DAY EIGHT PM: Backup play displeases Meyer

On the eve of Florida's first fall scrimmage, Coach Urban Meyer expressed his concern with his second unit offensive players Monday afternoon, calling his second unit offense completely "non-functional." When Meyer got finished with his daily press briefing, it was obvious that the Tuesday scrimmage will be mostly dedicated to sorting through the second unit to find some people who are ready to play.

"Tough day today," Meyer said when he greeted the press. Not only was it tough from the standpoint that his second unit performed badly throughout the day, there are also some injury problems.

First unit defensive tackle Marcus Thomas missed his third straight practice; first unit linebacker Todd McCullough was also absent Monday afternoon; first unit offensive tackle Randy Hand was held out of the Monday afternoon practice; corner Dee Webb spent Monday afternoon in the hospital getting IV fluids pumped in him; walkon wide receiver John Curtis twisted a knee just before he was leveled by Avery Atkins in the morning practice; and Gavin Dickey, the number four wide receiver and a backup quarterback, has a hip flexor.

With Thomas, Meyer says doctors are just being a little bit cautious with his 6-3, 305-pound junior tackle.

"He'll go tomorrow," said Meyer before correcting himself. "No, no, no … we have a scrimmage tomorrow so I'm going to pull him out of the scrimmage but he could have practiced today and if we played a game he could probably go."

Thomas had back surgery which caused him to miss spring practice. Meyer says that there is just some soreness in the back now, but it's not serious.

"The doctors looked at him this morning and he's okay," said Meyer.

Hand injured the knee Saturday morning but an MRI showed no damage.

"Just some soreness," said Meyer. "We don't want him to hurt it any worse."

Webb has been battling a viral infection in his lungs but he got dehydrated in the morning.

"Dee Webb is still out from dehydration and a viral infection which should be getting out of him pretty soon," said Meyer. "He actually was in the hospital this afternoon. He had three pints of IV into him so that tells you how dehydrated he was."


Wide receivers executing cone drills this afternoon

McCullough twisted a knee but Meyer said doctors say it's nothing serious, just a little bit of swelling. The news was not so good for walkon wide receiver John Curtis, who had been having an excellent camp. He twisted his knee just before Atkins delivered a big time hit.

"I haven't gotten the official word yet but there might be a knee surgery in the future for John which is a shame since he was doing a good job," said Meyer. "I don't know for sure but I'll find out real soon."

Dickey has been working out exclusively at wide receiver but that's about to change after Meyer took a long look at what is going on with the second offensive unit. Meyer has been saying that Dickey would be taking some reps at quarterback, but the coach sounded a bit more anxious about it Monday afternoon.

"Maybe sooner than you think," said Meyer. "We're going to discuss that when I get back. The problem is that Gavin's hurt. A hip flexor so it's just a muscle."

Meyer said that his first string offense is actually doing well, but it's the second unit that has him concerned.

"The ones are doing okay," he said. "You saw that trash out there today … that was the twos. We've got a lot of problems in our backups so we're going to scrimmage a long time tomorrow."

Meyer said that he's making every effort to evaluate the second unit positively but it's difficult. Asked if he had told the second stringers how badly they looked, Meyer responded, "I always say count to 25 or count to 30 before you tell them, so I'm still counting to 30. I think I forgot how to count to 30."

The scrimmage will be about giving the second unit as much playing time as possible. First unit players who have played a lot of football won't have to work quite as hard.

"Jeremy Mincey … I just can't imagine playing a lot of football tomorrow," said Meyer. "Other guys have earned that who have played a lot of football.

"The ones aren't doing bad … the two's… its not football. I don't know what I'm watching when I watch the twos out there right now. Tomorrow we're going to try to give as much as we can to the backups."

As far as backups go, Meyer said "Offensive line is probably number one concern. We're probably non-functional now at number two, just completely non-functional.

"Receivers, we have some decent ways of moving guys around so I'm not as concerned with the receivers. I think we've got two running backs, maybe three running backs. Defensive line is getting a little depth so they're getting a little better, but the offensive line is the thing and backup quarterback. We're completely non-functional right now with the backups."

He said the freshmen wide receivers, who are being counted on to provide some depth at wide receiver, had a bad day Monday, also.

"The freshmen receivers are struggling," said Meyer. "It was a bad, bad day for the freshmen receivers. They've got a long way to go … catching, running routes remembering the offense … all that stuff. They acted like freshmen receivers today."

The one place the backups are more than adequate is in the secondary. Corner was a concern when fall practice began but Meyer is happy with the way things are going there.

"The corner position is depleted," he said. "Once we get everybody back with Reggie Nelson and Avery (Atkins) I think we'll have enough cover guys."


Fightin Gators Top Stories