Florida Coming off two consecutive losses for the first time in the Urban Meyer era, the timing of the bye week is not ideal, but after evaluating the game tape, Meyer is pleased with the progression the young team is making so far this season.
"The offensive line played very well on Saturday," Meyer said. "There were just so many positive performances. My biggest issue is that we went there with about 30 players. We need more than that. Guys are getting free meals and stuff like that but they are not accountable."
One of the goals of the bye week will to get some more players on the fringe involved. At cornerback where the Gators have been without the services of Markihe Anderson for most of the season, true freshman Moses Jenkins made his first appearance against LSU on Saturday night. The other two freshmen that are starting in the secondary are coming off of solid performances against the Tigers.
"Major Wright played very well," Meyer said. "Joe Haden played very well. Brandon Spikes played well also."
But the player of the game on the defensive side of the ball was sophomore defensive end Jermaine Cunningham who posted 17 tackles.
"He's a young player who is starting to take a lot of coaching," Meyer said. "Coach Mattison has a lot of confidence in him. I've never heard of a defensive end having 17 tackles. He's getting better."
But the head coach is not happy with the production the Gators are getting from the rest of the defensive line. The starters have been doing a decent job, but it's the back-ups that aren't developing fast enough and that's keeping them off the playing field.
"Lawrence Marsh and Brandon Antwine, someone's got to play," Meyer said. "We travel 12 defensive linemen and they don't play. They're just occupying space."
That's what the bye week is for, though. It gives the staff extra time to develop and hone the skills of the younger players for the final stretch run. And the stretch run proves to be exciting since every team in the SEC East has at least one loss, and the Gators still have four games against Eastern foes.
"We took a look at that, and I actually took a glance at it and saw everyone has a loss," Meyer said. "Every game is going to matter. It's single elimination. It's an exciting conference."
Tebow's new phone
Tim Tebow was receiving some disturbing messages on his cell phone last week from LSU fans. Somehow, Tiger fans got a hold of the quarterback's cell phone number, bringing taunting to a whole new level.
"I talked to his parents and I also talked to a police officer," Meyer said. "I was concerned about the young man's safety."
But for the situation overall, Meyer didn't think the incident was that much of surprise and he suggested to his star a simple solution.
"Just get rid of your phone," Meyer said. "Dump it and get another one with a different number."
Meyer on veteran leadership…
"They help quite a bit. We just don't have many. Drew Miller and Carlton Medder have really helped. You see the positions that are improving and then the position groups that aren't improving need a little bit better leadership. The offensive line is getting better, and Drew Miller just played his best game. The guy next to him played his best game as well. That's a correlation."
On the mindset of the team after two losses…
"The media, the coaches, the fans, everyone wants to jump on the guys that played. There were certainly some mistakes that cost us the game. I get more concerned about the guys that aren't playing. I always admire the people that perform on the radar. It's the people that back up the people on the radar that I get concerned about."
On Andre Caldwell…
"Bubba wasn't 100 percent. Early in the game we tried to throw to him a couple of times, and if you watch him on film he wasn't the same Bubba Caldwell. They were playing a lot of two-high zone, which forces the match-ups on the inside. The outside is basically double coverage. Bubba wasn't 100 percent, but also the kind of defense that we faced wasn't single coverage on the outside."
On the play of Maurkice Pouncey against Glenn Dorsey…
"Maurkice graded out at 86 percent. He's got to continue to improve because he didn't play great the week before. He's one of the best freshmen offensive linemen I've ever seen."
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