Meyer Looking for Answers in the Red Zone

Florida's offensive struggles last weekend at Alabama don't have Urban Meyer worried about their production this weekend. The execution wasn't where it needed to be against the Crimson Tide, but it's nothing an increased focus on details hasn't fixed at practice this week.

"We drove the ball the length of the field to start the first half and second half, but we walked away with no points," Urban Meyer said after Thursday's practice. "Red zone and execution were disgraceful."

The national analysis on the Florida game was complete domination by Alabama, but the Florida head coach doesn't see it that way. He sees that his offense had more yardage than Alabama. There were only some mistakes in key situations that changed the game.

"If we score those touchdowns, it's a whole different (game)," Meyer said. "It's not like it's a train wreck. That team didn't come in and wipe us. We outgained them, and I know it was down 24-0, but we've got to score touchdowns. The biggest issue now is finding out who is going to physically put that ball in the end zone."

A lack of continuity in practice is what has hurt the Florida offense line, and the offensive struggles haven't been helped because of it.

"I don't think the line played great, but it's certainly not because they didn't get push," Meyer said. "You can only push the amount of bodies you have. If there are two extra bodies in there, the tailback has to run over someone or you've got to throw the ball."

INJURY REPORT: Meyer isn't worried about quarterback John Brantley this week. He has participated in practice after suffering a rib injury at Alabama.

"He was limited throwing, so we would have a guy go in there and throw the ball a little bit," Meyer said.

Jeff Demps was limited this week but will play "at the same tempo as last week against Alabama." Brandon Antwine is out, while fellow freshmen wide receivers Chris Dunkley and Quinton Dunbar are both dealing with hamstring injuries.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis is "getting better and feeling better." There is still no timetable for his return, as Meyer called the injury a stress fracture.

WILKS IMPORTANCE: The Florida offense will also get a boost from the return of fullback Steve Wilks, who was cleared to play and practiced all week. Meyer says he will help the offense "a lot."

"He's like Billy Latsko," Meyer said. "He's a football position guy. He's not a home run hitter, but he gets in your way and blocks you. He knows the offense well."

PUNT COVERAGE STRUGGLES: The struggles of the punt coverage unit only showed in one 41-yard return from Julio Jones last week, but it's something the coaches have focused on this week in practice.

Meyer described Florida's punt coverage unit as having guys running towards the returner in five, ten and 15-yard increments to each side of him. Those players weren't all in position last week, allowing Jones to break one.

This week the Gators face LSU's Patrick Peterson, who is currently one of the most feared punt returners in college football.


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