Meyer Knows his Gators

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - For the second time in his career, Urban Meyer came to SEC Media Days as coach of the defending national champions. This season will bring him a different challenge than the one of two years ago, as Florida will certainly be the consensus pick to claim another crystal football this season.

Unlike in 2007, the Gator head man is feeling optimistic about what he's seeing from his guys.

"I knew in '07, and I know what I know now," said Meyer. "Completely different team. Very professional - their approach has been exactly how we want it right now."

Meyer downplayed expectations that Florida's offense would have a radically different look in 2009 despite the talk about Tim Tebow taking more snaps from under center. How much they'll use that setup will depend on other factors besides how comfortable Tebow is with it.

"A lot of it depends on the quality of our tailback. To play an under center offense, you better have a monster back there at tailback that can take the pounding involved in that style of offense."

Could Emmanuel Moody be that tailback? Meyer sounds optimistic about what the Gators might get out of the highly touted USC transfer in his second year on the field for them.

"Emmanuel looks terrific. He physically looks fabulous. He's a great young person that works hard."

One significant change for Florida is that Steve Addazio will coordinate the offense from the sideline. New coaches Scot Loeffler and Brian White will be the eyes in the press box.

There's no word yet on Riley Cooper's situation, but Meyer indicated he expects to have an answer on whether the wide receiver will return for his senior season or leave for pro baseball by the end of the week. Meyer called having a receiver establish himself as the guy able to make a big play in a critical spot as his number one priority for the Gator offense right now, with filling the so called "Percy position" as the next item on his list.

Meyer brushed off some of the offseason chatter topics that media people were eager to explore. He dismissed the idea Tim Tebow would be motivated by an unknown coach leaving him off his preseason All-SEC ballot. As for the Meyer to Notre Dame speculation, he called it "disturbing" and said they had to confront the issue because of the possibility of it affecting recruiting.

As he typically does, Meyer declined to answer when asked about possible suspensions for Janoris Jenkins or Dustin Doe as a result of off-field incidents over the summer. A Mobile reporter tried to get Meyer to talk about current Florida wide receiver commitment Solomon Patton. Unlike some of his fellow coaches, Meyer realizes that's a violation and refused to take the bait.


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