Thompson Buying in to Weis' NFL Offense

Watching Monday Night Football, Deonte Thompson realized why the Florida offense has experienced success. It's the same one the New England Patriots have run since Charlie Weis started there. Thompson watched the game and made calls, predicting what the Patriots' offense would do next. If the players needed any more motivation to buy into what Weis says, Monday night was it.

"It's very interesting," Deonte Thompson said. "I knew what they were doing. When we came in (to the football offices on Tuesday), everybody was like, ‘did you see what they were doing last night?'"

After playing in Urban Meyer's spread offense in recent years, it was a refreshing change to flip on the television and see one of the most successful NFL teams running a similar offense to the one the Gators run. It's not a knock on what Meyer did in Gainesville. It's just a different and rejuvenated Florida offense that needed it.

With a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Patriots forced the Dolphins to turn the ball over on downs at the one-yard line. Instead of running it and trying to bleed the clock, Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for a 99-yard touchdown pass over the top. After seeing similarities all night, the Florida players saw a familiar play work to burn an NFL defense for a backbreaking touchdown.

"The play Wes Welker caught, we have that play, too," Thompson said. "I was calling out plays. It's the same offense."

When Weis got the job at Florida, one of the few hesitations is that the offense might be too complex for college players that he has limited hours with each week. In the pros, it's a job. Weis had all day to pound the offense into the brains of his players with the Patriots or as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs last year.

The players haven't had much of an issue, though.

"It's all just remembering," Thompson said. "Once you get it in and get comfortable with it, it's pretty simple. Now, it's just simple."

The offense has mostly shown the short passing game through the first two games of the season. Most of it has come from FAU and UAB eliminating the deep ball and allowing the Gators to take underneath throws whenever they wanted. John Brantley read the defense and took what he could.

This week should be different. Tennessee is a team with a similar amount of athletes as the Gators, and the Volunteers won't be afraid to take some risks.

"They feel like they've got just as good of players as us, so they're going to come up and jam us to challenge us to make the deep balls," Thompson said.

In recent years, the Tennessee game has served as a barometer for the season. After two non-conference opponents that didn't have near the talent of Florida, the Volunteers are different.

"It's our first challenge," Thompson said. "The SEC is big. It'll be a good measuring stick to see where we're at. It's the East, so if we win this game, it's a good start for us. It's a rivalry game, also."

When the Florida offense isn't on the field, it'll be up to a young secondary to slow down Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and his young, dynamic playmakers. Justin Hunter (6-4) and Da'Rick Rogers (6-3) bring height that could give the Gators trouble.

It's especially scary for Florida having two freshmen in the secondary. Safety Pop Saunders and cornerback Marcus Roberson have played well in their first two games, but things change once conference play begins.

"They're both going to be hell of a players," Thompson said. "Roberson reminds me of Janoris (Jenkins) from his freshman year. Pop is a great guy with good ball skills. They're just great athletes."

Roberson has tackled well in his first two games, but Thompson thinks he can become a lockdown cornerback early in his career.

"He's good at the line of scrimmage," Thompson said. "He's a good jammer, just like Janoris was."

Thompson is just happy he was able to play against UAB. After taking a helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of the FAU game, the senior receiver was knocked out on the field. He regained consciousness on the field but said he did suffer a concussion. Thompson returned to practice last Wednesday.

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