Since Will Muschamp took over in December, Urban Meyer has stated several times that Florida football is in great hands.
After listening to Charlie Weis and Dan Quinn speak at Florida’s high school coaches’ clinic Friday morning in the Touchdown Terrace, I see exactly where Meyer is coming from with that.
Muschamp’s offensive and defensive coordinators were very impressive. They’re charismatic, smart, engaging — and, man, they really, really know their football.
Muschamp introduced Weis as the greatest offensive play-caller in football. I doubt anyone in the room would have questioned that statement after Weis spent an hour talking about offensive philosophy, game-planning and play-calling.
Weis talked about the first thing an offensive coordinator must do is judge his talent and then shape the offense to fit the talent. He’s done that wherever he’s been. When he had a passing quarterback and good receivers at Notre Dame, he threw the ball all over the lot. Last season in Kansas City, he had a veteran offensive line and two quality running backs, and the Chiefs were the NFL’s leading rushing team.
In drawing up a game plan, Weis said a priority on what plays are called in is based on what plays the quarterback feels comfortable with. If the QB doesn’t feel comfortable with a play, even if Weis thinks it could be a great one, he won’t call it. He said if the QB isn’t comfortable with a play, it’s likely not going to work.
As for the game-plan, and the play-calling, Weis said he never waits until halftime to make adjustments. If things aren’t working early, he’ll nix the plan and start trying to come up with some plays that work, sometimes as early as the first quarter if it’s apparent the game-plan isn’t going to be effective. He said sometimes it’s meant drawing plays up in the dirt, whatever it takes to find a way to get the offense moving.
Weis said one of his pet-peeves with play-callers is when they have a play that works, but don’t go back to it. Weis said if he has a play that’s working, he’ll run it over and over and over — until the defense shows it can stop it. He said there have been games where he’s called 25 straight running plays and some games where he’s called 25 consecutive passes. Keep doing what’s working until the defense shows it can stop it, Weis said. It may be boring at times, he said, but it’s effective.
During Quinn’s hour on the stage, his theme was turnovers — how important they are and how a defense can create them.
Quinn pointed out that the team that wins the turnover margin in a game wins 79 percent of the time. He researched the last five years at Florida, and the Gators were 36-0 when they won the turnover battle.
With the aide of some NFL highlights, the former Seattle Seahawks gave a clinic on stripping the ball loose, punching it out — and knowing when to attempt it based on offensive player’s ball security (or insecurity).
After listening to Quinn, it’s pretty obvious the Gators are going to be an aggressive, ball-hawking defense determined to produce potential game-changing turnovers.
Overall, anyone who attended the clinic Friday morning likely would agree with Meyer: Florida football appears in very good hands.