While he wouldn’t confirm it, it sounded as though Urban Meyer was defending his spread offense Thursday. The spread has been criticized for a while about how it doesn’t properly develop players for the NFL. This kind of stuff can hurt a team as far as selling your program to high school kids who have the goal of playing in the pros one day.
Pahokee receiver De’Joshua Johnson (Florida State commit) dropped the Gators in the spring because of the spread.
“I don’t want to play in the spread offense,” Johnson told the Palm Beach Post. “I’ve seen how it affected receivers in the NFL draft. They have to teach them to play in a pro-style offense.”
Well, a couple of former Florida receivers made Meyer and his offense look pretty good in the opening-week of the NFL season.
Minnesota Vikings first-round pick Percy Harvin had three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball twice for 22 yards in Minnesota’s 34-20 win over Cleveland.
Oakland Raider Louis Murphy hauled in four catches for 87 yards and had what looked to be the the game-winning 57-yard score with 2:34 left against the San Diego Chargers, before the Chargers rallied for the 24-20 win. He also had another touchdown ruled incomplete after the play was reviewed.
Andre Caldwell had six catches for 54 yards in the Cincinnati Bengal’s wild 12-7 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Here’s where Meyer spontaneously responded to his critics.
“It’s just amazing what I hear people say about the spread offense and wide receiver play,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing what’s been said.”
That was pretty good for opening week, considering both Harvin and Murphy are both rookies.
Meyer said Philadelphia Eagles tight end Cornelius Ingram, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, would have had a good week too if he wasn’t injured.
“We’re very proud of the wide receivers we have starting in the NFL, playing very well, because (wide receivers) coach (Billy Gonzales) trained them very well,” Meyer said.
The success of Caldwell, Harvin and Murphy means that three star receivers under Meyer have made the jump to the next level without the spread holding them back. That certainly can’t hurt when Meyer and Gonzales sit down in living rooms with prospects and their families.