And then obvious it became…I mean he was the one that made the play on fourth down against Ohio State, so great effort.  So it’s just coaching and staying on them, and pushing them, and making sure they realize that there’s great rewards for great effort.  I mean that’s what we’re going through right now.

Q:  ….changing things at quarterback this year…

COACH MEYER: I hope we do, Mike.  I don’t know that yet.  Cam Newton comes out later this week.  I really excited about him in the spring.  Brian Wagner has really improved.  My biggest issue is…do we want to do that yes.  To answer your question, yes.  At issue is, you can’t get 4 guys ready in a two-hour practice.  You know, if you extend practice to 4 ½ hours and give them all the reps, but you burn everyone else out.  So we have an issue at that position, and it’s a positive one.  And that is who do we get ready, and we’ve got to…and make that decision and let me know, and I’m going to give my input.  Once that’s made, then you’ve got to deal with some egos and some issues, which I don’t think it’ll…but then you get that package ready.  With that young person you do it, and we like to have a little change of tempo.

Q:  Coach, can you talk about guys getting the ball…you have a number in your head for Percy?

COACH MEYER: (inaudible)

Q:  Double digit?

COACH MEYER: Yes.

Q:  Triple digit?

(audience laughing)

COACH MEYER: Yeah, he’s going to be…if he…I was telling this.  If Percy Harvin faced Percy Harvin, watch out…I mean, I love speed, I love skill, and boy, that’s…that ball will be in his hand…you’re going to be a great decoy this year.  I think Bubba…thank you very much.

END

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Kevin Carter talks about his role with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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