|Florida coach Urban Meyer wary of secondary breakdowns, lack of QB pressure|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 September 2007 09:59|
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's defense got plenty of credit for the rout over Tennessee. The unit gave up 13 points, allowed 37 yards rushing and stopped 12 of 17 third-down conversions.|
Maybe it was too much credit.
``I do believe that,'' coach Urban Meyer said Sunday, a day after Gators held on for a 30-24 win at Mississippi. ``You play a good game and maybe you really didn't play as good as the other team didn't play well. Regardless, everyone's a hero and you have all the answers.''
Florida (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) showed it still has plenty of defensive questions against the Rebels. The Gators - who dropped one spot to fourth in the latest Associated Press college football poll - surrendered 390 yards, allowed 18 points in the third quarter and felt fortunate to escape the state of Mississippi with a win for the first time since 1994.
``We did not play very well on defense,'' Meyer said. ``Just to get out of there, I don't want to say relieved, but relieved.''
Florida led 27-9 late in the third quarter and looked like it would pull away after Tim Tebow's 37-yard pass to Louis Murphy.
But Seth Adams completed five consecutive passes, two of them for touchdowns, to get Ole Miss back in the game. He connected with Shay Hodge for a 19-yard score, a play in which safety Kyle Jackson took the wrong angle and failed to knock down the pass or make the tackle.
Jackson was on the bench for the next possession, watching Adams hook up with Mike Wallace for a 77-yard touchdown. Wallace beat two freshmen, cornerback Joe Haden and safety Major Wright, on the play.
``Our free safety position has to play much better than it is right now,'' Meyer said.
The defensive line is an even bigger concern.
Although the Gators held the Rebels to 80 yards rushing, they managed little pressure on the quarterback - a continuing problem that Meyer said will ``cost us a game.''
Derrick Harvey and Jermaine Cunningham had a sack apiece, but both of them came after Adams couldn't find anyone open.
``We weren't that awful, but we weren't that good, either,'' Cunningham said. ``We're not beating guys one-on-one like we're supposed to do. We need to get pressure on the quarterback to help the whole defense out, not just the secondary.
``We have to find a way to get to the quarterback. It's been frustrating.''
The Gators have seven sacks in four games, putting extra pressure on a young secondary that doesn't have the experience to handle it.
``We've got to get a lot better back there,'' Meyer said.
The defense did come up with two big plays in the fourth quarter. Safety Tony Joiner ended one drive with an interception, and the Gators stopped a fake punt that essentially sealed the victory.
Quarterback Tim Tebow did the rest, keeping the defense off the field for much of the final 15 minutes. Tebow ran 27 times for 166 yards and two scores, including 12 carries for 71 yards in the fourth.
Meyer said Tebow ran the ball too much, adding that the sophomore was struggling to throw the ball against Mississippi's deep zone defense.
Tebow finished 20-of-34 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns.
``I'm far beyond a little concerned. I'm very concerned,'' Meyer said. ``That's no one's responsibility other than mine. It wasn't all predesigned quarterback runs. He did not have a particularly good game throwing the ball. At certain times they would drop eight, sometimes nine, people into coverage and he would tuck it and go get what he could get, which is not a bad thing to do.
``(But) I'm very concerned. Object No. 1 is to win the game, but you have to take care of your players, too.''
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