Ask Ack: July 26th, 2004

This week sports radio personality Brady Ackerman answers questions on the Taurean Charles situation, Eric Wilbuer's competition, the recruiting process, LB depth, and who he thinks will be the first freshman to start on the team. Later in the week Brady will be bringing coverage of the SEC Media Days.

Three questions: 1. Do you use these questions / answers as topics on your radio show? 2. What are the salaries of the coaches - head and asst coaches for this coming season? 3. What are the pay rates or salaries for team managers and trainers etc. and are there any employment opportunities w/ the team or w/ UAA? Thanks, gatorbogey

I often incorporate the questions and answers from "Ask Ack" when I am concentrating on Gator football. I think our site has the pulse of the Gator fan and many times I get questions that many other listeners of my show would like answered. I understand that my answers and opinions are also very debatable and I encourage that on my show. This question however will not be used on my show!

I do not have the latest information on coaches' salaries but UF assistants are probably in the bottom six of the SEC in pay scale. As a matter of fact UCF has the highest paid staff in the state. Programs like Miami, Florida, and FSU don't have to have the highest paying jobs because of the amenities that come with being in the state of Florida. Secondly, most guys use the job as a springboard for head coaching jobs. For example Brad Scott, Mark Richt, and Chuck Amato at FSU and Bob Stoops, John Thompson, Buddy Teevins, and Carl Franks at Florida. Greg Schiano left Miami to go to Rutgers, Butch Davis went to Cleveland of the NFL and most recently coordnator Rob Chudzinski went to the NFL with the Browns. I think Randy Shannon at Miami, Charlie Strong at Florida, and Kevin Steele at FSU are the next three guys to move in that direction. I am sure there is a way via the public records to access the information. I will look into it for you in the near future.

Hey Ack, As always all us Gators appreciate your work. Ack, Today I feel kind of sick and angry. When I read about Taurean Charles keg incident my first thought was; I hope they send him to jail forever! I'm sorry. I'm all for having fun. Let's party! The whole deal. But punching some guy and then tossing a keg at his head? It's criminal. He should go to jail! As long as we let nut cases (I'm being nice) like him slip through the system it gives others the permission to loose control too. If Zook and Foley bend on this one it's just not right! I don't care how tough it's been for these guys. Hey, life is tough for everyone. Kids look to these guys as role models. Look what they teach! The alumni, teachers, students, community, and nation are disgusted! All over the web, Now it's Zook's crooks! Great. Athletes and people in general need to make a difference. Be a contribution, not a detriment to society. There are enough takers in the world. I'm a Gator! I bleed Orange and Blue. But today I cry Orange and Blue and I want to hide my Gator gear. I'm frustrated and sick! What can we do Ack? How can we help? What needs to change? We gotta talk about it! We can't sweep it under the carpet anymore. malscott
Los Angeles

Thanks for your comments and based on the story we received in the press a lot of fans feel the same way you do. First I am not so sure Taurean Charles punched the kid. He did appear to toss a keg that ended up on a kid that was punched. I am not sure he intended for the keg to hit that particular kid. That being the case it will be hard for the University to justify reinstating this athlete. Ron Zook will stick by his kids through thick and thin but these guys need to learn to walk away. Especially if you have been in trouble with the law in the past. Once you are arrested or seen a problem guy you become a target and when there is trouble the police or whoever is going to look for you first. This team needs Yon Hall in the worst way right now. Yon Hall was a place that only student athletes used when I was in college and guys mostly interacted with other athletes, both male and female. However, in the late 90's the NCAA ruled out dormitories for athletes only and began integrating them with students. I think this is fine and athletes should be treated like responsible adults like everyone else on campus. This team, however, is young and its leaders are also young and talented. They need to stay in and play pool, X-Box, PlayStation, or whatever and focus only on school and winning right now. If bars in college would become 20 and up or 21 and up it would force more kids to be doing thing on campus and maybe it would help. This is just my belief and one man's opinion. I would be surprised if the athletic department allowed Taurean Charles back on the team but let's see when they get all the facts and information.

Hey Ack. In the spring, I know that Eric Wilbur was really slacking off. As a result of his sluggish work ethic, he lost his starting job to Nick Fleming (who was pretty impressive...especially for a backup punter). What will the punting situation look like this fall? We were all very impressed with Wilbur, last fall. Will we stay impressed? -esposito

Nick Fleming is a fine punter who has a quick release. He is listed as the co-starter with Wilbur right now in the Media Guide. I think he outperformed Wilbur in the spring and Zook is trying to light a fire under Eric. Wilbur was unbelievable as a freshman last season and I find it hard to believe he will not be the starter this season. He needs to come to camp with something to prove like he did last year and he will win the job back and maybe challenge Dustin Colquitt for all sec mention.

Hey Ack,
I've seen some people talking about committable and noncommittable offers on the message boards. Can you give some insight on what the difference is and how many of each are given? Thanks,

I think you mean guys who have received offers from the staff for scholarships. UF will offer many top guys in the spring and summer camps. Some kids choose to commit and make their choice public right now and some may commit to the coaches but not want it public. Both types of kids have to be recruited all the way until signing day. A kid who wants to be a silent commitment sometimes does this for various reasons. One could be he is going to leave home where there is a lot of pressure or not go to a school that has gotten his family members or a lot of prospects from his high school. No commitment is binding and UF is allowing some of the big names to go public earlier to offset some of the negativity around the program and coach Zook.

Hey Brady... There is a lot of discussion on the message boards concerning LB depth. There is some speculation on who might switch positions to help mitigate the depth issue at LB. What's your take on that situation? Jermaine Thomas is one that is mentioned. Jarvis Moss is another. I've thrown in the name of Dane Guthrie as a possibility too. Thanks, gatorbogey

If you look at the media guide it appears that three of the six linebackers in the two deep going into the fall practice schedule will not be available vs Middle Tennessee State. Crowder is suspended for one game, Linguard is gone, and Charles is suspended indefinitely. Siler and Estopinan are going to have to play. I don't think any of those names will be every-down linebackers. When UF plays Tennessee it will be Everett, Crowder, T.Harris with Mcollough, Estopinan, and Siler backing them up. I think Thomas has to help at safety if he can get himself right. Moss is a pure pass rusher and Guthrie is too tall in my opinion. UF will be in a lot of nickel vs Middle Tennessee.

In Zook's first two years he has gone 8-5 and 8-5 for a total record of 16-10, not a very good record by UF standards even though most of us have been very, very spoiled over the last decade or so. With this record and all of the negative recruiting that UF and Coach Zook have faced he continues to recruit the state of Florida on par if not better than that of FSU and Miami and as good as just about anyone else in the Country over that same time period. Why is Zook able to pull this off? I know that he is a endless worker but isn't everyone else the same way, or at the major programs anyway? Why is he so much better at recruiting than everyone else other than maybe a guy like Pete Carroll and Nick Saban and even with those coaches they split for the national title and Zook lost 5 games yet these top players are still considering UF. Does it all stem from having a guy like Chris Leak and Channing Crowder or could it be that we have been so down the last couple of years that the top talent looks at our situation and they think that they can come in right away and get PT or is it just a combination of the two? Thanks, Jay4Gators

I think as long as you have good players and you are winning games recruits are oblivious to 8 wins vs. 10wins. If you win a national title or have a losing season then that can impact recruiting. UF was very close to beating FSU, Miami, and Ole Miss last season. These kids see the talent UF has recruited the first two years and with the school and facilities it is still an easy sale. UF's assistants have great resumes and work very hard at it. For example, you mentioned 8-5, 8-5, yet two of the top kids in Texas (Lufkin high school) are very high on Florida. Why? Because UF recruits well. They see the Swamp vs. FSU on national TV and the Miami game in the Orange Bowl. Chris Leak and Channing Crowder help but the kids from the last two classes are as talented as any in UF history and top recruits see that and know UF is going to win. Playing time is important but everyone has players coming back and as a recruit you will always have to compete with someone on campus. Remember LSU ,USC, Ohio State, and Oklahoma were all 8-5, 7-4 programs before jumping into the BCS and National Title picture. They did it by recruiting great players and produced great young teams.

Ack, who is stepping up in the summer and looks like the first freshman to play?

A lot of guys are doing very well in the weight room. I think Tony Joiner has really caught my attention. He may be the most ready guy today to play in the secondary. I did not feel that way on signing day but he physically and mentally looks like a guy who could play a lot in the opener.

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