The Greatest Receivers of Our Era

More rubbish being generated out of Gainesville about Florida going in a different offensive direction soon:

… are the days of the option pitch, jet sweep and jump pass coming to an end in Gainesville?

Already we know that Tim Tebow and John Brantley spent countless hours this spring working on hand-offs and drop-backs from under center during spring practice. And that the coaches spent most of the spring identifying players who could play fullback as Gators tinkered with an “I-formation” offense…

If you have to describe a new offense in scare quotes, it’s probably a good indication that you’re not headed towards a smooth transition.  Assuming that there really is a transition in the works, that is.

Of course, if Meyer had stuck to his first course of action and played the GPOOE™ at linebacker, things would probably be going much more smoothly now.  For one thing, he might not have to invent an alternate history in response to a recruit’s concerns.

Back in April, four-star Pahokee receiver De’Joshua Johnson summed it up pretty clearly in an interview with our Jason Lieser.

“I dropped Florida and West Virginia because of the spread offense,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to play in the spread offense. I’ve seen how it affected receivers in the NFL draft. They have to teach them to play in a pro-style offense.”

I asked Meyer about that perception at the SEC Spring Meetings last week in Destin.

“I think that’s interesting. I’d like to know his advisers and find out where that’s coming from,” Meyer said. “We’ve had more receivers drafted in the NFL than any school in America the last four years. I think it’s six or seven. All of them are doing very well. We had three receivers drafted this year, so we’re good.”

“That’s just poor advice, is what it is.”

Begging the man’s pardon, but it’s fairly accurate, is what it is.  First off, as the article notes, it’s five receivers, not six or seven.   And it’s not more than any other school in the country, unless you don’t want to count LSU or Ohio State.

Besides that, none of the five have distinguished themselves at the next level, at least not in that “top 1% of the top 1%” sense that we’ve come to associate with everything Meyer-related (of course, we’ve got to give Percy Harvey a chance):

… Meyer’s notion that “all of them are doing very well” is a bit off. Jackson is on his second team already and has just one catch since 2006. Caldwell had 11 catches last year as a rookie. Baker caught one pass as a rookie. Murphy slid to the fourth round in this year’s draft, and Ingram fell to the fifth because of a knee injury.

And it’s not just quantity, but quality. Harvin and Jackson were the only receivers drafted in the top two rounds, and Jackson has already been a bust. A lot is riding on Harvin in terms of proving that Meyer’s offense can prepare players for the NFL.

The post-Tebow era in Gainesville is starting to shape up as being a lot more fun than I thought it might be.



Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

9 responses to “The Greatest Receivers of Our Era

  1. Jitterbug

    Of course, Florida is going to come back to the pack once Mr. Hair Gel Jean Shorts leaves. As a matter of record, I’ll say that Florida’s offense takes two steps back THIS year given that Treebow’s primary weapon/safety valve (Harvin) is gone and that the OL is projected to be a soft spot. And yes, I know about Demps and Rainey, but they ain’t Harvin and Murphy.

    Watch their D though – scary good and probably good enough to compensate for their O. Of course, Hair Gel Jean Shorts will lead the SEC in rushing this year.


  2. Dog in Fla

    Urban responds to the direct question about a sought after receiver recruit from Pahokee (they all go to Tennessee anyway, right?) saying he doesn’t want to play in a spread offense like Florida or West Virginia:

    “I think that’s interesting.”

    Some in the reality-based community think that any response to a tough question that involves the word “interesting” such as:

    “That’s interesting,” or

    “I think that’s interesting,” or, best of all,

    “That’s an interesting question,”

    signals that what you are about to hear next is really, really going to be interesting.


  3. Turd Ferguson

    Of course, what’ll happen is this. Harvin’s going to be used this year in a few trick play scenarios, he’ll make it on SportsCenter every time, and Meyer will have all the empirical proof he needs that he trains receivers well for the NFL.

    The next few years are going to be fun to watch. Tebow leaves … and fails miserably as a pro QB (which I firmly believe will happen). Florida looks mediocre at best in 2010. And Meyer bolts for either Notre Dame or the NFL.


    • Ben

      And order will be restored to the universe with UF being third in the state of Florida? Wow, one can only hope.


  4. That is such a typically Meyer response that no one should be surprised at all. He has a career in politics ahead of him….just speak decisively and don’t worry about small little things like the truth.


  5. Urban Meyer

    I suppose if you just want to call Ohio and Louisiana actual states that are in the country, Mr. Georgraphy, then may be it was a bit of an over-statement. But doing “great” is clearly subjective and should be put into context. I meant “great” as in better than I thought they would because they suck and I was able to overcome their personal suckiness via great coaching. So in that context they are doing great. Tebow will be doing “great” in the NFL if he gets drafted. I will be doing “great” when Notre Dame signs me up for 6 mil per.

    Have a “great” day.


  6. The Realist

    Meyer’s shelf-life in Gainesville is rapidly approaching its end. I think he is privately rooting for Notre Dame to lose enough games for Chucky Fats to get canned. Pope Urban would clearly be the first choice in South Bend should such an opening arise.

    If Florida wins the SEC title this year, and perhaps even the national title, Urban will look to leave on the highest of high notes so his legacy is maintained. If he sticks around another 3 or 4 years and has to battle in the SEC without top flight running backs or wide receivers, his winning percentage will take a dip.


  7. Someone give that guy a mirror and force him to take a good long look.


  8. Castleberry

    Maybe he’s counting drafted spread quarterbacks as receivers. That’s where they usually end up playing.