Notebook: Offense not 'vanilla'
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.
After Saturday's comfortable win against Florida Atlantic, senior running back Chris Rainey was one of a few players who said the Gators employed a vanilla gameplan.
In fact, Rainey said Florida's offense only used six plays.
"What do you think?" head coach Will Muschamp said Monday when asked about Rainey's claim. "His access may be limited."
Muschamp insisted his team isn't hiding anything about the way it plays.
"I'm not a big believer in hiding something for somebody else," he said. "We're all new at this. It's all a new scheme, new system. It's all new for our players. I want to see stuff repped in the game, so we're not doing a whole lot of holding back on what we do."
Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis echoed that sentiment on Tuesday.
"They don't know what I'm doing," Weis said of the players. "I'm just calling plays. They're just running the plays. For Rainey to try to give you analysis on what we're doing, that's comical in its own right. There were six plays that had No. 1 (Rainey's number) attached to it, so as far as he was concerned they were the only six plays that existed.
"We obviously didn't throw the kitchen sink in there, but we did enough things. We upped the tempo. We went in and out of modes. We went in and out of personnel groupings."
Weis said he scripts between 12 to 24 plays for the start of each game. Against Florida Atlantic last Saturday he had a 12-play sequence followed by a six-play sequence.
"I wasn't counting on the snap over (quarterback John Brantley's) head," he said. "I didn't factor that one in."
Praise for Driskel, Joyer
Junior offensive guard Jon Halapio said he was impressed by two of the true freshmen who play on offense — quarterback Jeff Driskel and fullback Hunter Joyer.
After Driskel's first pass was intercepted in the second quarter, he completed four of his five passes for 42 yards in the second half.
“I feel he was real comfortable out there,” Halapio said. “For a freshman, he has great leadership ability. He's very vocal on the field. It was very exciting to see him play.
“We all picked him up (after the interception). He moved on to the next play. Our coaches teach us to have a short memory.”
Joyer, ranked the No. 1 fullback by Rivals.com coming out of high school last year, saw considerable playing time in the opener.
“He's a real physical, real smart player for a freshman,” Halapio said. “The thing that stands out to me and my teammates is how physical he is at the fullback position.
“During the first day of full-pads practice in camp, he didn't know what he was doing, but he was running full speed trying to hit somebody. That was very surprising to see from a fullback.”
Debose makes a move
Sophomore Andre Debose was one of the young wide receivers who stood out in the opener. He caught three passes for 32 yards, including a 20-yarder in the second half when he was interfered with by an FAU defender.
“He's definitely grown up and matured a lot in the past year,” Brantley said. “He had a great camp and worked really hard, and it showed Saturday night. Hopefully, he can just keep producing like has has each week.
“He's just working hard. He goes out there every day with a great attitude and tries to get better.”
Flying blind vs. Blazers
In Alabama-Birmingham, Florida faces another opponent playing its first game of the season. To make scouting more difficult for Weis and his offense, the Blazers' defensive coordinator is Tommy West, who took last year off after being fired as Memphis' head coach in 2009.
"Once again, for the second week in a row, we have no evidence for sure what they're going to do on defense," Weis said. "So you have to break down all the UAB tape, and then you have to break down all of the Memphis tape from 2009."
Wenger makes the calls
Notre Dame transfer Dan Wenger not only started at offensive guard in his first Florida game, he also made the majority of the line calls. Having played in Weis' offense for four years at Notre Dame, no one knows it better than Wenger.
“He's the wise old man of the offensive line,” Halapio said. “He knows every call there is. We were real comfortable with him out there calling all the calls, running to the ball and being a leader. He did not make all the calls, but he did a big part of it, though.”
In the only other meeting between the two schools, Florida beat UAB 51-3 to open the 2002 season.
It was Ron Zook's first game as Florida's head coach.
The Gators exploded offensively with 643 yards of offense, as wide receiver Taylor Jacobs broke a 33-year-old team record with 246 receiving yards and running back Earnest Graham had 182 yards rushing and two scores.
Will Muschamp is the 17th of 23 Florida head coaches to debut with a victory. ... Florida hasn't lost to a team from Conference-USA since 1979 when the Houston Cougars defeated the visiting Gators 14-10. ... The FSN broadcast team for Saturday's game will be Bob Rathbun (play-by-play), Tim Couch (color commentary) and Kristina Akra (sideline).
Staff writer Robbie Andreu contributed to this report. Contact Jeff Barlis at (352) 374-5066 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow at http://Twitter.com/JeffBarlis.