Meyer Praises the Defense

While coach Urban Meyer was reserved in his praise of the team's performance in the first two weeks, he couldn't help but recognize their efforts following a 59-20 rout of Tennessee.

"The plan to win versus Tennessee was to play great defense," Urban Meyer said. "I do not usually get shocked when you think about the games 24/7. The performance of the front seven, I don't want to say shocked me, but I was extremely impressed. They held Tennessee to 298 total yards and 37 yards rushing. They were in the red zone four trips and walked away with one turnover and two field goals. Obviously, the players deserve the credit as well as our defensive coaching staff."

Along with field position and big plays, turnovers are also an important part of the coaching staff's ‘plan to win.' The Gators were also successful in this regard.

"For turnovers, we got two interceptions and a fumble and we had one," Meyer said. "We are plus two on the season. One is too many, but I think our defense finally got it together at very opportune times. Markihe Anderson had a great turnover, and the fumble for the touchdown was the checkmate and the play of the game. I think we had one of our finer days at Florida in terms of our kicking game, we had eight of ten goals reached."

There are still some concerns, however, particularly a seemingly nonexistent pass rush. It's something that will need to be corrected if the success is going to continue.

"Our pressure right now is coming from some type of blitz," Meyer said. "We do have a very good three-and-out package and you saw some more hurried passes on Saturday. We have not had a lot of pressure from four down, but I trust Greg Mattison to tell me what the plan is. I grade that area of our team right now as a negative. We all know at some point pressuring the quarterback will get you if you can't get it right."

Meyer also gave injury updates on several players. Riley Cooper has a sprained ankle and will be limited in practice but should play. Markihe Anderson, having already missed the first two games of the season, has a PCL injury and probably will not play this week. Maurkice Pouncey is day-to-day with a low ankle sprain. Brandon Antwine was held out of the Tennessee game with a hyper-extended elbow but is now fully-recovered. Andre Caldwell and Bryan Thomas are still at least a week away from returning to action.


  • On defense, champion performances were given by Derrick Harvey, Clint McMillan, Jermaine Cunningham, Javier Estopinan, A.J. Jones, Tony Joiner, Major Wright, Wondy Pierre-Louis and Joe Haden. Dustin Doe earned defensive player of the game.

    "Clint McMillan only had one tackle, but he played at a 90 percent technique rate which is incredible," Meyer said. "We put Joe Haden at our boundary corner because he is the best tackler we have out of our corners and he made nine tackles."

  • Offensive champions include Kestahn Moore, Louis Murphy, Eric Rutledge, Cornelius Ingram, David Nelson, Tim Tebow, Carlton Medder, Jim Tartt and Drew Miller. The offensive player of the game was Percy Harvin.

    "Eric Rutledge played his finest game as a Gators and graded out at 86 percent," Meyer said. "Cornelius Ingram graded out at 90 percent and is one of the best tight ends in America. David Nelson earned his 30 plays at practice and is really coming on."

    On preparing the team for an 11:30 a.m. game:

    "At Notre Dame we played every game at noon, which was exciting because I could go home and see my kids," Meyer said. "The biggest concern we had was during the Outback Bowl. I had talked to Coach [Lou] Holtz to find out how to charge these guys up. First, you make them go to bed a little earlier, which we do. When we wake them up, it is a circus. There is no alarm clock going off, it's assistant coaches kicking the doors in and ripping the curtains open. We give them some orange juice, throw a newspaper at them and have fun with the guys."

    "We started that at the Outback Bowl and have continued it at every road game. We even do it with the night games now. Some of the players look forward to it and some cannot stand it. That is a major concern. I just keep researching it even by asking some of the players I trust how to keep the guys energized. Tebow will be fine. He goes to sleep energized and wakes up energized. It's the dead fish we have to worry about and believe it or not, we still have some dead fish on this team."

    On taking the younger players on the road:

    "Number one is routine," Meyer said. "Routine as a coach is easy because we are grown men and we go about our business, but for these young men, it is important. All from what kind of shirt you wear to what food you eat is all about routine. Our focus needs to be on our assignments. The hour bus ride really concerns me. We were kind of ambushed at Alabama last year and got there late, so we had guys rushing to put their pads on instead of thinking about the first play when we are at third-and-six."

    On Ole Miss running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis:

    "I asked our coaches and they think he's one of the premier guys," Meyer said. "They don't think he's a good back, they think he's a great one. He's a post-contact player. He gets a lot of yards after contact. Very similar concerns as to what we had a week ago. We have to be disciplined. Last week's game helped us for this week game."

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