Meyer: Need to Get a Little Better

Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators faced a boatload of adversity during Saturday's game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Between a few starters dealing with injuries and others dealing with the flu, Florida was shorthanded in a game that drew national attention all week. During Urban Meyer's Sunday teleconference, he again said he was happy just to get the win against a good Tennessee defense.

On making things fun again for the players...

"With all the expectations, you start hearing some of the comments like greatest team ever and can you beat them by 100 and so on. The players hear that, and people who really understand football look at Washington who beat USC and Texas had a fight with Texas Tech. I have to make sure that our players are playing the game to have fun because when they do they are really good. It's not that I want to make it fun, but just not have the weight of the world on them."

On the health of Deonte Thompson...

"Riley Cooper also had a pinched nerve on the first series of the game and they almost pulled him. We just have to get a little better. Right now, our receiving corps is not Florida standards. When Deonte is in there, I think it is. There are some young players that are starting to make a move, and we just need to get a little better. There's going to be a sense of urgency with that group this week. If you don't have the vertical threat, you've got a hitch in your offense. We're down Debose, Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson. This has happened one other time in 2005 when Caldwell had a broken leg and Dallas Baker had a broken rib and a punctured lung and Jemalle Cornelius had a high ankle sprain. The offense was in reverse."

On getting balance in the running game…

"Keep doing what we're doing. Some of those weren't designed runs for Tim Tebow but some of those were scrambles. There were some situations where Tennessee dropped eight and Tim ran for a couple first downs. Some of them were unbelievable. I think we're 9-of-13 on third downs and we're No. 1 in the country in third down efficiency."

On Brandon Spikes...

"He's probable. It's a pain issue not structural. It's not a pull. It's a strain of the Achilles tendon."

On Tennessee and Troy defense being eye-opening experience...

"I think they worked hard. I know Monte Kiffin did a study and focused on that thing since last winter. He did a good job. It starts to thin out as you get going. I can't imagine that guys spend the whole offseason figuring it out. Last year's offense in the SEC was the one to go get."

"We have to get better at receiver. Riley Cooper has been great. David Nelson has been very good. The one that we need is Deonte. You take any receiving crew in the country and take away three guys that we were counting on to be starters or in the rotation."

On the play calling and new coaches...

"Our guys did good. Steve is doing a hell of a job. I just think our guys have to get a little better. I started hearing that Tennessee's defense is not good. I don't know where that was coming from. All of sudden they have bad players and they're rebuilding. It wasn't coming from our locker room. Our locker room was saying that they had a very good defense. Tennessee has always had a great defense, and yesterday they were very good. We ran for 200 yards. If I had the chance I'd probably open it up a little bit more. But maybe not, our job is to win the game."

On players trying to do to much vs. high outside expectations...

" All of the above. It's from the coaches, me. It's from all of our coaches. If there's a way to do this to move the Florida Gators to a deserted island and let's just play football, and not worry about all the nonsense. I think most of the coaches, Mack Brown, Pete Carroll all would want to do that. I have never seen what happened this past week."

On recruiting vertical deep threats...

"What happened last year and the last couple years because we were loaded up pretty good at receiver. Depth has not been an issue at receiver. A lot of times these receivers went elsewhere because they didn't want to ride the bench. That's not the case and we have to get the word out. We have had some good ones that transferred out because we were loaded, and guys are saying they want to go somewhere else because they were guaranteed a spot. Then they go somewhere else and don't play there either."

On Ryan Stamper in the middle...

"You take Siler out and you're playing a true freshman. Our first year we lose our starting linebacker and we have a walk-on playing. So Spikes goes down, and Stamper goes to Mike and Dustin Doe goes to Will. That's a pretty good football team when you can do that."

On Spikes' injury...

"It's mostly pain tolerance. He was very limited in practice on Wednesday. Thursday he battled through it, but he's got to practice. It's something that you have to treat it. He didn't practice much on Wednesday ... He won't practice today, I think they're going to put him in a boot."

On the flu...

"It is a panic level of proportion I have never seen before. That's coming from me and Wisconsin who had 40 players and Ole Miss had 20 players and the Swine Flu hit the Florida campus last week. It's real. Our training staff and doctors are attacking this as hard as they can. You can't go anywhere without that Purell. We had three of our best players and they shouldn't have played. If it was anyone besides Jeff Demps he wouldn't have played. And Aaaron Hernandez wasn't himself. And Jermaine didn't play like Jermaine."

On the team being beat up...

"I don't think it's that bad. We just had a knock down drag it out kind of game. I don't think it's structural. I think it's the typical banged up mi- season stuff."

On the Florida nonsense...

"You enjoy the win and you get better. We're no different than we were in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. Let's figure out a way to win the game. Every team in the country expects to win. You find a way to win and then find a way to improve on the mistakes that you've made."

On the weight of the world being on the players...

"It's person to person. I think we have a mature team. We'll talk to them today and watch the film. The thing is that we had a lot of guys that played so great. You take Brandon Spikes out of the middle of the defense and still go with Stamper and Doe. To hold that team to what we held them to, it's all good. We just have to get better at some of the positions."

On talking with Billy Donovan during the offseason...

"They lost some games during the season, but the difference is we're already in that tournament. When they hit that tournament they were hitting full stride. In college football in order to get to Atlanta we're already in the tournatment."

On why he didn't open it up...

"When I saw them handing the ball off, you felt like they weren't going after the win. They were trying to shorten the game. You look out there and they were down 23-6 and there was no no-huddle, so why go out there and throw an interception and throw the game away."

On isolating the guys with the flu...

"I'll know more today. I think Aaron Hernandez is on the back half, but Demps is on the front half. We get a different dorm room for them and a different hotel room for them and they put them on that flu stuff."


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