FOOTBALL: Ask Ack - Q & A on UF vs. UT game

In this week's edition of Ask Ack, Brady answers many very good questions from the Gators vs. Tennessee game that gives plenty of insight into just about every element of the game. Plus more thoughts on the rest of the season.

Q: What accountability is there for the side judge who blew the personal foul call? If I performed like that at work I would certainly get a pink slip. bigelboy

A: Each official is graded by the director of officials and certainly with multiple sub par performances he could eventually lose his job. I think the biggest blow to the side judge is the comments made in the media by Bobby Gaston the director of officials for the SEC suggesting he made a questionable judgement call. I think this crew or certainly that official could get suspended for a game because of the high profile nature of this game and many folks around the country saw the poor call. It would not surprise me if the SEC does something on monday with the crew.

Q: When are Zook and Strong going to grow some sack and do something other than rush 3 and drop 8 when we have the lead. Furthermore, ask the coaches who the hell these 8 guys are covering since it's not apparent in the game that they're covering anyone. How can 8 guys not cover 3 guys is what I want to know. I suppose dropping 8 in coverage works fine if it actually worked once, but it doesn't. Maybe we should double team every WR in a pattern and then we could stop someone. --coolgtr

A: I agree that UF must coach to win some games even if the numbers say to play it safe. The defensive line struggled to get pressure all night and in crunch time you would have liked to see them bring four at least.Eight guys dropping into to a zone does not mean everyone is covered especially if the three receiver find the open spots. What dropping eight is designed to do is make it more difficult for the quarterback to see receivers and by forcing a throw you are more likely to get it picked off with the defense converging. UF has not played this defense well the last two years and If I were them I would scrap the package.

Q: Hey Brady, It seemed to me like Tennessee was double teaming out DT's the whole game and just letting our DE's go one on one against their tackles and TE's. Is that what happened? Why were we not able to get any pressure on their young QB's, especially Ainge? Is Coach Anderson not a very good coach of linemen? Thanks, GatorFansRule?

A: The defensive tackles struggled to get off blocks during the game. In most schemes one of the guys will be doubled especially on run plays. It is Marcus's and Ray's job to split the double team and disrupt the play.When UF faces tough running teams the Gators are going to be over matched at the point of attack because they do not have a 300lb tackle. In the passing situations the Vols did a good job blocking up the tackles and the ends did not apply enough pressure. I will give cohen,mincey and company a hall pass in that it was there first big game and they have not played a lot. But it is an area of concern because if UF can't get pressure from time to time with the front four they are going to have to blitz and leave guys in man coverage. Credit Tennessee they blocked well and handled UF's defensive line especially in the first half.

Q: Dear Brady, Before the season, the coaches kept discussing the 2004 Gators would be creating pressure on the opposing quarterback. However, against Tennessee, when it came down to the fourth quarter Florida dropped eight guys and only rushed three. Did Charlie Strong and Coach Zook forget the FSU game from last year? That is how we allowed Rix to convert 4th and 14 as well as the long TD bomb. Why do you think he chose not to create pressure in that situation by either blitzing or at least a full pass rush? I keep hearing the coaching staff saying they they learn a lot from these losses, but that seems to be a lesson they have missed in spite of numerous opportunities. BULLGATOR

A: Florida would like to be able to create pressure with four and five man schemes much like Miami and FSU does. They did not do it Saturday night in large part because Tennessee had them on their heels early with the run game and the Vols blocked well. Fl orida's 3rd and 4th down defense was again very conservative and did not force the Vols to see pressure. I think with the inexperienced secondary he chose not to pressure with blitzes and I don't think it was the right call. Eventually UF has to get to the point where the mix It up on 3rd and long and until they do so they will be predictable.

Q: Please comment on defensive line play, esp. DE's, and DB play, esp. cornerbacks. BradDad?

A: I think the coners are going to be fine they were asked to play off more than you would like but they did a solid job. I was disappointed in Cory Bailey and his play and Holmes just needs more playing time. The defensive ends came up short on Saturday night and had too many mistakes and did not get off blocks well. They must improve and when they do the defense will become much better.

Q: can you describe what the gameplan looks like - is there a set of plays for each down and distance and position on the playfield? how many plays per each situation is there? is there any sort of notation for what defense the opposition is expected to be in? e.g. two plays may be ready to be called and depending on what the defense set is, that will dictate what the audible is.

A: Specifically for the vols game - i would think that we should have anticipated the vols to bunch the line of scrimmage on our last drive. i would have thought that we might do some play-action to exploit that situation. what were the play alternatives in that situation? i'm all for the philosophy that we now play smashmouth - if we need a couple of yards on the ground we SHOULD be able to convert....but against teams like the vols, they are going to come w/ numbers that a different play could exploit their defensive set. <p>Most gameplans begin with scripts of the 10-15 plays and formations you want to run at the beginning of the game to see how a defense responds. After watching tape during the week coaches can formulate a plan that will attack defenses tendencies. This is why you see some teams score on an early drive because they have seen something on tape. The "open Field" which is between the 20 yards lines usually has of upward of 50-75 plays and formations while the redzone and the other areas of the field have probably 7-15 options. Short yardage script will have there own plays as well. Florida puts plays together based on tape and tendencies such as third and long UF knew the Vols would blitz the olb and that is why the swing to Fason was so effective. The last drive UF was looking to play the percentages and run out the clock. It should have happened and they did not get the clock to start after the penalty. This is an experience UF must learn from and finish the job the next time they are in that positon.

Q: Brady, a few questions regarding the Tennessee game:

1. Why was qb's coach Zaunbrecher up in the booth? and, since he was up in the booth, who was the coach, if any, interacting w/ Leak on the sidelines?

2. i get the impression the SEC ref's aren't giving the Gators any sort of benefit of the doubt in games. it is almost as if they don't want UF to win the big games. what's your thoughts on the matter? in the past, i think UF got some calls in the big games - or, especially against 'lesser' SEC foes (the bias due to UF being in the hunt for a BCS bowl game); conversely, in the past, there were some ref's that i felt had a bias against spurrier and would call the game accordingly. now, i think the SEC ref's favor other SEC teams.

3. UT got over 100 yards in the first quarter on the ground. what exactly were we doing wrong w/ the play of the defensive front 7? thereafter, for the remaining 3 quarters, by my count, the vols managed only 69 yards. what were some of the adjustments the coaches made w/ the defense? was there a change in personnel, scheme, sets, techniques, intensity, or what?

4. my preconceptions going into the vols game was to run blitz or 'mush rush' Schaeffer or assign one or two 'spys' (or a LB zone underneath) to contain him - and make him beat us w/ his arm and then to blitz the heck our of Ainge or disquise the blitz/zone packages on Ainge - the pocket passer - to confuse him a bit. it didn't seem we did that. what was the defensive strategy for the gators for these two different qb's? thanks, gatorbogey

A: First of all, Zaunbrecher feels he can see better from the booth and I think the communication between him and Leak was good.Leak talked with him on the phone after every series.The old adage is that Florida has to win games in spite of the refs certainly has some merit for this past weekend. I just feel as a team you cannot put yourself in a situation to let officiating with judgment calls dictate the outcome. Florida should have made a 21yd field goal, Dallas Baker should not have shoved back, the offense should make one more first down and the defense should prevent Tennessee from making a 4th and six. These things are what I choose to focus my energy on in a tough loss. The one thing that bothers me the most about officiating is the incorrect use of the rules. The clock should have started after the Baker penalty. As for the run defense I thought a couple of things happened. UF got better on first down and the linbackers showed up around the line of scrimmage. Secondly the defensive tackles made too many mistakes early and started beating double teams in the second half. Finally I thought Crowder made some mistakes in the first half but he corrected them and was much better in the second half.When Florida did bring heat they did get blocked a lot which was frustrating but they also caused a fumble and an interception with pressure defensively. I think UF had a plan for Tennessee's offense in geneal with an emphsis on keeping Shaffer in the pocket and making Ainge throw quick. The defense did not have a sterling performance but they did accomplish one of there major goals and that was no big plays. With a young secondary I thought they played it close to the vest for much of the night. They did bring pressure but Tennessee picked it up well. Ainge had too much time to throw at the end of the game but in reality he should have not had any time at all.

Q: Ack, What coaching logic would make us run right into a stacked up D line and linebackers time and time again last year and this year, and at the end of this game when we should have been trying to make a first down and/or eat up some clock. Has Zooks playbook or game plan become so predictable that everyone knows what plays he will run and when he will run them and is he too stubborn to change this predictability? --NastyReptile?

A: I think UF was trying to run the clock and make sure they did not allow the Vols to have much time to win the game. I think Zook plays the percentages for the most part and unfortunately for him they have not worked. I do think with a quarterback like Leak, at some point UF can take a chance with a lead lat in the game.

Q: Ack: What is up with Strong/Zook's defense? Will see more of S.Thorton when Fason comes out? Will C.Bailey drop on the depth chart?

A: It was unfortunate that Fason came out he was really dialed in at the running back spot. I think Wynn is the number two guy but Skyler will certainly play more as UF gets into the season. C Bailey struggled the other night but he is a senior who knows the defense and will continue to play.

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