Ask Ack: August 30, 2004

In this week's edition of Ask Ack, I answer questions about the football team as the first game of the 2004 season approaches. Find answers to such questions as the progressions a quarterback makes when he's reading a defense, what Brandon Siler's role will be when the Gators take the field Saturday, who among the cornerbacks has stood out and more. Read on to get the real inside scoop on the football team!

Brady, what info do you have on Derrion Robinson, the LB that recently transferred to UF?  Word is he was an NAIA All-American at that position. 


I believe he is working with the fullbacks right now and will be eligible to play the next two seasons beginning next year. It is to early to tell what kind of player he will be.


I love listening to your show on the net in the morning here in Houston.  My question is an age old one, why is the perception that UF has not recruited as well as Miami and FSU since the late 70's? Where did UF go wrong in being the premier football program in the state? Is it an attitude that Miami and FSU have over UF? Or did we mess up with coaching choices after Ray Graves retired in 1969?


First of all you have to give credit to Howard Schnellenberger creating the "state of Miami" when he took UM to the National Title in the early 80's. Miami is the team to beat in Dade and Broward counties and they basically can get whoever they want. FSU became very strong down south during some lean years for UF and had outstanding recruiters like Chuck Amato finally break through down there. FSU had their fourteen year run and which helped get athletes attention. Of the three schools, UF and the city of Gainesville has the least in common with the athletes of Miami. I also believe during the Spurrier era there was a time that High School coaches tried to boycott UF because of certain things. The bottom line is you go get a couple every year and then hopefully you are getting the right ones that stay in your program. If they do then you will continue to get some more but if not look for the boycott again. In reference to the 70's let me just say college football has changed, society has changed, the culture of young people has changed and the University of Miami has been elevated.

Hi Brady,
Can you give some insights on Coach Zook's organizational skills as a head coach and how they relate to organizing the staff (e.g. are goals and responsibilities clearly defined?) and preparing the team for games and practices and installing the 'systems'?



I believe one of Ron's great strengths is organization. First of all every snap at practice is scripted so that there are no wasted plays. Every day starts with a staff meeting early in the morning discussing personnel and issues of the day. UF has goals and like most schools they do not throw them out there to the media for us to project. But each coordinator will come up with goals that Ron will approve and even he will add numbers to each side of the ball. At the end of the day each practice is evaluated, broken down and the staff will discuss it. His recruiting and energy are well documented. Ron has a plan and a philosophy and he is sticking to it through thick and thin. All you can do as a coach is do what you believe in and if it does not work then you know you gave your best effort.


Ron sets the entire year into "phases" and breaks down each one with goals and expectations. From the offseaon to the recruiting season, it is all planned out. Each coach knows what is expected of him. Saturday UF spent an entire practice going through the pre-game ritual for next week so everyone will know what to do and where to go. They even checked substitutions and everything.


Final thought -- great preparation does not guarantee success, you must have effort, execution and talent to get over the top. But lack of preparation and organization will not allow your  program to get out of the batter's box.

'Hollywood Bob' mentioned in a chat recently that the quarterbacks read 'triangles' - inferring reading the triangle or zone between receivers.  Could you go into that explanation a little deeper for us laymen?  What are the nuances to reading a defense?  ( I need some help in my own reads on the PlayStation NCAA game!! :-)



A triangle read means you have three options to that side of the field. The quarterback will then decide based on the coverage which option is best. UF will usually flood one-third of the field with three options and then someone will have an advantage. Start your coverage reading with three simple rules. First, check the safeties and corners before the snap. One safety and corners off and it is probably a three deep zone (throw curl flat or four verticals). When two safeties and two corners are up a bit, the coverage may be a two deep zone (ook for corner routes and middle of the field digs). If you have no safeties or one safety and the corners are up tight it could be some type of man to man (look for quick hitters, the fade or slant or combination of both).


Is Brandon Siler going to start against Middle Tennessee State?



I believe he will be the starting middle linebacker. He has picked up the game very well and has tremendous range sideline to sideline. Todd McCollough would probably be the choice versus a pro-style team because he is solid in the box but I think Siler will get his first career start in the opener. Middle is a spread team and you could see a lot of nickel.


What's going on with the corner situation?



Well UF has three guys ready to go play. Dee Webb has had a great week of practice and looks to be back in the good graces of the coaching staff. Look for Webb and Hill to get the start in the opener against the Blue Raiders.


Hey Ack,
I appreciate you taking my question and point of view. Thanks for all that you do. This is about the ruling that offsets the hurry up/no huddle offense that hurt us. Why doesn't the defense just huddle themselves and go over their assignments if the referee is going to wait for them to get set anyway? Go Gators!!
--Kyle R.Ms
Most defenses now a days will get the front call from one coach and the secondary call from another coach. It makes it easier for the players to look over to the sidelines and get the signals from there positions. Some teams use cue cards and so forth. It can be difficult in this day and age to huddle and get all the information. It also eliminates errors of communication. If someone does not hear the call right he may get confused on the linebacker's call or what have you. Remember the old days when you called 6-2 stack monster. The 6-2 was the front with the assignment stack was the linebacker call and monster was the coverage. Now you have front guys switching, linebackers bluffing and corners disguising. Much more information for young people to digest, hence the no huddle defense.

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