It didn’t take Urban Meyer long Monday to describe how the Gators followed their weekly plan to win in the 31-6 loss to Alabama on Saturday night.
“We failed miserably,” he said.
UF’s plan to win is pretty much the following: Play great defense, score in the red zone, don’t turn the ball over and play sound special teams.
The Gators failed in all categories.
They played OK on defense, but the Gators were 1-for-4 in the red zone (including two turnovers inside the Alabama 2-yard line), turned the ball over four times (to Alabama’s none) and gave up a long punt return to Julio Jones.
“It shows if you don’t follow our plan, you get your tail kicked in,” Meyer said at his weekly news conference. “After six years, there have been one or two games where we looked like we did (Saturday night). We can’t have that against a good team. We’ve looked like that against some not great teams that crushed us. Against a team like that (Alabama), in that environment, it’s going to be a bad day for you.”
Meyer said failure in the red zone was killer.
“If we’d had success in the red zone, we’re in that thing,” Meyer said. “That was a major negative.”
Meyer said he elected to go for a touchdown on the first drive (instead of kicking a chip-shot field goal) because he wasn’t sure how punter Chas Henry would do in the first field-goal attempt of his UF career and he figured points were going to be hard to come by against a tough Tide defense. The Gators went on fourth-and-goal from the two and Trey Burton’s jump pass was intercepted in the end zone.
On the bright side Saturday night, the defense missed only six tackles (compared to 22 in last season’s SEC Championship Game), defensive end/outside linebacker DukeLemmens had the best game of his career, and the Gators out-gained the Tide in total yards (especially in the second half).
Meyer said some subtle changes on the offense will be considered this week in practice.
One thing we might see, Meyer said, is tight end Jordan Reed playing quarterback in the wildcat package. Reed has a tremendous arm, Meyer said, and could add the throwing dimension to what has has basically been all-run with Burton at QB in the wildcat.
Meyer said he did not expect any significant lineup changes this week, with perhaps the exception on special teams (especially punt cover).