Ack's Insights

Lets talk about the Iowa Hawkeyes and Florida hoops in this week's edition of Ack's Inights.

Florida enters finals week with there pre-bowl workouts focusing on the initial phase of the game plan with Iowa. The coaches will try to stress to the players that this is a good Iowa football team. Kirk Ferentz's team is well coached in all three phases and are as disciplined as any team UF has seen. This is not a team that will beat itself and the Hawkeyes are rough where you expect Big Ten teams to be rough at, the line of scrimmage. Robert Gallery is a tremendous tackle prospect and took home the Outland Trophy award last week. He along with Shawn Andrews of Arkansas are the two best in the country and UF will have faced both this season. The biggest pressure on the defense may not be the defensive line yet the linebackers. The Iowa run game is very good at 167 yards per game and their success will lead to play action passes. Film study for the UF linebacking corps is paramount to success against the Hawkeye attack. The Hawkeye defensive front is much quicker than you think and is led by former state wrestling champ and high school linebacker Matt Roth. In Iowa, wrestling is king and this young man is a workhorse. The offensive plan will center around execution and attention to detail. Iowa does not try to trick you they just line up and get after you much like Miami. Bob Sanders is a All-Big Ten performer in the secondary whose nose is always around the ball. The Hawkeyes have never won a game in the state of Florida and are 0-5 all-time. They also were very good at home this season going 7-0 with wins over Michigan, Minnesota and Miami of Ohio who are all bowl teams. Ron Zook and Kirk Ferentz have face each other six times as assistant coaches with Ron going 5-1 against Ferentz.

Snippetts and Tidbits
This past weekend Rex Grossman went 13-30 for 157 yards in a 13-10 win over Minnesota. It was celebrated because of the fact that Rex as a rookie did not have one turnover (Bears QB's had 20 in 13 games). Rex managed the game and was very smart in his decision making and won an ugly NFL game. Hmm, it does show maturity in Rex and he certainly has come along way since Ole Miss and LSU in 2002.

I think UF is real close to landing another Jacksonville product Mike McIntosh out of First Coast High School. He's an outstanding receiver prospect and it would not surprise me if he commits soon.

Former Gator Defensive Coordinator and Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops took a visit to Keith Rivers house last week while in Orlando for the Home Depot Awards. It was an unsuccessful attempt to say the least for the Sooner coach although his quarterback would garner the Heisman two days later in New York. Speaking of Oklahoma, don't be surprised if former Gator D.C. John Hoke ends up in Norman on Stoops staff. He is currently the secondary coach at Houston (NFL) and wants to get back into the college game in the right situation. He would replace Mike Stoops on the staff and coach secondary if he decides to make the move. Florida will practice four times this week with final exams going on including there first Pre-Christmas two a days on Saturday of this week. UF will settle in with much of the same regimen that they did a year ago in Tampa. The team does not have the distraction of several staff members leaving or missing practice due to job interviews this year and that may help somewhat. UF lost three assistants last bowl season in John Thompson and Jerry Odom to East Carolina and Tyke Tolbert to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

Hoops Notes
With last week being a big week I thought I would offer up some thoughts.... The Gators were exposed in there two game losing streak after reaching the number one ranking for the second time in school history. Florida's inability to get into a rhythm in there half court offense was the main problem in both losses. Against Maryland, Florida missed too many easy opportunities and shot to quickly while turnovers played a major part in the loss at Louisville. The Cardinals outscored UF 24-7 off their 18 turnover's and also had seven blocked shots and eleven steals. Florida had 36 turnovers and 17 shots blocked in the two games. UF's defense in the zone has been sub-par and has often led to easy baskets or looks for the two opponents. UF played it's best defense when it was man to man and usually with Abukar and Richard in the game. It is only December and the fact that UF missed four consecutive free throws or they could have won against Maryland should not go unnoticed. Add to that the fact that neither Maryland or Louisville shot better than 39% against UF. The players are not responding to the offensive and defensive gameplans of Billy Donovan and his staff, so expect this week of practice to be tough and demanding. Here are a few changes that could be made in the remaining games in December. First, Matt Walsh's minutes have to come down to about 28-32 depending upon his play. Look for him to see some action at the number three with Abukar spelling him. I think Chrisitian Drejer may end up the starting point guard and let Anthony Roberson move back to the two spot he played a year ago. Roberson is the most consistent offensive weapon from the outside and Drejer appears to want to pass first right now. Also, look for Billy to press more this next week or two. While he does not feel this team is athletically talented enough to press like the 2000 team he thinks they can be as effective as his first team at UF. Plus, if you are going to struggle offensively you might as well coach what you know. Let's see if the press returns to Gainesville.

Stat of the Week:(1-3)
Florida Basketball's record when ranked number one in the country. The Gators shot 30% vs Kentucky, 34 % vs Maryland and 41% vs Louisville. They did shoot 48% in the one win over Alabama.

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