Meyer Pleased with Effort against Hawaii

Florida Gators Head Football Coach Urban Meyer was happy with almost every aspect of his team's performance Saturday against Hawaii. On Monday he spoke to the media about the game, calling out players that had good to great games. Meyer is excited to get Percy Harvin back this week as the star receiver was held out of the Hawaii contest.

Meyer still has a relatively young football team on his hands and no more so than on defense. Although several starters return to the lineup the defensive unit is still littered with sophomores and a couple of juniors. Still, in his "plan to win" the defense lived up to their responsibilities on Saturday.

Playing great defense is the number one priority in the plan to win.

"We did...that was exciting for the head coach to watch," Meyer said about playing good defense. "That defense jogged on the field and there were a lot of people watching. The most important people watching were their teammates."

Meyer recognizes that the defense uses one another to even get better as the game goes on.

"It happened our first year and Brandon Siler made me aware of this...they feed off of each other," Meyer said. "You live in a world where young guys are worried about other people's jobs and worried about what is going on with the defense and kicking game. They watch. They all watched the defense run around and play 4-6 second of relentless football and that was good to see. We didn't see that a year ago...We held Hawaii to 241 yards and that was the number one statistic"

The second stage of the Plan to Win is turnovers and the Gators finished way ahead in that department.

"We had six to zero (turnovers) and it is safe to say you will win every game if you have that kind of statistic," he said. "The secondary played very well and we could have had a couple of more interceptions."

Meyer also puts a premium on getting close to the goal line and taking advantage of those situations. He expects a few new wrinkles this season with his personnel and was happy to see the offense grade out at 100 percent in the red zone another key aspect of the Plan to Win.

"In the red zone we were two for two," Meyer said. "That is something we worked real hard at. It was good to see Brandon James and Cameron Newton get in there. We utilized a new formation and are going to have Kestahn Moore and Brandon James involved (together)."

Meyer was pleased with most aspects of special teams another big portion of his Plan to Win.

"I thought it was a complete domination," Meyer said about special teams play. "(Hawaii) was a team that last year was in the top 20 in both return games. Against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl they had two returns for over 50 yards. Kickoff is still inadequate and I am trying to find the right mix right now.

"We had co-players of the week on special teams. Brandon James for obvious reasons. The second of which was the return. We had a 60-yard net punt when James went down and made the tackle.

"This is a great stat. I looked at that (Brandon Hicks) on the sideline and he is completely exhausted. He ran 19 special teams plays for 895 yards. Think about that for a minute. I am actually going to take him off of one of the phases of special teams and get him more involved on defense. He deserves that and is one of our tar players right now. All he knows how to do is go full speed. If you get a bunch of Brandon Hicks you are playing great defense and special teams.

Third down conversions are the final part of the Plan to Win and Meyer liked the statistics provided by that category in the game.

"We were 50 percent and held Hawaii to 18 percent," he said.

Hawaii Champions

Meyer named the champions for the Hawaii game. Champions are those that grade out well in the game, performing assignments and making plays. Here are the champions he pointed out.

"Jermaine Cunningham...it has been fairly common now. Both scrimmages he graded out a champion. He is playing much better technique football and playing like a veteran,. I think he and Dan McCarney have a good thing going."

"Wondy Pierre-Louis it is nice to see him out there and he graded out at 83 percent."

"Janoris Jenkins came in and is a play maker. He had two tackles, three assists and pass broken up."

"Lawrence Marsh had 34 plays, an 88 percent grade out, and two sacks. I like saying that."

"Ahmad Black graded out at 98 percent. A football guy from a very good high school had five opportunities and went five for five."

"Major Wright...from another very good high school program. He went five for five so that is 10-for-10 (at safety). Reggie Nelson was called the eraser not because of big hits and interceptions because he got down on the ground and didn't miss tackles. We didn't have that a year ago."

"Ryan Stamper graded out a champion. He is as steady of a guy as there is. He was elected a captain before the game. He his hand, but should be ready to go in some capacity this week."

"I am awful proud of this young guy. He was three for three on opportunities to make a play. He had three tackles and three assists. He is a very good player for us, Joe Haden is the defensive player of the game."

"Louis Murphy graded out a champion, obviously he had a big play and performed well."

"Phil Trautwein...Jason Watkins...Kestahn Moore....Tate Casey and honorable mention goes to Jeffrey Demps. He graded out 180 percent but only played five plays."

"Mike Pouncey was the offensive player of the game and graded out at 94 percent. He played his best game on Saturday."

Happy with the running and return game

Meyer was pleased with the play of the running backs on Saturday. He likes the rotation the young group has at the moment and believes they feed off of each other to do better.

"I was satisfied with the running game," he said. "One didn't grade out a champion, Chris Rainey had far too many mistakes. Emmanuel Moody had an ankle injury early, not significant...I found out later. We are not at the point where we will play one. If someone earns that right then it will certainly happen. I like where we are at, I like the desire. It is refreshing to see their faces and see them on the sideline chomping at the bit. I really enjoy coaching them right now."

Meyer is also excited about his return game possibilities this season. Led by All-American returner Brandon James, the unit has a chance to be very special.

"I am screaming no penalties, no penalties, no penalties," Meyer said on James punt return for a touchdown. "That was one of his very best runs. That was a very athletic team. The cutback against the grain.

"What is interesting is that the players are so much smarter than all of us. They get that little extra sting when they know Brandon is back there to return. When we first got here we were awful, when we watched the film it bordered on pathetic. We can say anything we want, but there is no reward. Now they see a guy take it 80 or 90 yards, you are going to see great effort. That isn't just a one man show, that is 11 guys going."

Harvin back

The offense tallied 406 yards on only 55 plays on Saturday and that was without the offense's most dynamic player. Percy Harvin is scheduled to return to action on Saturday against Miami and Meyer cannot wait to see what he can do.

"I am anxious to watch him go," Meyer said of Harvin. "He opened it up quite a bit in practice. My concern is not just the injury...whenever you have a race horse athlete...all of a sudden a hip flexor goes or a ham string goes, he favors one thing or another so I am going to watch him closely."

Gator fans "White Out" Cancer

Gator fans were asked to to wear white on Saturday as a focus on skin cancer awareness. The crowd responded with white everywhere in the stands and Meyer wanted to make sure that he appreciated the gesture.

"I want to thank our fans for the 'White Out'," Meyer said to lead off his media conference Monday. "Jill Varnes, our faculty rep, asked me to say something and we did. This is the best stadium, best people, and the best fans and they wore white to support skin cancer awareness. What a beautiful showing and I just want to thank you publicly."

Meyer went on to compliment the student body who he has really focused on for support since his arrival in 2005.

"Our student body is phenomenal," he said. " To stick around. You never take anything for granted, you learn that the older you get. You jog over there after the game and (the game) is really out of hand, and there they are...waiting for us. Waiting for their fellow students...fellow student-athletes to jog over there and sing the fight song. That is what it is all about."


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