Weis Frustrated by Missed Opportunities

The injuries and mistakes that have plagued the Florida offense in recent weeks aren't an excuse for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. He still sees opportunities for the offense to make plays. As the health of the offense improves over the next few weeks, Weis expects the offense to make the same improvement. The key is for the unit to stop missing opportunities to score.

"Part of slumps is when you have opportunities and you don't make plays, it gets a little frustrating," Charlie Weis said. "You've got to stay the course and keep on giving them a different, alternative plan to give them the best chance.

"Anytime you're not getting scoring production on offense, there are several different sources, whether it be play call, protection or routes. Each play is its own entity. One play that you call has little effect on the next play you call."

Weis estimated five "missed opportunities for touchdowns" against Georgia. He is confident that the execution was the reason the plays didn't produce touchdowns.

"In a game that's a four-point game, all you need is one of those to cash in and everyone feels totally different," Weis said. "It's not all that much different from the (Auburn game)."

The missed opportunities aren't just coming near the end zone. They've hampered the Gators on first and second down, forcing long third downs that the offense isn't able to covert.

Florida went 2-for-13 on third downs against Georgia, but after the game, Weis thought he knew exactly what the problem was.

"I went back to see why, when we spent so much time practicing situational football," Weis said. "If you go back and look at the distances we were in, I thought there were several long yardage situations, and unfortunately, I was right. That's not the way you play the game."

The one opportunity that was cashed in for an offensive touchdown came in an uncomfortable situation. With Caleb Sturgis held out of the game with a leg injury and his replacement Brad Phillips already having missed one kick, the Gators decided to go for it on 4th and 19 from Georgia's 31-yard line.

"We had a yardage that we would go for it regardless of the distance," Weis said. "You didn't expect it to be 4th and a million."

Weis noticed in preparation for the game that Georgia did an unusual amount of blitzing in third or fourth down and long situations. That left receivers and tight ends being guarded in man coverage. Georgia blitzed the weak side safety, Brantley stepped up into the pocket and had Reed running open down the field.

"We were trying to score," Weis said. "We were throwing to the end zone. That was ‘send everyone vertical.'"

The offense wasn't in a comfortable situation to be productive on the early downs. John Brantley's ankle injury forced Florida to run most plays out of the shotgun, which eliminated the chance of getting a run game going. Once Georgia figured that out, they came after Brantley with multiple blitzes.

The run game has been nonexistent in the four October losses, combining for 175 yards on the ground in those games. Weis would like to run a pro-style offense that is built around a power run game, but they don't have the personnel to make that happen now.

"When you come in to any new circumstance, you have to see what you do have and work around that," Weis said. "You bring in recruits that are different types of players and you do different types of things. That doesn't mean you don't like the players you have. You don't try to put a square peg in a round hole.

"All I know is every year, we're going to try to recruit one of the best classes in the country and hopefully some of those guys can challenge to get on the field early. That's all you can do."

Weis also indicated that he would most likely return to the sidelines to call plays this Saturday against Vanderbilt.

The injuries have caused plenty of changes to the offense this year, but Weis was sure not to blame only them. Most of the injuries are smaller things that have forced some players to be limited but not miss games.

"I don't think there's one player on the field that wouldn't be a training room casualty," Weis said. "Some people have sore ankles, some people have sore knees, and some people have sore shoulders. I have sore eyes because I've been watching the stuff I've been putting out there."

Brantley's ankle has improved this week, and Weis is optimistic about what he will be able to do on Saturday. The offensive coordinator doesn't expect the offense to be stuck running mostly out of the shotgun like it was against Georgia.

"He can get under center, and he's also politicking for me to put him under center more," Weis said. "The question comes is, how effective can he be while doing it? We'll just have to see how the week goes. His mobility is better this week than he was last week."

Chris Rainey's status is also in doubt for Saturday. Weis said the coaching staff listed him as probable, but that the decision would "go up until Sunday."

"He's a guy who is banged up," Weis said. "He wouldn't be full speed today. The only problem with guys like Rainey and Demps is when they get banged up, because their whole game is speed, if they can't play up to that speed, you're better off limiting their role because that's their game."

Fightin Gators Top Stories