Ron Zook Press Conference

UF Head Coach Ron Zook speaks to the media following Saturday's Orange & Blue Game -- his third spring scrimmage at the helm of the Gators.

"I was pleased. I think we got a lot of things accomplished today. I think if you look back at our two previous spring games, this was by far the best one…and, naturally so…it should be."

On the tempo of the offense: "I don't think we're where we want to be yet. But, I think, that we're going to make progress there."

"Injury-wise, I feel like we're in pretty good shape." (DT) Ray McDonald tweaked his ankle again, but, he's OK. (WR) Andre Caldwell was smacked in the mouth and had to have some stitches. (DB) Dee Webb turned an ankle. (DE) Joe Cohen also turned an ankle. Coach Zook said that if it was an actual game, they would have played. "My concern was, number one: in terms of coming out of this game, without any major injuries…which we accomplished. And, the other thing is that we scrimmaged more this spring than any other spring. The reasons being are because we're young and guys want to play. A lot of guys made some moves out there, which was important."

Chris Leak drops back to throw what would be a 73 yard completion to Dallas Baker.

On Sophomore QB Chris Leak: "I think, overall, Chris is much-improved from the last game he played (in the Outback Bowl loss to Iowa)…from the Florida State game, for that matter…and, he'll continue to improve. The one of the thing about Chris is that he's got a great attitude…great work ethic. Coach Zook said that if you ask Chris, he'll be the first to tell you, that on the play with ‘Bubba' (WR Andre Caldwell), he was trying to let (him) keep going…to see the safety. "He won't do that to ‘Bubba' in the fall. He'll stick it in there a little bit faster and let (him) run the ball."

On Freshman QB Justin Midgett: "I think Justin did some good things…he really did. I said last Saturday that I felt that was the first time that I felt like Justin was beginning to get a grasp. I told him this after the scrimmage…that he was beginning to get a little grasp of the offense. And, I have a feeling of what's going on. But, there are still some things that both of them (Midgett and Leak) did… that he did that you can't do. I think he'll continue to improve and continue to get better. Today and last Saturday, both, gives you a sign that he is beginning to get a feel for the offense."

On the WR's: "Those guys have been playing together for awhile. And, this is the first time that they've gone through the fall and spring together. Repetitions and so forth, makes it a lot better."

On Dallas Baker: "He did some good things. He's continuing to improve. He dropped one I thought he could have had, but, he made some nice plays as well."     

"Sometimes, the light comes on, and, sometimes, people…maybe, are afraid to stretch, and, once they do it, they'll go back to that point in your mind."  

"(WR) Jemalle Cornelius is another guy who made some nice catches out there. I told him in the other day in practice…I said ‘I'm feeling you now'. You know he's an athletic guy. He can make things happen…and, when you begin to feel it and make plays. That's the exciting part."

On Senior TE David Kenner: ‘This is the first time that he's come out and done that (play TE). I show David Kenner…'look David, this is what we expect for you to do. This is what you can do. You showed you can do it. So, there's no reason not to do it all the time."

After the 73 yard bomb, Ciatrick Fason running the ball in for a TD on the next play.

"(WR Reggie Lewis) has been hot and cold all spring. He's had some days like that (like today) during the spring. He's had some days that weren't like that. (Coach Zook told him after the game that) "It's going to be like that all of the time, because, he is a talented young man. We need him to step-up and play. I think Reggie Lewis did a nice job. I think (RB) Skyler Thornton did a nice job, ran the ball hard. ‘C-4' (RB Ciatric Fason) ran well. You know…he gets tired…he can't get tired. He's got to be able to continue to go. (DB) Terrance Holmes did a nice job. I think Terrance is going to be a guy that will play a lot of football for us there at safety. I think (TE) David Kenner did a nice job…in particular, early in the year, and, showed that he could make some plays and do some things there. (TE) Markell Thompson has had the whole offense thrown on him in fifteen practices. I think he…you could tell sometimes it looks like he's thinking, and, he is. He's getting better and better. I think Justin played well, as well. (DE) Tree Morant had some flashes. The more football he plays, the better he's going be. I think (DL) Jeremy Mincey is another guy that, like Markell…we've thrown an awful lot of defense at him in a short period of time…he can chase the football, and, do some things that really make you feel good."

"There was a lot of yardage…passing yardage out there…which you don't like to see. But, I told them to pick on Dee Webb a little bit, because I wanted to see how he would handle it and so forth. A mistake in the secondary…you can make just a mistake about ‘that big'…(as he held his forefinger and thumb up in the air to make his point)…and, it gets exaggerated. Those are all things I feel pretty good about that will get all corrected." 

On Depth of the OL and DL: "Both sides…I mean, we were able to get through a spring game when you split them up. I think that's important that you've got an offensive line and a defensive line that you have some depth. I think the fact that we've got some guys that may be, particularly on offense that can play more than one position. That adds to your depth, and, gives you an opportunity to have more depth there (on the OL). I really believe that we are better with our offensive line and defensive line this year than we were last year. And, we lost some good players last year. So, arguably, I think we'll be better both offensively and defensively on the lines."

Team captains meet before the game.

"This should be the best spring so far. It's the third one. I said…you the guys, that you're better right at this year than you were last year…we'll some of them (as the press and Coach chuckled). They're improving. I think the one thing…I told them this, and, I believe this…these young guys understand the expectations here. Believe me, there's not one of them that doesn't want to be good. There's not one of them that doesn't want to impress you guys, and, impress the Gator fans. But, I think the one thing that's really beginning to sink-in is their understanding of what they have to do to get ‘there'…and, it is going to be hard. To play at this level, it's hard. The higher the level of the game, the harder it is, and, the less forgiving that it is."

What's next? --- "We'll meet with them on Monday, and, I'll go through and evaluate. You always go through (with them), at the end of every phase…the recruiting phase, the off-season phase, and the spring phase. So, we're deep into the third phase. We talked about before the (spring) phase what we wanted to accomplish. We'll go back and talk about if we accomplished what we set out to accomplish. Then, we'll begin the summer phase, which is a very critical phase, and, talk about the things we want to get accomplished here in the next few weeks. On the same token, they need to have some time off to recover and so forth. We'll evaluate exactly where we're at."

Note: Tomorrow I'll have a complete wrap-up story of the Orange & Blue game.

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