Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Tries to Fix 'Awful' Problem; the Gators Offense Still Hasn't Scored a Point in the First Quarter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Tries to Fix 'Awful' Problem; the Gators Offense Still Hasn't Scored a Point in the First Quarter

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - Florida coach Urban Meyer picked the only word he could to describe the way his offense has performed in the first quarter this season.

"It's awful," he said.

That's the perfect way to illustrate the unit's ineptness, and the numbers certainly back him up: 58 total yards, minus-26 yards rushing, seven first downs, two turnovers, 4 of 11 on third down, and zero points. That's the totals for the first quarters against Miami (Ohio), South Florida and Tennessee combined.

Awful, dreadful, terrible, poor, appalling. Pick a word. They all apply.

And yet, this from quarterback John Brantley: "We're not concerned at all. At the end of the day, as long as we get that W, that's all that matters to us."

Victories really are the bottom line, but Brantley knows and Meyer admitted on Monday that victories will be harder and harder to manage if the offense doesn't fix its first-quarter malaise.

The Gators can get by with those embarrassing numbers against lesser-quality opponents, but ninth-ranked Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) is beginning the meat of its schedule with Kentucky (3-0), top-ranked Alabama (3-0) and 15th-ranked LSU (3-0) in the next three weeks.

The offense has to improve immediately.

"I've seen us win some games. I've seen us do some good things, but I've not seen enough to say we're right on that edge [of taking off]," Meyer said. "Hopefully, after Wednesday's practice I'll say that. The thing I have seen is receivers step up and make some plays. I've seen Johnny Brantley go into 100-some thousand people [at Neyland Stadium] and control the game. I don't think we looked great, but Johnny at least managed the game and did what he had to do to win it."

There are several reasons for the struggles:

- Poor snaps. There were three bad ones and one drop in the first game, another bad one against Tennessee. …

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