A long time ago before championships were both expected and demanded, Florida fans got just as lathered up about not winning – except they were more patient. They wanted change, but were willing to wait. They were known as Wait-til-next-year Gators. Their patience was rewarded in 1996.
Urban Meyer doesn’t keep them waiting as long. He has proven he can turn it around by the next game. (See Georgia 2006 after the loss to Auburn and Arkansas 2008 after Ole Miss loss. And the national championships that followed.)
Maybe LSU can be another one of those turnaround games that will reroute the course north toward that big city in Georgia in December.
This is what the fans desire and think they deserve.
Say hello to the new Wait-til-next-week Gators.
It comes with baggage.
* * *
At his press conference on Monday, Meyer didn’t look drawn and quartered, or hollow-eyed, or despondent, or spooked by the loss to Alabama. He was fairly direct, only slightly evasive, concerned about some individual performances, clearly dissatisfied with the end result and admitted his team had “failed miserably” at their attempt to execute the Plan to Win.
Despite holding Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to under 100 yards rushing, or Greg McElroy under 100 yards passing, Meyer would only call it “admirable” defense.
He was especially perturbed by the turnovers and the break down of the punt returning team on Julio Jones’ near touchdown, spared only by the courageous tackle made by punter/placekicker Chas Henry, who suffered a shoulder injury on the play.
No, Urban will not make wholesale changes. Yes, he knows his calls in the red zone can be second-guessed. And no, he isn’t going to abandon the option play, just try to improve on it. Yes, he will try some more “creative” things in the offense, meaning that we’ll probably be seeing Jordan Reed taking some snaps.
I asked him about the problems in the end zone, but chances are that many of the fans already know the answers – they wouldn’t want to be bored by what he said in his real response. So I decided to make up some questions and answers for some of those Wait-til-next-week Gators.
* * *
Question: Urban, since you obviously have no clue with what you’re doing with the play calling in the red zone, are you planning on firing two or three members of your offensive staff?
Answer: Well, I thought I’d give then another week and see if we can turn this thing around. Maybe we’ll just suspend a couple first. It builds up the suspense.
Question: Did all the Alabama coaches and players have copies of your playbook, because they seemed to know what was coming – especially the Jump Pass?
Answer: No, just our call sheets. We left some lying around the locker room. Stuff happens.
Question: What’s it going to take to get you to put Mike Pouncey back at guard and move Sam Robey to center?
Answer: Oh, is that what you guys wanted? Why didn’t you say so? Sometimes I get so busy I don’t have time to read the message boards before I draw up the game plan.
Question: Is it true that you don’t have one single leader on this team and that you miss Tim Tebow?
Answer: Yeah, we didn’t have a single guy step up. We are leaderless. But we’ve asked Tim to make some tapes and send them to us for use at halftime.
* * *
Observations: (for real)
--Linebacker Brandon Hicks was wearing a tee shirt with the word “Team” on it. When I asked him if he thought his “Team” was better or worse after the loss to Alabama, he gave me a long, convoluted answered – he tried, he really did – after which I asked him “better or worse”? again and he said “better.” I think.
--I don’t find it alarming at all that every player had the same response – OK, maybe it was all choreographed – about who stepped up as “leaders” after the loss. They have been taught that each player group has its spokesperson(s) and that’s what they called their “Power of the Unit.” Does that mean they are leaderless? No, not at all. Will this “group think” work? We’ll find out.
--I found it hilarious, not damning, that freshman kickoff specialist Brad Phillips from Gainesville Buccholz was so anonymous that Urban asked him to stand up in a team meeting so he knew who he was. Speaks well for the kid, too, that he stepped right in and kicked well in his first outing at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
--I’ve always wondered how long the sting of a nasty defeat should linger and when it was time to move on. Same as the glow of a victory, I suppose. On Mondays. Gator players and coaches say they are moving on. “It’s over,” said Urban.
* * *
Since so many people aren’t getting the answers they want, we have decided to turn our reports into Comedy Central, with the best lines of the day – all from that standup comedian Carl Johnson:
On what was said at halftime and why they played better: “There was no pixie dust at halftime, no kumbayas – it was just play Florida football in the second half.”
On whether they were deflated after failing to score on the first draft: “Actually it wasn’t deflating. It just showed that these Crimsons Tides weren’t gods.”
On what he would call on the 1-yard line – the jump pass? “I’m just a player, I dunno.”
Did he think Alabama knew what was coming? “I dunno, but my grandma watched the game and she said says that before we did the jump pass all the Alabama coaches were hollerin’, ‘watch out for that!”
On the lack of a short-yardage speciaist: “No, there’s no Tim Tebow—just like there’s no Randy Moss, either.”
* * *
Nobody much is talking Atlanta anymore short term, but no question they are thinking long term. And why not?
We may not be having this conversation next Monday unless the red zone offense is fixed, but on the other hand, the next few weeks set up nicely for a run.
These Gators could fall flat of their face, or they could go out and beat a 5-0 LSU team and vault back into the Top Ten, then play and defeat Mississippi State at homecoming. That gets them to the open date and a chance to heal up for the final five games: Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Appalachian Stat and Florida State.
Even the most pessimistic Wait-til-next-week Gators would have to admit that looks pretty do-able.
I certainly do. Optimistic? Don’t forget, I picked Alabama.
13 Comments so far
This is not the first time this has happened. Been happening for 2 years on offense. Patience has been there.
It does not take Knute or Bear or even Urban to see things need to change. I am not averse to the option as an occasional part of the offense. However, I am averse to not allowing Brantley display his strengths more. I am also averse to coaches insisting that the O-line is made for this. The Gator opponents must not be aware of this. Because Florida ranks 66th in the nation in rushing yards per game, and 59th in yards per carry. The D bailed us out over and over last year, and they are doing it again this year.
Second I hear plenty of blame placed on the players in the game, but how about the game plan. The plan was weak at best. I am tired of hearing about execution and no hits on coaching. If they are not performing and executing, then a coach makes adjustments, does more to get the players ready. Little to no consistent pressure on Mcelroy, Richardson and Ingram ‘only had 110 yards’ of rushing on 22 carries. UF did not look especially crisp on D. Florida racked up and impressive 23 carries for 80 yards not counting Brantley’s overall one yard. Shoot, 2 Duke Blue Devils managed 122 combined yards.
On the good side, our punter is a stud, and when we get inside the five yard line you can go the fridge to get a drink and make a visit to the bathroom. I will tell you the plan. Run up the middle. Run up the middle. Third down maybe pass toward middle of field or run up middle. Certainly no fade rout to Carl Moore. And we can laugh at a great article like this. Laughter is good medicine. So let’s yuck it up. Unfortuanately, I do not feel much like ROTFLOL.
Yeah, I guess 30-3 the last 33 games is a pretty lousy record. Awful offense. Surprised nobody has started a FireUrbanMeyer.com site.
The issue is we keep seeing the same issues in one form or another on offense - if we keep seeing the same issues every week - it’s only logical to ask why is not something being done about it. Put Robey in at center - move Pouncey to guard - stop running up the middle all the time in the red zone - and stop the option plays with Brantley.
All of this sounds so familiar… seems like the same things were being said when Chris Leak was running the show… I’m pretty sure that turned out OK. I think it’s time we trust our coaching staff that they know this team better than any of us, after all Urban has proven he is a decent coach :)
I agree that we need to trust our coaching. I am not a fan of addazio by any means, but I do trust in Urban so lets see what happens. What I would like to see is the players taking pride in being a part of Gator Nation! Work harder, and get better results. Thomas Jefferson said, “I am a firm believer in luck. I feel that the harder I work, the more of it I have.” Lets get those Tigers next week and keep the faith!!!
I don’t wish to upset Buddy Martin into questioning anything regarding Staffing and Game Plans...otherwise we may not get to hear “I can fix that”....that was Buddy’s good pal Ron Zook’s saying I do believe! But buddy, I just can’t drink your kool-aid suggesting everyone rejoin the “Wait-til-next-week” Gators. But a great balm for you to serve...okay so we forgive Urban and the Coaching Staff for such a piss poor performance...it was only the young, inexperienced players’ fault...you just “wait-til-next-week” Buddy! Meanwhile keep writing those witty fluff articles for us! Your articles may not be harsh on Coaches but you-just-wait-til-next-week articles are indeed fun to read Buddy! GO GATORS!
How clever. Sarcasm. Never heard of that before.
Why are we talking about the last 33 games? Because, the last I checked going back 33 games includes all of the Gators’ last national championship season in which MULLEN not Addazio called the plays. During that run, the Gators found the end zone with regularity and a number of different ways. For the entire season, the Gators scored 30 or more points every time except against the Sooners and the Hurricanes.
The big time run included 40 or more points against LSU (#3), Georgia (#8), South Carolina (#23), and FSU (#24). When playing #1 Bama UF scored 31 points without Harvin, and 24 versus #1 OU for the national championship win.
The 18 games since Mullen has been gone are not even close to as consistent or efficient.
This is not calling for Meyer to go, but for looking for changes that could fix the problem. Red Zone play calling has not been great in the Addazio era to say the very least. The option is NOT working, and I wonder if we are going to try to ride Demps as hard as we have to this point. I am concerned for his health long-term.
Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. At least that was what Einstein said. Let’s be honest about the issues, and see if a change in play calling can’t yield better results.
Buddy, i love the article. Fans of the Florida Gators should be grateful that we have a coach like Urban Meyer. He’s a winner. He’s dedicated to the players and the program. I remember how it felt we he resigned. We were devistated. I wish more people expressed their appreciation and support. Glad to see you taking a stand on this issue.
I love the Gators. I bleed orange and blue. I love what Meyer has done with the program.
I am just a big believer that the players are not the only reason the Gators lost Saturday. Obviously, a team, the entire team gets some credit with each win and if it works there, it also works when a team loses.
I question insisting on running plays that are only marginally successful at best against top tier teams of the SEC because they worked before. I thought this was the Brantley era. I loved Tebow, and NOBODY will or can be TIM.
Isn’t Brantley the guy who broke Tebow’s FHSAA TD record? Don’t we have a stable of thoroughbreds at WR. Meyer has adjusted the scheme to fit the talent. That is what I loved about the 2006 season. He used Leak to do what Leak did, and the playcalling and performance at that championship game in Arizona fit Leak to a T. I guess that is why I am so frustrated with things. Maybe I am reading wrong, but it sounds like the Gator coaches are happy with play calling, and they feel execution is the only real problem. And if that is the sentiment, I don’t see it.
I really do hope I am wrong.
The point is that if the OL cannot protect it doesn’t really matter what the play call is. The OL has to pass protect in order to have a successful day. They also have to give our backs a opening to run and not let them get tackled for a loss. If they correct this, they will get a rematch in Atlanta.
This sounds similar to the stories in Buddy’s Urban book where we struggled on offense through the year until Chris Leak decided to take control. Then Urban gave him the opportunity to fire away and we started to click.
Is the problem this year with Brantley (as talented as he is) not being ready to take control? I believe he will get there. I would like to see Brantley take command of this team and stand up to Urban and Addazio and tell them to “GIVE HIM THE DAMN BALL AND LET HIM DO HIS THING”.
I truely believe that Brantley if fully motivated to lead the team can and will be a great QB.
PS. Please don’t tell me he’s fully motivated. He looks like Leak in the early years where he did what he needed to do but he did not have the fire within him. Leak eventually got it and we got a championship.
For Steve Addazio to say the mind-boggling statements he made regarding Pouncey really and truly bothers me. I interpert that as him saying everything is fine...well… nevermind...it’s just no longer worth the logic to express your questions...a closed mind never really produces positive results...but I read your comments guys… and like thousands of other “tried and true” Gator Fans...For the most part I agree withyour comments. Take away Demps 70 yard run and what does the average offensive yardage drop too? just curious.
Get the Gator Country Magazine!
Read outstanding, feature length coverage of Gator athletics like no other in a beautiful, full color & glossy print magazine... MORE...
Check out our Photo Galleries!
View thousands of Gator Country's exclusive photos from all Florida Gators sports, including games, events, tournaments, practices and more... MORE...
2014 Football Commits
|Davidson (NC) Day|
|Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County|
|Jacksonville (Fla). Raines|
|Deland (Fla.) High|
|New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine|
|Miami (Fla.) Central|
|Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas|
2013 Basketball Commits
|Clermont (Fla.) Montverde Academy|
|Bonifay (Fla) Holmes County|
- Jarran Reed won't play for UF this year (GATORAZ @ 07:07 PM)
- MAN OF STEEL : Fate of your Planet (GatorPrincess8 @ 07:06 PM)
- Here is your chance to thumb your nose at the Florida Highway Patrol (helix139 @ 06:59 PM)
- Pugh set to decide (JerseyGator3669 @ 06:56 PM)
- What celebrity do you simultaneously admire and despise? (NorthCaptivaGator @ 06:55 PM)
- ESPN special on Abby Wambach (2aday @ 06:48 PM)
- Just met Ernie Mills (HungaryGator @ 06:44 PM)
- The Muschamp stare runs in the family. (Video) (malscott @ 06:38 PM)
- JUST IN: Jarran Reed fails to qualify (g8trsnapper @ 06:37 PM)
- cheyenne coyle (adgator @ 06:36 PM)