He was quick to come to the defense of Dallas Baker as reporters wondered how the young man was treated and felt about the situation he was involved with at the end of the game. Coach Zook, the ultimate players coach responded, "There isn't a better player than Dallas Baker. I called him Sunday and he was at home. How could he feel he lost that game? He had no more to do with it than I did."
In a direct reference to the fact that side judge Bobby Moreau "didn't see" the Vol's defender taking the first swipe, Coach Zook offered this bit of common wisdom. "They always get the second guy. He knows he was wrong. He knows he can't do that. But I'm not going to blame him. We had three chances to win that game. We talk about the five or six plays that come down to winning a game, and that was not one of them. The outcome had a lot to do with it, but the incident did not."
How is Dallas taking it? "He'll be fine because they are a team. That's what you love about Dallas Baker. He cares, it's important to him. They understand the expectations and they understand how important it is. I'll be danged if I'm going to let a player walk around with 109,000 people on his back. Blame me. Dallas will come back fine."
No Hanging Chad…
One continued bright spot for the Gators has been the receiving corps. The overall young group has one experienced leader in OJ Small and he has led the team in receptions for both games. Still, the young guys are providing a lot of spark and a few big plays. At the top of the big play list is Chad Jackson. He has few catches, but maybe the best two of the year so far. He has also electrified as a kick returner. Coach Zook had this to say about his up and coming star sophomore: "He keeps getting better in practice and has bought into doing well on special teams because he was named special teams player of the week after Eastern Michigan. I told him about Jacquez Green. Green wasn't doing too much and so I took him and put him on special teams and then he started blocking and returning punts and Coach Spurrier then got him more involved in the offense. He's making plays now and he's going to continue to make plays. His confidence is much better especially when you make plays like he has. I'm really proud of him."
Coach Zook isn't the only one noticing. Besides all the Gator fans on this site and everywhere clamoring for more playing time for the speedster, the quarterback that throws the ball also has noticed. Chris Leak shared a few words on Jackson. "Chad's been developing his entire career. First high school, and now college. He's one of those guys who just makes plays when he gets the ball in his hands."
That is what we missed last year from our receiving corps. That is what we hope to see a lot more of this year.