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No. 1 Florida Gators hope to find cure for troubles in red zone

GAINESVILLE — Normally, Florida coach Urban Meyer insists that his assistant coaches shut down the lights and head home by 10 p.m. every night.

His theory is simple: An exhausted coach isn't a very effective one, and he wants his coaches to be rested during the crucial, yet limited, time they can have contact with players.

"Some of them will fight me," Meyer said. "Some won't. Some of them are sprinting out of here at 10 o'clock."

But this past Sunday night was different. Nobody left the building.

With its red zone offense becoming a serious cause for alarm, the staff dedicated its Sunday to figuring out exactly what's going wrong — and how to fix it.

"We grinded (Sunday night); it was all red zone," Meyer said. "We watched every red zone snap of the year. We evaluated every snap of the year. And what we're finding out is it's not, in our opinion, it's not the play-calling. We've got to hold to the plan. You know, sometimes, we are making a call that's not on the call sheet. And that's my fault. We're going to stick to the call sheet, but we're going to do a better job of the call sheet. We're not just going to do it on Wednesday; we're going to do it earlier than that. We already have some on paper that we're going to start working."

Of Florida's 76 offensive snaps inside the 20-yard line in SEC games, QB Tim Tebow is 4-of-16 with one interception and has rushed 42 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns. The Gators have been penalized three times, fumbled twice, given up five sacks and made 12 of 15 field goals.

"We're moving the ball, and we're moving it at ease pretty much up and down the field, and then we're just having struggles with things that we really haven't had struggles with," said Tebow, who was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien award Monday. "So it's kind of new, and it is frustrating."

Florida (7-0, 5-0 SEC) is looking to remedy the situation as it heads into Jacksonville this weekend to face Georgia (4-3, 3-2).

No tebow snub intended: After taking some shots from national media for skipping out on postgame interviews after Saturday night's win, Tebow set the record straight, saying it had nothing to do with frustration over how he performed.

"There were a lot of other things I wanted to do, not that this (interviews) isn't important, and I've always tried to be courteous," Tebow said. "I wanted to go see Coach (Dan) Mullen (former UF offensive coordinator). I wanted to go see my family. I had a lot of friends that were at the game. We were kind of in meetings for a little; it's not like we got out quickly. I wanted to see Coach Mullen. … I gave him a big hug, talked to him for a while. He said, 'Just go win another title. Everything's in front of you.' He could see I was a little bit frustrated after the game, too, because we wanted obviously to score and do everything a little better. He was just happy to see me, happy to talk to me."

Butler injured: UF women's basketball coach Amanda Butler had surgery Monday morning to repair a torn Achilles' tendon she suffered playing intramural flag football Saturday night on campus. Butler, 37, was a standout basketball player at UF in 1990-94 and was offensive MVP in the Swamp Bowl in the Florida intramural flag football league in which she played quarterback in 1994. "She'll recover nicely," UF assistant coach Susie Gardner said Monday. "Coach Butler battled injuries throughout her collegiate career, so this will be nothing new for her."

Kickoff set: Kickoff for Florida's Nov. 7 home game against Vanderbilt was set for 7:15 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, to be announced next week.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3389.

No. 1 Florida Gators hope to find cure for troubles in red zone 10/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2009 8:22pm]
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