EXCLUSIVE: Coach Zaunbrecher on current UF QBs

Part 1 of our interview with Coach Ed Zaunbrecher dealt with the past quarterbacks he has helped coach up. Today we talk with Coach Zaunbrecher about the present and future quarterbacks from the current Gators roster. Again, he was gracious enough to share his time with us and we hope you enjoy.

Coach Z, what are the main things that are going to separate Chris Leak - the true freshman quarterback - from Chris Leak - the true sophomore with a year's experience?

"He's so much farther along because he's done it and got a lot of not just repetitions in practice like young guys get, but experiencing as a starter. Nine games plus playing in the others is invaluable. He improved over the course of playing, he improved in practice, and I expect him to continue to improve with the type of work habits that he does have."

How does Chris compare to the quarterbacks you used to coach?

"They are all different in styles, but there are similarities. In the last week I was fortunate enough to talk to Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, and Rex Grossman and all three are different personalities, different body types, and different throwing motions. The things they have in common are they are all mentally tough guys and very competitive guys and they can make the throws. They can throw with zip with touch and other things. The other thing they have in common is in high pressure type situations; two minute key situations -- their heart rate stays slower than most, so every thing around them stays in slower motion. That's the difference between a guy that can play catch and a good quarterback. He has shown the ability to do all of those things and if he keeps doing them on a consistent basis, I don't see why he can't be a great quarterback."

What are some areas of Chris's game that we can see improvement?

"I think there are some little things that he got better at as the year went on. For example, we really emphasized throwing the ball away and there were some times when he probably didn't have the immediate pressure right in his face; his first keys were covered and he threw the ball away. It kept us from taking a loss and gave us a chance to get a first down. As you go along, with a young guy you want to make sure he is not losing any confidence by forcing the ball and getting knocked around and we minimized that for him, especially with as good as schedule as we were playing. It helped him progress; now he will have a little bit better feel on when he needs to get rid of it and if he doesn't he can scramble around, because he does a good job when he is on the run. He makes some good plays, but he can probably make even more and showed that in the spring.

Going into the start of fall practice, who will start out as the number two quarterback and why?

"Gavin Dickey is the number two guy based on experience, practice time, and preparation. He will be the first guy to have the opportunity for the job. He's a little bit different type of quarterback. He isn't just a scrambling guy; he can really throw the ball. Once he learns progressions and improves, he gives you the dimension of running the ball; it gives us a little bit different type of quarterback in there. He does have a little more experience and it should be easier for him to get back into the swing if things because he is the senior guy at the quarterback position now."

How has Justin Midgett's progression as a college quarterback been so far?

"Justin Midgett showed why we recruited him in the spring, he got better and better as the spring went on, the last week was better than the first week and he finished up with a nice spring game. Consistency is the key for him -- he can make the throws and do the things we liked when we recruited him, but it's a matter of doing it on a consistent basis and he'll keep working hard to make improvement and put himself in position to compete for playing time."

What can you tell us about Cornelius Ingram and what we might expect from him?

"Obviously I haven't had a chance to work with Cornelius yet, but watching him in high school, he is an excellent athlete. We will have to see how long the transition to college takes place and see how quickly he catches on to stuff. He will probably be a typical freshman, but a guy with a great deal of ability. Athletic skill, speed, size, etc. We like to take a guy like that and work with him and get him into position, so when he is ready to go and compete and know what is going on and when Chris has gone on to graduate, he can put himself in position to help us because of his athletic skills. He is a guy that will get a good look to see how he can play."

Can you tell us the importance of Matt Kynes and what he may be able to bring to the table?

"I am really glad Matt is around. He is a really smart guy, a very conscientious guy, and he'll know what to do. You never know, he could be in a position sometime to be the third quarterback, and he will be prepared. He has made a lot of progress on his fundamentals since he has been here. He likes being a part of the team, he loves the University of Florida and playing here is something he always wanted to do. He is very conscientious about his preparation and knows it is an uphill battle to get on the field. Last year we got him in on a couple of snaps in a game, one was covering a kickoff and he was the happiest guy in the world just to get out on the field.

Coach Zaunbrecher knows he has a stable of talent. His "leather resume" speaks volumes of what he can help do for quarterbacks. Time will tell, where and which of these current Gator quarterbacks will find a spot on THE ball. It should be fun watching.

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