FOOTBALL: Offense will be ready vs. Kentucky

Urban Meyer isn't fazed by the media's take on the struggling Florida offense. Since the game with Tennessee on Saturday night in front of a national television offense, the national media has cooled on the Urban Meyer offense and what effect it will have at Florida and with the current personnel in place. Meyer addressed questions on the subject at Wednesday's press conference.

Against Tennessee the Gators scored one lone touchdown. Granted, the Volunteer defense is no pushover, but 251 yards of offense and one time in the end zone is not the results that will win you ball games each and every week. As a result, the media attention of late has been rather negative about the offense and Meyer actually agreed with them.

"No, I am (upset with the offense," Meyer said emphatically. "They (the media) should be critical, it's not very pretty."

Meyer, however, isn't anywhere near close to pinning all the offensive problems on Chris Leak and his ability to run the offense. It is a total team effort.

"I think it is a combination of…is it Mike Degory, is it Chris leak, is it Chad Jackson, is it DeShawn Wynn... Yeah sure it's a collective group," he said. "It's the same when this thing gets going down hill, it's not Chris Leak it's a group of 11 people doing their job."

Penalties by multiple members of the offense have caused the Gators to struggle. The offense was forced many times into scenarios of 2nd and long after gaining 5-6 yards on first down in the game. The offense will certainly continue to struggle if that keeps up.

"Here is the way to look at our offense right now…We follow the ‘Plan to Win', We kick the ball deep, 18-yard line, make them punt, get the ball at the 45-yard line, throw a pass to Chad Jackson, run the ball – a physical play down field, 1st and 10 at the goal line, penalty and then all the way back. Then, another penalty…that's not offense," Meyer emphasized.

With the offense struggling, it means ball control is an absolute necessity for anyone getting on the field. The coaches are not going to allow anyone that regularly turns the ball over in practice to put the team in jeopardy during live action. This includes Josh Portis, who will always have some game plan ready for his skills to enter the game.

"There is a plan (for Portis), he is doing a little better job this week," Meyer said. "Taking care of the football is the name of the game. We lose that game if we turn the ball over. Markus (Manson) is close, there are really talented guys here, but the premium on this offense is taking care of the ball. I didn't say anything about speed, or vertical jump, or how they look in pads or what number they wear. Nyan Boateng -- you will get to hear his name a lot, he is a talented guy, but he has to take care of the ball."

Junior DeShawn Wynn started against Tennessee and was effective most of the time he was in the game. The running back position has been the most up in the air position since the new staff arrived on campus. According to Meyer, DeShawn is doing well, but hasn't locked up the starting spot just yet. Junior Skyler Thornton is one that is getting somewhat lost in the shuffle after not seeing any offensive snaps against the Volunteers Saturday. "It's still by committee, (Wynn) hasn't taken it over yet," he said. (Thornton) had a tough training camp. He dropped the ball as well. He and Markus had a little ball security issue."

The offensive line play Saturday night was shaky. Some problems were with mixed up schemes, but there were also some physical breakdowns against a very good Tennessee front seven. It has been a bone of contention with Meyer all week knowing that he has four seniors on the line and expecting much more out of them. The practice sessions have been geared toward making sure that doesn't happen again. There also might be another change up front for the Saturday.

"[It's been a] good week," he said. "We have extended our individual time and [worked on] hand placement, footwork, and base. We can see an improvement. Tavares [Washington] has a hyper-extended elbow. He sprained it in the game. [Jim] Tartt has been getting a lot of reps and is getting better."

With the injury to Andre Caldwell in the passing game, one issue is who would replace him as a kick returner where Caldwell has excelled this year. Meyer said that Junior Jemalle Cornelius will replace him as both a receiver and returner this Saturday.

One player that continues to make plays is "Dorothy lock" Reggie Nelson, The speedy cornerback loves to hit and always seems to be around the ball so that has gotten the coaches' attention. The sophomore transfer from Coffeyville Community College will be a difference maker for the Gators before it is all over.

"Yes, his involvement is going up every week," Meyer said about Nelson. "This week will be the most he has played. He is really a good player."

REDMAN REACTION: Overall, Meyer seemed pleased with the practice and preparations for action on Saturday. He seemed to think they were taking the proper steps to get the offensive train rolling in the right direction.

It is amazing to me how many questions are being asked of the negative variety by the media after a huge win over a stout opponent. The fact is the national media has taken upon itself to make a bigger deal of it than it should be. There are issues like in any new scheme, but at times it has all worked and everyone associated with it makes it work They just need a little more time.


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