Monday Notebook: Meyer Talks QBs

A season ago, Meyer masterfully handled the quarterback controversy between senior Chris Leak and freshman phenom Tim Tebow. This year is different – there is no question who the starter should be, but there is some debate on who deserves the back-up job. Having recently named Cameron Newton, Meyer commented on his reasoning for that decision.

"Cameron Newton is not a good person, he is a great person," Urban Meyer said. "He comes from a great family. He has a very similar game program as Tim [Tebow] so that figured into the decision making process. If we are putting together an offense, we don't want the difference to be drastic. Chris Leak ran a different offense than we are going to this year. "

Meyer talked about John Brantley and how he compared to Newton.

"Johnny Brantley is going to be a great quarterback so we are developing him," Meyer said. "Those two quarterbacks should be starters at Florida. They are both very talented guys and you don't want to just waste a year. You have to have two on-call – really you have to have three on-call. Cameron Newton went through spring practice and probably has a little more knowledge of the offense. He is more mature physically. Johnny is still growing up, but I hope Cameron doesn't grow up too much more or he will be playing defensive tackle."

"The real reason was that he went through spring practice and that the team play won't have to change drastically if he goes into the game. But he is a phenomenal person. Not a great leader yet, he is still young and you can see the youth show up on hard days. He's a great person but he's not a great leader. He is not what Tim was at this time. When Tim was in sixth grade he could go in and be a leader, but Cameron has come a long way but still has a ways to go."

Meyer also addressed the mis-quided skepticism of whether Tebow is capable of being a passing quarterback in the SEC.

"We seem to get asked that question quite often and it is probably our fault because we did what we had to do to throw the ball last year," Meyer said. "But he can throw fine."

New starters and young, inexperienced players create that kind of skepticism. Meyer talked about how they were preparing the younger players for their first game day experience.

"We went through our practice schedule and our kids have gone through many more game situations at practice as they had a year ago," Meyer said. "You didn't need to teach Ray McDonald how to handle pre-game situations. We focused on pre-game much more than we ever have. We went through all of the little things so that they can focus on going four to six seconds. That is our whole theme this week as you can see throughout the facilities. Four to six seconds as hard as you can go and if they can do that then they will be fine."

Still, Meyer has a bit of concern about keeping Tebow's emotions under control in his first start.

"I bet we will have to calm him down," Meyer said. "That is a concern. I think if the human element comes into play he will get it straightened out really fast. Ever since he was a little boy he wanted to be the starting quarterback at the University of Florida and now it is here and it is five days away. I think that he will be fine. The best thing about Tim is that if he has a bad play, he is strong enough mentally to jump right back in and it won't affect him the play after that."

On the third year together as a staff:

"It excites me for a lot of reasons," Meyer said. "Personally it excites me because my kids won't have to move. To have the same coaching staff for three years and for me to come in a talk about the value of special teams, well, I have saved that speech and we don't really have to talk about that anymore. You see a lot of continuity in recruiting areas. It is just the continuity and as a head coach it is much easier."

On the new kickoff rule:

"Here is the concern on kickoff: first of all, if a kid jumps offside then that is a 70-yard sprint that they have to come back and do again," Meyer said. "If a team kicks off against us, we are going to make them kick it again. Kickoff return is much easier than kickoff. For kickoff return you drop back about 20 yards and then you go. Kickoff you are sprinting 70 yards and it would be a tough thing to come back and do it again. You won't have the same juice running down the field the second time. I have the same concern when we are kicking off; if we blow ourselves out and the knucklehead kicks it out of bounds then we have a flaw. I am anxious to see how it works out, it is new to me. But we are going to take the ball and that's no secret. I think it will have an impact on scoring, especially in the first series.

On talk of a repeat:

"I think it is unfair to say ‘forget that ever happened,'" Meyer said. "We used to have a lot of stuff around here and all of that is now gone, but I think its unfair for the kids to say forget it and that never happened. But lets just get back and do it again. Tiger Woods said it best when he said that the great programs and great players want to repeat and want to do it again and again and if that means letting them wear their rings then we are going to let them do that. I go back to four to six seconds as hard as you can go, and then you have a chance to be successful."

On Cornelius Ingram being the face of Florida football:

"We started that with Vernell Brown," Meyer said. "If I had a choice of what I wanted our guys to be known for it would be for high character, good work ethic and a very unselfish approach to the game. The first time it was Vernell, then it happened to be Jemalle [Cornelius] and now it's C.I."

On Florida's talent level:

"What I do is I evaluate," Meyer said "Is our secondary as good as it was two years ago? We have some excellent players at certain positions. I would certainly put our group of wide receivers ahead of what we had two years ago. Our quarterbacks are elevated. Not because Chris [Leak] was not a good player, but because we have four quarterbacks that are valuable now. There are some positions where we haven't upgraded. The defensive line better develop because we just lost some good ones in Ray McDonald and Jarvis [Moss]. I hope I see the guys we have now develop to be the same caliber as those players and I think they might. There is a void from the transition year through our first year that was not a quality time period in recruiting here at Florida."

Notes

Meyer couldn't comment yet on the recent news that Southern Cal running back Emmanuel Moody would be transferring to Florida because Moody hasn't joined the team yet.

Meyer did however announce that Markihe Anderson, who was slated to start at cornerback in the season opener, would likely miss the game due to a sprained right MCL. He said that he should be healthy for week two and that they were awaiting tests on Wednesday to determine whether he could play this weekend.


Fightin Gators Top Stories