Alabama-Florida: Meyer Talks Tide and Says, 'We Will Have a Shot'
Doug Benc/Getty Images
In his Monday press conference before the week's preparation for Alabama on Saturday, Florida Gator head coach Urban Meyer spoke about his team's chances against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
During his remarks, coach Meyer keyed on several issues that his team and staff will look at this week before kickoff this weekend before a national TV audience.
The coach of a two-time national champion at Florida, Meyer knows what it takes to get ready for the big games.
One of the questions he fielded asked about how much sleep he'd get this week in getting ready for 'Bama.
“Depends on how much we get done," Meyer said. "I can certainly guarantee we are not going to over-prepare, but I can promise you we won’t under-prepare.”
The purpose of this slide show is to examine some of the preparation Florida will undergo this week as described by coach Meyer.
On Being an Underdog Against The Tide
Florida finds itself in extremely unfamiliar territory as an underdog this week.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
“The Alabama game: This is a game obviously with a lot of national attention. A game that a lot of people are asking if there is payback and I think a good majority of our team wasn’t even with us last year during the game. We have a lot of respect for their personnel."
"The last several years, it seems like these two teams find ways to win games and this will be one of those great environments in the SEC."
"The point is we better be locked and loaded. Everybody has to be on point and that means that ‘all-in’ is something you [don't just] talk about. Everybody just has to be all-in. That means everybody’s got to have competitive excellence to have a chance to go win this game."
"The positive thing is we’ve now learned how to practice. The negative is we’re still extremely young and inexperienced, but the improvement is – you can witness it now."
“So much of it depends on how a team is playing. We strive for, I think, the long drives. I think last week we were close to 50 percent run-pass. We did a great job mixing up pass on first down. That’s what we are going to strive to do."
"There (are) so many factors that play that role, like how we are playing defense and the feel of the game. What you saw in those long drives is what we want to be and so does everybody else.
"We just need a good week of practice and hope the defense plays just as well.”
On Stopping 'Bama's High-Powered Offense This Week
Julio seems to be on coach Meyer's mind this week.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
“On both sides I see great players, I see – how do you stop a great running back? You load the box, you plus-one him and don’t miss a tackle.
"Unfortunately when you do that, you are now leaving your corner on an island with probably the first receiver that’s going to be picked in the NFL draft [Julio Jones]. That’s the issue on offense."
"(Ingram) breaks tackles at an alarming pace, both those backs do."
“To stop them, you try to recruit very good players on the defensive line, and I think we have done that."
"You got some big cats on that [Florida's] defensive line right now – that doesn’t mean you will be able to negate it. It’s means it should be a good battle in college football and we are going to have to be ready."
"The most difficult thing is not that you get pounded, but the fact that you leave someone one-on-one with a 6-foot-6 or whatever he is, great athlete [Jones] at receiver.
"That’s the balancing game – we are going to have to play at a very high level because their offensive line is very good, but our strength of our team right now is also good."
On Comparing Brantley and McElroy
Brantley will be yet another first-year starter the Tide defense will face this season.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
McElroy: “When we evaluate quarterbacks, he would be a guy we evaluate very high: His competitiveness, his leadership, his toughness. Intelligence far above anything else, but obviously I do not know him very well and I have only competed against him one time."
"Someone made a comment that he hasn’t lost since seventh or eighth grade or something like that, so he’s obviously the best quarterback in the business right now.
"You people will probably pick apart his throwing motion or something like that, but he’s a winner - (I have) a lot of respect for winners.”
Brantley: “I would have to say the best thing going is just the timing and execution by our receivers and Johnny (Brantley).
"To go on the road, Johnny (Brantley) this, John this, John this, those five guys will take care of John. Those big five, I mean, these five big guys need to take care of him and they will."
"You need to really step up and play the game and our whole thing is…you have to be…it’s all-in, man. To get on a plane and go play in this kind of environment is not John. John is one part of the machine. If the machine operates at a high level, John will do just fine."
"If one of the five (doesn’t) play well up front, Johnny is not going to be fine. If some receiver doesn’t perform at a very high level, they are not going to be fine. So it’s all-in and that’s going to be how we are going to have to practice."
On Confidence His Gators Can Move The Ball Against Alabama's Young Defense
While these guys are gone, can 'Bama's young defense stop the Gators like this?
Dave Martin/Getty Images
“Confidence is what we say all the time, but that’s a tough word to say, man – do you have confidence in so and so you’re not going to come out publicly and say "no" because the answer’s "no" if you don’t see him doing much."
"The first time a guy makes a play is not going to be in front of 95,000 people on national TV. It’s going to be in practice. He is probably going to have to do it 500 or 600 times before we do it in a game."
"Now we are getting to the point where we seeing some confidence because you see it in practice, not the game. Andre Debose catching that ball in the flat is not, 'Let’s just see what happens, let’s throw it out there.' He has done that over and over again in practice and finally in game tempo and game speed, which we expect."
"Confidence is a result of success and doing it not in a game, unless you have confidence in practice.”
On Coach Nick Saban
Two greats hug it out.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
“I think we both recruit pretty well, at a high level. We watch their players play and when they call a certain coverage, they perform it really well because those guys play really well."
"When a guy breaks four tackles on the play, that means they recruited pretty good running backs, so that’s another thing we have in common. They are well-coached,though."
"I always make a point to flip on special teams early in the week to see what you are dealing with, and we all know what we are dealing with a very well-prepared team.”
On His Team's Chances Against The Tide
Can the Gators top the Tide in Tuscaloosa?
Doug Benc/Getty Images
“We knew that we lost a lot of really good players and had to focus on developing guys that really weren’t ready to play. I think if you had the team returning and your focus – we even had a discussion about whether we should have a week in training camp for Alabama.
"Should we take a day (or) a week to have that Alabama day and for a while there, I thought about doing that until I flipped on the film and saw how poor we were to start worrying about Alabama."
"We better just figure out a way to catch the ball, put it away and not fumble. I think our coaches have done a good job.
"There has been no discussion about that, and we are just trying to do the best we can to get a little better – if we get a little better this week, we will have a shot.”