Ack's Insights - 4/15/2003

In this tax day edition of Ack's Insights, I wrap up Spring Practice, talk about next season, offer up some snippets and tidbits, plus discuss the baseball and basketball teams.

Football: The Orange and Blue game last Saturday provided a quick view of the future of the Florida program. Gator fans and Ron Zook hope the future is now in 2003.The young talent of Dallas Baker, DeShawn Wynn, Ciatrick Fason, Reggie Lewis, Channing Crowder, Brian Crum and Lance Butler showed that UF is the favorite to compete for the SEC title in '04 and a National Title in '05 but the time is now and '03 needs some work. Kewain Ratliff provided the defense with a little spark and Darrell Lee has transformed himself into an NFL caliber player. But for this defense to have early success key components must rise up for Charlie Strong. Take a look:

  • Mo Mitchell will be an added bonus versus the run inside taking two blockers on most occasions. Remember early matchups with Miami and Tennessee? Mo Mitchell will work versus the run while the defensive tackle opposite will benefit.
  • Holcombe, Parker must prove they can win one on one battles.
  • Todd McCollough is legit at middle linebacker but Taurean Charles must develop .McCollough has had a hard time gaining weight and will need blows from a legitimate backup early against tough run teams or he may wear down.
  • The defensive end opposite Darrell Lee must prove they can play the run. Right now Travis Harris is on the same side as Lee, while Steven Harris and Bobby McCray are on the other side. Once again remember Miami? Clint Mitchell struggled against their "Wham G" and you cannot run around blocks against the Canes.
  • Finally Reynaldo Hill must not be a JUCO bust. Matt Jackson and Nick Brooks can be physical against the run and play some zone but Hill has the ability and speed to line up against a Roscoe Parrish or a Jason Geathers.
The season is a million years away but if some of these components pan out early, a similar 3-1 start to last year is possible. If not, a  2-2 start  is likely. The defense will get better and be much improved in November. Offensively Ingle Martin seems to be the starter and the kid has done everything you could ask him to but he will have to deal with one more hurdle - Chris Leak. Leak will be given more opportunities to win the job that most freshman would. Gavin Dickey struggled his last two scrimmages when his primary read was not there. To his credit he did not force it too much, choosing incompletions instead of interceptions. Dosh, however, probably played himself into possible transfer status with his 2 interceptions, one for a touchdown. The quarterback position will have more than one head at the beginning of this season.

Snippets and Tidbits....
Dallas Baker already has red zone plays with his name on them. The fact that he recognizes he can get better which is scary. Ingle Martin gave himself a C+...Tavarus Washington finished the spring better and was a candidate to be a possible move to defense from the offensive line...With the emergence of Butler, Jon Colon could be moving down inside to guard...OJ Small quietly finished the spring as the top backup at wide receiver. From his slot position that he shares with Keiwan Ratliff he can really manage the middle of coverages...Ryan Carter finished strong on the offensive line in the spring also contributing to the Mo Mitchell experiment...Did anyone notice the change in numbers for starting wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius? He wore number #6 on Saturday instead of #12 which he donned all Spring. Hmm...Number #12 to a freshman who should play a lot?...Chris Leak will be on campus in less than two months...Florida which ran more plays than 11 of it's 13 opponents last year and the last 9 straight hopes that trend will continue this year with a young defense...Finally UF has the nation's eighth longest streak without being shutout at 179 games, Miami in week two looks to give this young offense a stern test.

Baseball: UF got a much needed win in game three of it's series with South Carolina. They snapped a five game SEC losing streak and more importantly got the bats going that had been silent recently in SEC play. Brian Rose had a homer to extend his current hitting streak to 13 games. Jeff Corsaletti also has a 9 game hitting streak which is a career high. In UF's thirteen runs they extended their record to 25-1-1 when they score more than five. The Gators also had 4 homeruns for the second time this season in a game. The Gators mid week game is Tuesday against Bethune Cookman and then to Athens, Georgia for a set this weekend versus East foe Georgia. The Dogs are 3-12 in the conference and 17-18 overall. Georgia is 13-9 at home and with the Gators 0-7-1 on the road it could make for an interesting series. If the season ended today UF would not be in the Conference tournament. They are third in the East at 6-8-1 but ninth overall in the SEC. Every team in the West has a winning record l

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