Ask Ack - May 17, 2004

In this week's edition of <b>Ask Ack</b> I answer questions about the summer workout participation, the process of how an offensive play is called, the Tennessee game a couple of years ago, the new merger with GatorCountry, and more!

I've got a question about the Gator offensive philosophy. There's been a lot of comment the past two years about "throwing to the outside" and not down the middle. IMO, that was due more to breaking in two QB's in two years (Rex in a new system; Chris in a new system & the college game) -- fewer defenders can get involved, fewer reads to make, hopefully fewer mistakes -- than it was to a philosophy that throwing outside was preferable. But, of course, I don't know that to be the case -- do you?  Have we concentrated our passing game outside by design or necessity? If it's the latter, are we far enough along now to attack the middle of the field more often?
--Brad B.
Melbourne, Florida

Yes I  believe we have limited our passing game because of several variables the last two years. I agree that the new system and breaking in the quarterbacks has probably been the aspect that has slowed the growth of the offense the most. Think what the offense would have looked like last season if Rex Grossman was in it for the second year. I assure you that UF would have scored more than three points against Tennessee. I think the offense was scaled back two years ago after the LSU loss and stayed that way because of the inexperience last season with Martin and Leak. I think what you saw in the spring game is what the offense will look like this season because of the confidence Zook, Zaubrecher and Fedora have in Chris Leak. When putting together the game plan each week one should remember some teams are better attacked outside and some in the middle. I don't think anyone thought the plan against LSU or Georgia the last two years was a bad plan. The one reason UF was able to have success against Georgia last years with the screen package was the overly aggressive nature of their front seven. If Florida would get a bit more aggressive in the Red Zone they will be in good shape.

I know we are looking really solid on the o-line for 2004...however, I am concerned about 2005. I figure we will lose Degory in addition to all the seniors leaving us with Hand, Butler, Rissler, Meddler and the incoming frosh...that is 8 by my injury or time to develop the frosh will leave us way short...what are your thoughts?

I think it's a good question, I really like Mike Degory and personally I think he may be around for 2005. But if that is the case then I think the offensive line could look something like this. Randy Hand at Left Tackle, Jason Watkins at Left Guard, Steve Rissler at Center, Lance Butler at Right Guard and Carlton Medder at Right Tackle. Phil Trautwein, Jim Tartt and Drew Miller would provide depth and possibly start. Lance Butler is the most versatile lineman and I see him as the most likely to move to tackle if a young player can play guard and Medder is not ready. To add depth UF could go the Juco route once again, or a walk on or freshman next season could rise up. If Degory stays, then the line is rock solid. I think UF has done a good job of getting Juco's to guard against major injuries but last year went out and signed a top flight o-line class.

I'm assuming Fedora will be in the booth this year calling plays. Can you detail out the lines of communication for us for a given play? Who is responsible for relaying to the QB etc. and how is that done? And then, how are the audibles handled - is Larry still communicating to a sideline coach to call the audibles? Who else is in the booth? What are their specific responsibilities? Who watches the line play? Who watches the secondary, etc? How is all this information synthesized to help w/ the next play call either offensively or defensively? Also, does Fedora watch the opposing offense during the game and relay info to the defensive coaches and vice versa? Thanks.

Larry Fedora will call the offensive plays from the booth and Mike Locksley will signal them in to Chris Leak. Some plays Chris will have the freedom to change the play and audible. In some situations, much like last year Leak will run a "check with me" and get the guys to the line before looking to Locksley for the play. Fedora will then call the play based on how the defense lines up. The fact that UF runs an up tempo offense without a lot of motion allows them to do this. In the Spurrier era he would do some of this but preferred to let the quarterback to make all the calls. A lot of times because of all the different formations and personnel UF would get a delay of game in these situation. The time will come when Chris Leak will get a series to call and/or check to plays on his own. He first must continue to earn the trust of the coaches and I think his progress is ahead of schedule because of the extra time quarterback coach Ed Zaunbrecher spent with him in the spring. Offensive coaches only watch opponents defenses and personnel and vice versa. Most of the time guys are communicating with players and coaches when their unit is off the field. The offensive line graduate assistant Cheston Blackshear, a former player, will watch the offensive line from the box and talk to Wickline between series. The defensive staff is not quite set but Bill Miller a former coordinator for sixteen years is usually up top and Charlie Strong is on the field. UF will have a graduate assistant helping out with special teams on the field,  so I would guess Dan Disch will be up top with the defense as well. Coaches rely on the guys in the box to help them communicate to the players what they cannot see on the field.

How do you like the merger between Gator Country and Was the merger necessary to avoid 'recruiting violations'? That is, Jamie wanted to put a little distance between running a site for Gators and doing his work as a recruiting analyst?

I think the merger is great for Florida fans. Gator Country has been a top flight fan site since it's inception and with the resources of TheInsiders and it's recruiting coverage I believe the Gator fan has everything he or she needs on the Net. As for recruiting violations I have no idea how the merger could cause that, you would have to ask Jamie but I do know the first thing a Gator fan thinks of when mentioning the Gators and the Internet is Gator Country. I have found in my relationship with Jamie that no one is more fair, accurate and hard working than him in the recruiting industry. With the contacts and resources of Gator Country and TheInsiders we should be the first place a person goes for the latest recruiting information. I also think it is an informative and easy to use website which is always the key for success.

Brady, what is the breakdown of the coaches as to what area they are responsible for recruiting? I have heard that each has a state of responsibility and then the position coach will get involved later in the process. How does it work?

The football staff is well represented in the state of Florida. Each recruiting coach has an area in the State in which he is responsible for acquiring talent. The coach will develop relationships, promote the University and send the message of the overall football program to his particular area. Ron Zook does a great job of getting to each area and fortifying the recruiting coach's message. For example in the state of Florida Red Anderson has Dade and Broward counties, Bill Miller has the Palm Beach areas, while Charlie Strong has Orlando, Larry Fedora-Jacksonville, Dan Disch the Panhandle, Joe Wickline has the Tampa/Pinellas County area and Dwayne Dixon has the surrounding areas of Alachua and over to Jefferson. The point to be made here is that Zook gets to all these areas in the Spring, as well as out of state, and that helps with the position coach. One other state gets this much attention for the Gator staff. Georgia has six of UF's recruiting coaches assigned to it's state. That says a lot about the talent inside the state of Georgia and possibly why UF continues to be a player inside the state of Georgia.

Hey Brady,
This year we travel to Knoxville, and it reminded me of the last time we went up there. In the monsoon - a big gator win that I got to experience in person! and I remember after the game, listening to the Vols lament on the radio: a couple of callers were claiming they saw UF trainers rubbing down the Gator players/jerseys w/ some sort of substance. Soap maybe? First, is it legal to have a foreign substance on the jerseys? If so, what's permissible? Second, what do you think those Vols fans - sitting behind the gator bench - were seeing?

I love the passion of Tennessee fans and the support the program gets from it's faithful. The accusation of soap on jersey's may be a reach even for a Vol fan. The ban of certain substances on the jersey's is pretty universal but some schools may stretch the rules a bit when trying to form fit lineman jerseys. If the referees feel someone is gaining a "competitive advantage" and the opposing team makes a claim during the game then the crew will look into it. I don't recall any bubble baths in Knoxville. If the fans saw anything it was the inability of Casey Clausen to get a snap, but seriously probably UF was doing something to dry their jersey's off. Maybe some sort of adhesive spray, I am not sure what they saw. Was this after three hours of moonshine?

Brady, as always, appreciate your efforts to make this forum outstanding. Question for this week is about summer workout regimes. Can you get and publish what the typical [detailed] workout regime is for the big uglies in the trenches and contrast that with what the summer workout is for the speedy DB's or WR's?

I do not have a workout program, but will look into reporting the differences of a "skilled" workout as opposed to a "lineman" workout. In this day and age there is so much more "position-specific" training than ever before. When I was in college everyone had the same workout from weights to running. Today different guys are trying to achieve specific weights, conditioning and so forth. The analysis of each person's body type and makeup is more advanced than ever before. One thing Rob Glass and his staff have done a great job of in training is eliminating the muscle/tendon injuries. They have put together a strong program that reinforces these often injured muscles so that kids stay healthy during the season. I can tell you that the workouts are a bit different but that everyone is working at the same intensity. Incoming freshman get DVD's now with descriptions and video supporting the workout program and how to do it properly. This is a far cry from the stick figures we use to have in our manual in the late 80's.

Ack, What really happened at Carol City H.S down in Miami? I mean, their coaches seem hostile towards UF now. Why is that? Thanks!

I think Red Anderson has had a good relationship with Carol City for a long period of time. I would guess there is some animosity for the way the Willie Williams recruit weekend and it's results. Sometimes high school coaches trust that you will keep their guy out of trouble and make sure he has a good visit. When things go wrong like in Williams case, the first guy to blame is the recruiting coach. Anderson will mend the fences at Carol City, but right now they seem upset at the entire Williams story. Remember to them Williams is a kid who has turned it around, he is a 3.0 plus student who has straightened his life out. The word down there is that his case will amount to nothing more than a violation of probation and that he will get community service max. They probably feel like UF is partly to blame for the situation. It would not surprise me to see Willie Williams at Miami in the spring or even the fall. I will say that the UF coaches were a little apprehensive on bringing Williams in for a visit in the first place and I think both sides will agree that is was a mistake.

Do you think this is Crowder's last year as a Gator?

Yes, I think Crowder is going pro after this season. Remember he was a January recruit who sat out the fall with a knee injury and worked in Gainesville. If he stays healthy and plays the entire season then I think he will leave. Crowder is one of those guys you would not redshirt if you had him the first fall. He would have been a true junior this season. His case is a lot like Larry Fitzgerald and I think he will be ready for the next level after this season. I think he will move back outside in the NFL. I know he has a great relationship with Ron Zook and that he would consider staying if Zook urged him to, but in the end I would say he will probably be gone. As a college football fan, I hope I am wrong.

What is the participation for workouts in Summer A going to be like?

Florida will have around 96% of it's current roster at the workouts in Summer A. This number has been pretty consistent the last two years for Ron Zook. Most all of the freshman will jump in to action in Summer B. This is a pretty high number considering Summer B is pretty much required for academic reasons. I think this group is doing all the "little" things right to get the most out of the off season.

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