Ack's Insights

What does new Florida assistant coach <B>Dan Disch</B> bring to the table? I know because I was on his staff at Jacksonville (Fla.) Ed White High School. That and more in this week's Ack's Insights.

Florida completed it's coaching staff with the addition of Dan Disch, the Head Coach at Ed White High School in Jacksonville. Disch has been a head coach for sixteen years and I was a member of his staff in 1998 when we lost in the state quarterfinals, after a top ten regular season.

While Disch lacks college experience he brings energy, loyalty and a understanding of making talented players reach their potential. His football teams resembled his personality, one which is hard-nosed, tough minded and high energy. He will be an outstanding recruiter for several reasons. First, his experience as a Head Coach will help him relate to other high school coaches and what they are dealing with. Secondly, his relationships within the state of Florida will help him get in the door in whatever area he's recruiting. Thirdly, he has coached and developed Florida type players with his kids going to schools at Clemson, FSU, Auburn and Florida. So he has the ability to recognize the talent that UF needs to be successful. Finally, he is a fundamentalist which means his players will be sound in technique, solid tacklers and play with a lot of excitement.

Joe Deforest from Oklahoma State and David Lockwood from Minnesota were also considered for the job. Disch has had impact players all over college football this past season with Jamal Fudge and Eric Sampson, who were top defenders on Clemson's team. Fudge is a physical corner while Sampson is a will linebacker. Ronnie Lunsford became a starter on the offensive line at Florida State and he was an Ed White graduate as well. Jonathon Goddard was an All-MAC Defensive End at Marshall, who had an interception for a touchdown against Kansas State in that big upset.

Snippetts and Tidbits
More on the high school hire, here are a couple of names that have done well as first time college assistants. Don Soldinger at Miami coaches the running backs and Art Briles the Head Coach at Houston was an assistant for Mike Leach at Texas Tech for three years and was only a high school coach prior to his stint with the Red Raiders.

Zook's staff should be set for spring practice but it would not surprise me if the NFL raids the staff of one more coach. Keep an eye on that.

Ed White has a top prospect at defensive back next season in Brian Evans. His two favorite schools are Florida and Miami.

Workouts continue and Steven Harris continues to get bigger and bigger in the weight room. He has transformed his body two fold since High School.

Dallas Baker is working over time to get a better grasp of the offense. When the quarterbacks and receivers got to throw Baker is working on his route running over time.

The combine is the weekend for the NFL and it is a big weekend for three former Gators. Max Starks has the size and experience but scouts will be looking for his upper body strength and lateral movement. Bobby McCray will be a workout warrior but can he carry enough weight to improve his status, while Ratliff's 40 time will be closely monitored by NFL Scouts. Ratliff's run could be the difference in second round money and fourth and fifth round money. There will also be a Pro Timing day in mid-March on UF's campus.

Zach Pillar and James Bates, former Gators on the 1996 National Champion Team are hosting a Golf Tournament reunion the weekend of April 23rd in Gainesville. Not only are ex-championship team members going to be in town but NFL stars like Zach Thomas and Eddie George are scheduled to visit the charity event.

Basketball Notes
The key for UF is the productivity of David Lee. It has dropped off considerably the last five games and if UF is going to the NCAA Tournament he must play with more of a sense of urgency. I think Lee is playing out the string but we will see if he can prove me wrong. Matt Walsh is playing his best basketball of his career by going for twenty plus the last three games. He is demanding and getting his shots in tough situations. Abukar and Appleby will pick up extra minutes now that Drejer has left to go play professionally in Spain. With five games left including one at Kentucky UF must win three and get to 17 wins to lock up a bid in the NCAA field of 64. The SEC tournament will take on new meaning this season as UF looks to play itself into the big dance. As of today, UF as the three seed in the East would face sixth seeded Arkansas on the first day in Atlanta.

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