Chris Leak: Silent Leader

You could say that Sophomore LB Channing Crowder is one of the Gators main team leaders, for his own defensive squad, and, also for the entire team as a whole. Now, Crowder has some help ---- Sophomore QB Chris Leak ---- who doesn't say much. He just lets his actions do the talking.

"I've always been a guy who leads by example. That's the way the Lord made me. That's the way I am. So, I just lead by example," said Chris Leak, adding that, "you've got to go out there and earn their respect. The more you give for your team, the more you lead, and, the more respect they'll have for you."

It doesn't matter that Leak is on the offensive side of things when it comes to being a team leader. "Even the defense is real confident in Chris that he's going to do what he needs to do to win. That's what it's all about," said Crowder, who may be Leaks polar opposite.

Crowder is very outspoken. He's a player who's not afraid to say what's on his mind. That doesn't mean that Leak doesn't say what's on his mind. He's just a quiet leader. When Leak says something, you can be sure that he means what he's saying, or, he wouldn't say it.

Again, that's Leak's hook…leading without speaking. "You've got to make sure you execute --- that's the main thing. As long as you go up there and give one-hundred percent effort, that's leadership in itself. As long as you help your team win --- that's the main thing about being a leader."

So, fittingly, individual effort by Leak, or, any of his teammates, is basically non-existent. Just look at what's written on the back of each player's jersey this spring: ‘TEAM'.

"That's one thing that brought this team together is that we just stayed together when things got tough," Leak said. "That's the biggest thing about being a team. You see it on our backs. And, that's what we're all about…we're all about being a team."

During spring practice, Gator Head Football Coach Ron Zook has emphatically stated that being a ‘TEAM' is very important to be successful. "Coach Zook keeps telling us to make sure we're a ‘team'. That's the biggest way to win championships. You see the New England Patriots (Super Bowl XXXVIV Champions) --- their biggest thing is about ‘team'. That's how you win championships, being a team."

Coach Zook said that, "there is no question Chris is a leader. He is a young man who played with an unbelievable amount of composure (last season). He has the unique ability to regain his composure when something bad happens."

Leak's sense to lead is not innate. It's learned. And, even though he's not a senior, or, a pre-season Heismann Trophy candidate, he has every bit that a great quarterback needs to take charge…both on and off the field.

The first sentence in the Official Florida Football 2004 Spring Prospectus states the following under Leak's picture: ‘The starting quarterback'. No bones about it, Leak is the ‘main man' for the Gators going into the upcoming season.

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