Zook Quotes From Media Days

Here, Florida Head Coach Ron Zook talks about last season, this year's group, some coaching moves, the recruiting class and much, much more.

FLORIDA GATORS Head Coach Ron Zook
"Second time, I have been instructed to not talk so fast. Exciting time of year, the Southeastern Conference is great conference, better be ready to play every single day, lot of question marks about University of Florida. August 30th we'll have 46 new guys come out of that tunnel. Lot of guys that haven't played a lot of football. But our players have worked extremely hard this summer, and we're looking forward to getting started."

On Florida being down
"I don't know what dropped under radar means. No question we on right track, get back to where supposed to be, where we're expected to be."

On last year
"Every year a coach evaluates everything, not only things that didn't go as well as want to, but things that did go well. Lot of times things happen, anytime in second year, you know the direction, more productive as a staff, players know coaches, coaches know the players, know what players do best, you don't spend a lot of time on organization, able to be more productive and you become a better staff."

On Ingle Martin
"Ingle has shown me, him and Gavin Dickey both, that they can run this offense and be very effective, whoever becomes starting quarterback has to show that consistently they can do what have to do for us to score a lot of points, this system will use their abilities. We have enough people around them that will make us a productive offense. Not ask any of our Quarterbacks to be the guy to win the game for us, just use your abilities. Whoever is the most consistent and gives us the opportunity to win games. Our practices will be open in beginning, then get into game week we'll close them."

On Defense
"Kenny Parker comes through, he's gone through spring and summer without problems, we as a coaching staff have got to protect Kenny with his back. No problems to date. He played as a true freshman at Florida. If he stays healthy, can be as good as any we had last year. Holcomb, a junior college lineman, not come on as fast as offensive lineman, but has worked hard, put on 15 pounds of muscle, he understands will have opportunity to be impact player in the front, those 2 guys are looking to hold the middle down for us."

On Ed Zaunbrecher being on Sideline
"Some want to be in press box. I want to feel the players, see in their eyes what they are thinking. Last year Ed felt more comfortable being in press box. We feel now whoever QB is be guy wtihout lot experience. Ed feels he can help QB more by being on sideline."

On perception that East is down
"Probably because LSU and Auburn are two very talented teams, look at NFL draft, look at Auburn, any time have football team has majority of people back, should be stronger, look at Arkansas, he may have done as good a coaching job as anybody, great job of bringing team back from being behind 8-ball, we had our problems with Ole Miss last year and feel like Mississippi State will be a good team this year."

On QBs
"What we look for in all Quarterbacks is guy who is a competitor, a winner, Rex was special in that manner. Talked with Ingle a lot in off season about being a competitor. Ingle came in spring with great attitude, this was my job to lose. Last year when you know you're the backup and only chance to play is if starter gets hurt, hard to keep at sharp level, ready to play. I was really impressed with his attitude, way he attacked this spring."

On penalties
"Would help us as coaching staff, always trying to find out who the penalty was on. I would be in favor of calling the number out also."

On Senior leadership
"I think any football coach will tell you probably be as good as senior leadership. One thing I noticed over the summer, from time started winter workouts, senior class began to take over, kind of a passing of the order so to speak, when a class realizes this their last year, step it up a little bit, kind of take over. This class has done that. Impressed with way began to lead."

On Starks
"A great person, a great football player, a winner, whatever is best for Florida. A great ambassador for Univeristy of Florida."

On Signing Class
"First of all, feel that all will have a chance to compete, If you don't plan on play as freshman, will have no chance to play as freshman. How get in and mature, how handle being away from home, pressures of playing in SEC, Everyone says can't do it (freshman QB), no rule that you can't. You want them to come in and plan on playing, expect to play and see how fast they mature."

On Ratliff both ways
"Started playing him on offense last year because needed a big play type guy. He gets ball in his hands and makes things happen. He's a smart football player. Understands the game. Want him to know as much about the offense as he possibly can. We'll do more than five orsix things with him. He'll have a pretty good grasp on offense. How much he plays on offense will depend on how fast younger guys come around on defense at the corner spots."

On Last year
"I think every year is a learning experience, I get asked what did I learn the most. The more things put to you, the more you learn. In terms of football part, not an overwhelming part. I think every coach evaluates himself, throughout the year, learn things do differently." "The more you know about your people, the situation, the better decisions you make, go through it second time makes it easier as well." "Coaching is putting players in position where they can be successful. We not going to ask our quarterbacks to win the game. Our OL is much improved, got some WR can make things happen, feel good about our runningbackss. QBs will have to let the system work for them."

On This year
"Our schedule is tough, somebody said one of top 2 schedules in the country, lot of inexperience, but no one cares, it is what it is."

New Fall practice
"Five of six years I was in NFL we did the 2-1. It's better for the players. Got to do some tweaking because for us to get 29 practices, can't give a day off. It defeats the purpose of the 2-1. Wanted to do it last year but we'd have missed 7 or 8 practices, didn't feel like we could do that."

"But the 2-1 is excellent, the first five practices where got everybody there, I'm excited about that also.

On busy all the time
"Forces you to bear down and evaluate everything. Our team understands we have a great opportunity."

On a Playoff
"I am in agreement with Spurrier to a degree. I love the bowl system, it is important, not only to schools that go to them but to whole athletic department. Also would like to see some type of playoff using the bowl system. My experience in NFL fortunate to be in it a few times, it's an exciting thing. See the excitement it causes in basketball. Don't have answer to how you do it, would not want to see bowl system change."

"Troup is a guy we've got to get the ball, lot more than did TE last year, very talented individual, big guy can run, block, get mismatches with, force people to change personnel. He runs like a wide receiver."

On Ratliff
"Before can say how many plays on offense, have to see what happens on defensive side. If we have to have Kewan on defense all the time, not get opportunity to play as much on offense. This thing of playing 100 players a game, don't know where that came from, that's hard. It's accumulative. They wear out as season progresses. We have to be smart with Kewan. He's a guy who can run forever."

On Strong
"Excellent football coach. Great communicator. Great rapport with players, great communicator. Knows SEC. Excited to be back at Florida. Same frustrations every football coach wants to be a head football coach., I had same frustrations and waited a long time, Charlie will get his opportunity, no doubt in my mind. NFL has certain programs for that whether that happens in college can't say."

On Kicking game
"An area we have to be very good. No doubt we'll protect our kickers and cover our kicks. Will be much more athletic from that standpoint. Signed a freshman punter, feel he's talented and can handle the punting for us. Matt Leach is our kicker, as good a leg as any been around. Some things happened early in year not his fault. Holder quits before the first game. Lot of rain early in year, messed technique up a little bit, tweaked his swing, ended up kicking extremely well last half of season and in the spring. Got some young guys will help us in our return game. An area we have got to be much improved in. The more snap a football player takes, the better he'll be."

"Back before guys started coming our early, everybody wanted to red shirt everybody. The reservation you have is how good is a guy going to be as a true freshman quarterback. Seen the same thing with a defensive back. Don't want to put a guy in a situation that he loses confidence."

"Fact have guys not played a lot of football there, something everyone looks at. Travis Harris is a linebacker we moved to DE that I feel had an unbelievable spring, as he learns position will get better. Darryl Lee (DE) has flipped that switch finally, a whole spring and off season without being injured. We've got depth, we've just got young depth."

On Water Skiing injury
"Great, everything's fine."

On Ratliff
"Right now yes, if everything was fine on defense, like to see Kewan play offense fulltime. Some of these young receivers, how will they come through. If those guys are kind of guys we feel like they will be, then maybe OK with keeping Kewan on defense."

On season goals
"Every year we have goals, something we keep between the team, things that as a football team keep to ourselves."

Keiwan Ratliff, Florida
"We're trying to get some kind of gel on the defensive line, some kind of regularity. A lot of JuCo and Redshirt Freshmen linebacks that were capable of playing last year. Hopefully it won't take too long to gel because you don't have long. Two-a-days are a time when players step up and make a name for themselves."

"I like to see us being picked third in our division - that adds to the fire. It gives us a little boost and makes us work harder. I want people to root against us. You don't want everyone to root for you - that's not any fun. If everyone is rooting against us, you feel like your back is against the wall and it makes you come out swinging. That mentality that everyone has about us is helping to make us work harder in the off-season. Not being ranked in the top five or top ten or even in the top 25 drives us harder."

On the Tennessee-Florida Rivalry:
"I don't think anything has changed since Steve Spurrier has left - It is still an intense rivalry. Tennessee is always going to be a big rivalry for Florida. They are in our division and we always have to face them for that spot in Atlanta. If anything had been taken away from it, that went out the window when we played at Tennessee last year and they mispronounced Coach Zook's name during the starting line-ups."

"I think everyone on our team is now in the Coach Zook mindset and is ready and willing to work with him. Last year, I don't think we had that. I think some of the older guys were still in the Coach Spurrier mindset. Right now we've got a lot of young players and most of them came from great high school programs that won a lot so we are used to winning. We just need to get back to those winning ways at Florida and get back to nine, 10 and 11 win seasons."

Max Starks, Florida

On Zook's first year
"For us, having a new coach last year made it a transitional year. We knew we'd be a question mark. This year there will be more unity and team bonding. We are aiming for the best position possible. We look forward to getting to the place we need to be this year and that's Atlanta."

"He's the same intense guy he's always been. Nothing has changed since the first day he walked into the locker room. We're all still getting used to the system, but for the older guys, it's like second nature. This year we know we can approach the staff and we know what to expect."

On Senior leadership
"On the offensive and defensive lines, we feel we have the seniors in the right positions. Our older guys have been in the game situations before and are really in a position to help the younger guys cope. I feel very confident in our senior class.'

On last year's season
"Anytime you beat Georgia, Tennessee, and Auburn, you have to look at it as a successful season. We were held out of the SEC title by one play of one game. Knowing that you were that close makes you work even harder in the off season."

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