Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Staff Contacts | Home RSS
 
 
 

Gators focus on ball security after ‘mess’

September 7, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

GAINESVILLE (AP) - Quarterback John Brantley and center Mike Pouncey spent extra time together Sunday.

They reviewed every errant snap in Florida's season opener - there were a bunch of them - then headed to the practice field to work on those all-important exchanges.

The result?

"No issues," Brantley said Monday.

The fourth-ranked Gators (1-0) are counting on a similarly smooth performance Saturday against South Florida (1-0). Coach Urban Meyer said ball security, including more precise shotgun snaps, is his primary concern after Saturday's 34-12 victory over Miami (Ohio).

Pouncey zipped one past Brantley, bounced two more at his feet and then was slightly off target on several others. Brantley also dropped one that hit him right in the hands. Throw in fumbles by Chris Rainey, Emmanuel Moody and Mike Gillislee, and Florida had eight balls on the ground against the RedHawks.

"It wasn't a beauty pageant," Meyer said. "If it was, we would have lost. ... Everyone saw what we saw, and it was a mess."

The errors kept Florida from getting into an offensive rhythm most of the day. The Gators had just 25 yards through three quarters and finished with 212, the second fewest in Meyer's six seasons in Gainesville.

Brantley and Pouncey accepted blame afterward, then agreed to come in early Sunday and clean things up. It was exactly what Meyer expected from his junior quarterback and his offensive captain.

"We have two very accountable people working hard to get that thing right," Meyer said. "That obviously disrupts the flow of the game. ... It's Mike Pouncey and Johnny Brantley. Those aren't true freshmen, so we have to get that fixed."

Meyer identified three problems with the snaps: First, Pouncey wasn't locking his wrist, which allowed the ball to take awkward trajectories. Second, the noon kickoff in sweltering summer heat caused more sweat than usual, creating a slippery ball. Third, Brantley took his eyes off the ball before several snaps.

"I don't know if it was sweaty hands, first-game jitters, who knows?" Brantley said. "Snaps have never really been the problem. It just came out of the blue."

Ball security wasn't the only problem, though.

Meyer said perimeter blocking was a major issue in the opener. He credits Florida's last two national championships (2006, 2008) with having one of the best perimeter-blocking teams in the country. Last season, Meyer called Riley Cooper one of the most physical receivers he's ever seen on the edge.

With Cooper in the NFL, seniors Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson don't appear to be nearly as aggressive. Meyer pointed to Florida's first series, saying there were missed perimeter blocks on a short pass to Rainey and another one to speedster Jeff Demps.

The plays are designed to get the ball to Florida's fastest, most elusive players in open space.

"We have to be able to do that or we're going to be dead in the water," Meyer said. "It's been that way around here a few times."

Meyer believes all the team's issues can be fixed in practice this week, before the Bulls visit The Swamp for the first time.

 
 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web