Meyer Optimistic Receivers Will Improve

The Gators once again had their practice impacted by the weather today, but rain or no rain, Meyer is not satisfied with what he's seeing from his group of wide receivers. The group lost Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy and with Riley Cooper splitting time with baseball, Meyer is looking for someone to emerge.

"We're struggling," Urban Meyer said after Wednesday's wet workout. "They're getting covered. When you get covered by a DB you can't get the ball to them and you lose. I don't think our receivers understand that. If it's dry and you get covered, you probably don't complete the pass. If it's raining and you get covered, you don't complete the pass. We just have to teach them those things. We haven't done a good job of teaching them that yet."

Despite Meyer's frustration, he recognizes the fact that they lost several key pieces to the receiving corps, and he is confident that the group will improve.

"If you take three really good players out – those are three guys playing in the NFL – you can't just say let's go out and play," Meyer said. "You go out there and those guys are covered. I have confidence they'll be all right. They're talented guys, we just have to get more out of them."

Meyer is also facing a somewhat similar situation in the backfield. Jeff Demps is focusing most of his time on track, leaving the Gators looking for an everyday back.

"I'm looking for an every down back," Meyer said. "Jeff Demps right now is really focused on track, which he should be. Chris Rainey had a couple of dynamic plays today, but we're just looking for a dynamic back, and we don't have one right now. It means pass protection. It means not dragging his foot every time he gets tackled. We're not there yet."

The Gators are trying a few different formations along with their more non-traditional spread offense. But Meyer said the type of formation shouldn't hinder a really good running back.

"A good running back is a real good running back whether it's the I or the spread or whatever," he said. "They're good, we just need an every day guy."

Even though Florida seems to be struggling to get the offense going this fall, Meyer feels good about the vibe he's getting from some of the leaders of the unit. The Pouncey twins have spent most of their time on the sidelines watching, but their presence will be invaluable to the Gator offense not just because of their playing ability.

"Some people believe you're born with it, others believe you develop it," Meyer said. "They have that magnetism, it's karma, it's charisma, it's whatever you want to call it. When they walk into a room and everyone knows they're there. When you walk into a huddle, they can tear you up or tear you down, but everyone knows you're there. When we first got here in '05, we had some guys that tore it down. They were so negative they would get me down. But you walk into a team meeting with those kind of guys and you feel pretty good about your outfit."

Meyer also spoke highly of Marcus Gilbert who has solidified the starting right tackle spot. Meyer called him one of their better offensive linemen.

The story is much brighter on the defensive side of the ball. But with Earl Okine's move to the inside, the Gators are a bit short at defensive end.

"Earl Okine went inside so we only have four ends right now and that's not enough," Meyer said. "I keep hearing about how we're a loaded group, but we're nowhere near where we need to be right now."

In the past, the defensive backfield has been the question mark, but that's not the case this spring. And redshirt freshman Adrian Bushell is making a case along with the other known defensive backs at some playing time in the fall.

"He's actually a little bit of a surprise," Meyer said. "Bedford was much higher on him than I was, but he's competing at a pretty good level right now."

Meyer is also surprised by one of the newcomers at linebacker.

"Jon Bostic had a heck of a day today," Meyer said. "There's a chance he'll be involved in the fall. He's a good guy that Coach Strong and even Spikes said something about him to me today."

The defense may not be exactly where Meyer wants it to be, but they still have more than half of their spring workouts still left. Meyer also said the depth they have at almost every defensive position is a big benefit.

"We're not held hostage if so and so decides to take a day off of practice," Meyer said. "I don't see any of that. If you do there's a pretty good player that will take your spot from you. We don't have that on offense right now."


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