Offense Still Looking for Playmakers

The Florida Gators began their second week of spring practice with much of the same story as last week. The defense continues to impress while the offense continues to meander along as many key elements watch from the sidelines.

"It was not a very good day for the offense, but we're trying," Urban Meyer said after Monday's workout. "Not good. Maurkice Pouncey is not in there. Mike Pouncey is not in there. Matt Patchan is not in there. Riley Cooper was bouncing around out there, but if he's not in there then we're going to lose that chess match. We have to get them all back."

The struggling offense shouldn't be too much of a concern since the Gators are missing a lot of the key pieces to the offensive line. Both Pounceys are sitting out for precautionary reasons. Maurice Hurt is also out with a sore neck.

"Once again we're just being cautious," Meyer said.

The Gators are also short right now with skill players. In the H-Back/tight end spot, the Gators only have one experienced player. And that's preventing Meyer and the offense from running certain formations.

"The problem right now is that we only have two tight ends and that's about it," Meyer said. "We don't have any proven fullbacks. I don't know how long the ‘I' package will stick around here. We want to have it in, but once again, I said this four years ago when I first came here, we don't really have an offense. It's based on who you have. We could run the ‘I' all you want, but if the players are young and they're struggling and they're inexperienced, then we're not going to run that package. We have the scheme in, but it's all personal based. Right now, we have Aaron Hernandez who is playing great. He is one of the top five players on our team, but Des Parks doesn't know which way right and left is and the fullbacks are struggling as well."

With Percy Harvin gone, Brandon James out due to injury and Jeff Demps and Riley Cooper working out part-time because of track and baseball commitments, the Gators are short on playmakers. But with the exception of Harvin, they'll all be back in the fall, and Meyer also has high expectations for incoming freshman Andre Debose.

"A starter and a guy that contributes," Meyer said. "I expect it because I always go off a guy's highlight film and sometimes I give a guy too much credit, but his was one of the best highlight films I've ever seen. And he's tough. I once went personally and saw him play and I saw him do some things. I expect him to come in and contribute."

One guy who is standing out a bit is Frankie Hammond.

"Frankie had a very good day," Meyer said. "I think he separated himself from the others a little bit."

The defense continues to be impressive with depth at every position. Last year's defense was known for making big plays at the right time like an interception in the end zone in the national championship game. That's good enough for Meyer who doesn't care about giving up yards as long as they keep opponents off the scoreboard.

"I thought that way in the first half of the national championship game," Meyer said. "I felt like it was 28-0 and we were losing and they had 400 yards. But at halftime we were up three yards and the score was 7-7. So I think we did give up some yards, but when it was time to get off the field. I can't remember what our third down efficiency was, but I think it was pretty good, and I know we were No. 1 in the red zone and in the country. Scoring offense is the thing. Our record is 32-2 when we keep a team out of the end zone. That's the ultimate prize."

NOTES

  • Meyer on Ahmad Black … "Experience and confidence. He's a tremendous player. He came out of nowhere last year. Chuck Heater's secret weapon and some how he pulled it off. Last year at this time, we weren't counting on him."

  • On Earl Okine … "He's got a long way to go. His body looks like a million dollars. He's got to play better than he is right now. … I thought he'd be a fox end, a Jarvis Moss type. He just keeps growing and growing. He's up to 280 pounds and he's not done growing yet."

  • On Jaye Howard … "He's showing up every day. We graded our players the other day and he made champion. Duke Lemmens and Jaye Howard."

  • On Duke Lemmens … "Duke Lemmens is doing really well. He's over 260 pounds right now."

  • On Will Hill … "Will Hill is great. His work ethic is tremendous. He's a talented player. He's doing very well."

  • On Jon Bostic … "Bostic is okay. He's still young, but a very talented guy."

  • On open Spring Practices … "I've always done it that way. I've always thought that with spring football. There are some things we want to hide, but why? We just want to come out here and have some fun. There will be times that we'll lock them down, but that'll be next year."


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