Notebook: Meyer disappointed with offense


The Offensive line and Defensive line face off during the Gators' practice on Monday.

Carlos Baez/Special to the Sun
Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 at 11:22 p.m.

It’s taken just four spring practices for Florida coach Urban Meyer to be disappointed in his offense.

At the moment, UF is looking to add more wrinkles to an offense that averaged 445 yards and just over 43 points a game in 2008 by experimenting with a few new sets in its scheme, including the I-formation.

So far, Meyer hasn’t been too pleased with what he’s seen.

“I’m not sure how that I-package is going to be sticking around in here,” Meyer said after Monday’s practice. “We want to have it in, but once again I said this four years ago when we walked on this campus, we don’t really have an offense. It’s an offense based on what you have. We can run “I” all you want, but if your players aren’t very good or they’re struggling or they’re young and inexperienced then we’re not going to run that ragged. We’ll go to five-wide and you’ve seen us do that before.”

One issue Meyer’s team is having with the I-package is the youth at certain positions. UF has just two tight ends — junior Aaron Hernandez and freshman Desmond Parks — and no proven fullbacks.

Getting veterans like Hernandez to adapt to new parts of the offensive scheme haven’t been the issue. It’s been the less experienced ones Meyer’s had to worry about.

“Des Parks right now has no idea which way right or left is and our fullbacks are struggling as well,” he said. “It’s not looking very good.”

Meyer talks Johnson

Offensive lineman Carl Johnson’s off-season headlines haven’t taken him out of the good graces of his team.

Johnson was arrested last month for allegedly violating a restraining order obtained by his ex-girlfriend, but the misdemeanor charge was later dropped.

Meyer, who stood by Johnson during the entire process, is still holding him in high regard

“Carl Johnson hasn’t been a major problem since he’s been here,” Meyer said. “I have a lot of respect for him and his family and if he’s done something wrong he knows that there’ll be a heck of a price to pay.”

Brantley improving

While redshirt sophomore quarterback John Brantley waits his turn behind the very much established Tim Tebow, he’s having to have his game nitpicked by his new position coach, Scot Loeffler.

“I never thought my mechanics were that bad until (Loeffler) got here,” Brantley said. “He’s switched up so much on me. It’s really paying off.”

As a freshman, Brantley was known for his big arm and smooth spiral. Both were on display Monday as he zipped a few passes through tight coverage and into his receivers’ hands a couple times during passing drills.

Brantley said he would love to show off that same spiral this season, but isn’t sure yet how he’ll be used. In the meantime, all he can do is wait.

“Hopefully one day if I’m fortunate enough I’ll be able to take over the team when (Tebow) leaves,” he said. “For right now, I’m just trying to come out here and get better, so in case I do have to go into the game I’m prepared.”

Etc.

Senior receiver Riley Cooper showed up to practice in street clothes. Cooper isn’t participating this spring in order to concentrate on baseball. … Sophomore offensive lineman Matt Patchan was out of his air cast (knee), but was still on crutches. He also had less of a noticeable limp in his walk. … Junior offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey was held out with a shoulder injury, Meyer said. He didn’t think the injury was too serious. “We’re just being very careful, very cautious,” he said.

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