Ask Ack: June 7th, 2004

In this week's Ask Ack, I talk about how the internet impacts the players, recruits, and even the coaches. Also get "insider" insight into the freshmen, more football tidbits, and much more!

What impact has the internet and internet message boards had on the process of getting a team ready for a game or season? And also in recruiting? Are there positives and negatives? (What are they?) What percentage of players read fan comments on the boards?

I don't think the internet has done anything to impact a team negatively in any way during a season. I think kids read the internet much like they do the paper and watch television. It can serve as a motivation for some cases but for the most part I feel the internet and message boards in general help fans communicate and build up each week for a particular game. I can tell you that most coaches I know say at least one assistant is responsible for monitoring the "vibe" of the faithful on the various internet sites each week. I think everyone knows the effect it has had on recruiting. Recruits are very active on sites and constantly read people's opinions on what they are going to do and so forth. Some of the positives with regards to the internet is the ability to access information on high school kids and get interviews from possible recruits that would not be in the paper or on local radio. Other positives include the video archives of kids so that we the fan can formulate our own list of top recruits. The University can also portray it's academic and athletic strengths on-line as well for recruits to view. One negative may be the slant some sites give on a recruit or his visit and this information can make it hard to keep a recruit committed or get him to commit. I am not sure what the percentage of what players read fan comments but I would say it is pretty high. The thing is players don't let that stuff bother them as much as coaches, university personnel or even the player's parents do. Kids know the game and understand what comes with it. A lot of players like to interact with fans themselves and have done it from time to time on message boards.

In the past, players probably couldn't get a feel for fan apathy or excitement about a particular opponent on the schedule, now they can get instant feedback. e.g. for the FSU game or UGA game, fans on the boards are yapping and smack talking w/ the opposition around the clock until kick-off, for those teams that are perceived 'lesser', there's some apathy toward the game (surprising the Iowa game might have fallen into that category) for those games, I imagine it's a tougher job to motivate the players to come to the game prepared and ready to tango? Thanks,

I think the internet is a resource for players and fans. I would not think the internet has much impact for the preparation for a particular game however. I still think what is done on the practice field and in the meeting rooms is what gives players the insight they need to prepare for an opponent. Motivation is a big thing with college football and important to game preparation. A coach must look at his entire season and give himself an idea on how to manage his team's emotions. A bowl game is separate but as for the regular season he must keep his team on the same level all season so that when he needs to draw upon his highest motivation for big games his kids have a solid foundation. I know some coaches say that they tell their kids "not to read all that stuff on the internet" but that is no different than when I was in school . I think the old days it was the newspaper and now the internet has passed the paper and coaches are referencing it more and more.

Cornelius and McCollum both were supposed to have an impact on blocking punts last year. Early in the year I noticed, at least the first three games, however the pressure stopped. Was that due to Zook being more cautious and looking for more return yardage or other teams adapting to the rush and developing a scheme against it. Should I expect to see more blocked punts this year? GTJGATOR

I do not think the pressure will subside this season. I do know for a fact UF had tried to get pressure on some teams later in the season and it did not work. Some teams like South Carolina are going to the rugby punt and coaches will have to try new schemes to pressure that particular scheme. One thing is for sure if a team takes 2.1 seconds or more to get a ball off , Zook is going after it no matter what. I think Cornelius is the best punt blocker but know he is a starter so someone must emerge in fall camp.

Concerning the defensive ends; in your opinion, who at this point in their careers (some having only played spring) is best at Pass-Rushing, Run-Stopping, or does both equally well? For example, If you believe Cohen and Moss are the best pass rushers, do you think we will could see both of them in 3rd down situations? Do you believe the coaching staff will consider a different combination of DE's for certain situations this year, considering our depth? How much of a difference will we see this year in our Linebacking core with Todd Mc. returning, Travis Harris moving back to LB, and Earl Everett in his second year- As compared to Farrior and Fleming? AParktheGator96

I think depth and numbers are there at defensive end to do whatever Charlie Strong wants to do. I think it is too early to say who is the best pass rusher or run stopper but I will give you my assessment on the guys to this point:

  • Tree Morant- A good combination of both right now a solid pass rusher. He plays the run as well as anyone UF had last season.
  • Steven Harris- Excellent pass rusher with great motor. Has worked hard this summer to be a complete End. Very good versus the run.
  • Jeremy Mincey- His strength right now is pass rushing and has tremendous speed. He does chase the run very well from the backside.
  • Joe Cohen- He can do both very well today. I think Cohen has great upside because of his strength.
  • Jarvis Moss- He is a pure pass rusher who will be a difficult match-up for tackles on third down.
  • Mackenzie Pierre- He is solid right now and will continue to develop with time.

Florida is looking to get speed and pressure with it's defensive ends which is why they are excited about the numbers and talent. Playing the run well at defensive end requires two things. Number one you must not get out of your lane and secondly you must hold your water at worst. A defensive end going backwards creates big space on the front and easy running lanes. I was watching Sunshine Network's telecast of the 1991 Tennessee game the other night and this was my senior year. Zook was our coordinator and we had great depth on that line. We ran Ellis Johnson, William Gaines, Bill Gunter, and Kevin Carter off the bench to name a few. I would say that this line has a chance to have a Kevin Carter coming off the bench as well. I think the linebackers will emerge as strength for this team during the season. To have a kid like Todd McCollough be a backup at several positions is a bonus considering he was a starter before his injury. Travis Harris will surprise the entire SEC this season.

Did all of Florida's incoming freshman pass the act test because I see Mcintosh Nicolas might have to go community college for a year. What is Florida's roster for the 2004 season? Or where can I find it. And who are starting wide recievers?

First of all Mcintosh Nicolas appears to be headed to Dodge City Community College where he will have to graduate with his AA to return to the University of Florida. He should be able to do this in two years if he stays on track. I do not think many kids make their ACT scores public but I believe UF to have two kids awaiting some type of test scores. Eric Rutledge and Mike Mangold are on campus and awaiting test scores that could make their enrollment at Florida official. Derrick McPherson has chosen to go to a prep school and could be on campus at UF in January at the earliest. We should have a roster and a scholarship breakdown by class here on Gator Country. The starting wide receivers will be Dallas Baker, OJ Small, Jemalle Cornelius and Andre Caldwell.

Which Freshmen came to Summer B in the best shape?

The Gators had an impressive class make its way to campus last week. Freshmen are coming in more ready to play than ever. I think a few guys caught my attention the first week. Running back Marcus Manson looks to be in great shape and a terrific athlete. Drew Miller is a very impressive offensive line prospect. Both linebackers Brandon Siler and Javier Estopinan look physically ready. I think for all freshman the key to success is being able to handle the academics and the free time they get in college. From there they must be physically ready by getting strong and building up there playing stamina for the heat of fall camp. Finally they must know what to do and when to do it. This step is the final hurdle that most freshmen never get over. It takes persistence and hard work to get over the final hurdle but it can be done -- just look at Chris Leak.

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Brady Ackerman-The Sports Zone-Listen at
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