GAINESVILLE — It was a good weekend for coach Urban Meyer.
On Saturday, his No. 4 Gators defeated Tennessee 30-6 in the SEC opener for both. Then he learned Sunday morning that the Rays were in the playoffs, and said his thoughts immediately turned to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"I called (Florida sports information director) Steve McClain (Sunday) morning when I saw that (Rays clinched) and a box will be sent to my favorite manager of the major leagues, Joe," Meyer said. "It's my favorite organization. They treat us like gold every time we're down there. So congratulations to them."
Meyer has attended several Rays game and has often said he's a big fan.
NO STYLE POINTS: It's become clear that the offense isn't the one fans became accustomed to last season — and the one that led QB Tim Tebow to a Heisman Trophy.
The Gators (3-0) are No. 98 nationally in passing offense at 167.7 yards per game (39-of-67 for 503 yards) and 86th in total offense at 331.33 yards per game.
Saturday in Knoxville, Florida ran just 54 plays, tied for the fewest in a win under Meyer with a 2007 weather-shortened game against Western Kentucky. Florida scored on five of 10 possessions.
But Meyer said Sunday morning that while he realizes the Gators aren't where they were this time last season, statistically, he's happy with the way the team is playing overall.
"At the end of the day, you have no chance of winning if you have to score every time you get the ball," he said. "I'm an offensive coach and I like to score points and have yards and all that, but I'm also a head coach and understand that the way to win is playing great defense, take care of the football and make sure you have a strong kicking game. And right now, as far as the plan to win, our guys are playing very well."
Tebow, 25th nationally in passing efficiency (149.34), insisted again Saturday that he's unconcerned about putting up Heisman-like numbers: "You know what? That's okay. Yeah, the Heisman was great and it was an awesome experience last year, but you know I'm focused on trying to win a championship and not statistics. I'll take every game we play, to win it like this, I'll be extremely happy."
INJURY UPDATE: Backup QB Cameron Newton and LB Ryan Stamper have sprained ankles. LB John Jones was hit in the throat with 9:23 in the fourth, but is "fine,'' said Meyer, who added that part of the decision to keep Tebow in late was due to Newton's ankle, and that Florida wanted to ensure a victory.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]