Why do we lack the killer instinct to finish off teams under Coach Zook? Who played well last Saturday? What about the second half adjustments - did we make any? Explain Line Splits and what they are. What can we expect from LSU? Will we see more stunts from them? Did the Gators go conservative vs. Arkansas? Get the answers and more!
Q: Why do we lack the killer instinct to finish teams off under Ron Zook?
A: I think you have to take each situation into account when analyzing how the Gators have finished games. There are some cases of poor clock management, other situations of letting up and others that involved officiating. I think this team needs to learn how to handle prosperity. Remember, its two best players are sophomores (Crowder and Leak). It is up to those guys to help the team finish the job. Defensively UF must play more players and they did a little better job on Saturday. Siler, McCollough?, Kyle Jackson,Vernell and Michael Hill need to find snaps with the regular units. Also the team needs to do a better job of blitzing when they do send pressure. Linebackers are coming on "token pressure" and getting picked up way to easily by backs. Offensively they need to refine the running game in the fourth quarter. In this game I think they tried to stay aggressive and struggled vs the blitz and Leak found a cold hand. This was a game where the fourth quarter should have been Fason time and if teams are going to blitz put in some traps and option plays down the stretch. For this season I think the staff has pushed the right button but the players must stay hungry. Last season and the first year are different stories than this team. This year they have the talent to finish the job but they must figure out how to keep the "edge" and do it.
Q: Who played well on Saturday in your opinion?
A: It was nice to see Chad Jackson's increased playing time and he looks like the real deal. He has all the tools to be a great one. The receiving corps really had a strong day and Leak was in a zone for awhile but some of his throws were to far out of bounds and maybe not delivered on time. I thought Dee Webb played well, he is a physical corner who can really come up against the run. He is a combination of Lamar and Ratliff and really is a star in the making. One thing that hurts Webb is the soft coverage but he looked good. Ray McDonald? is becoming an elite player and Crowder had a nice day. Matt Piotrowicz is having a great year on kickoffs. I have been very outspoken about him not getting enough kicks to the endzone a year ago and he is delivering this year in a big way.
Q: What about the second half adjustments did we make any?
A: When your up 35-7 at the half the pressure is on the other team to make adjustments to what you are doing. UF was doing everything right in the second quarter and came out in the third quarter and held the ball offensively for ten plus minutes.Defensively Arkansas did not pick up a third down conversion in the third quarter. It was just an amazing late game performance by Matt Jones that will teach UF a valuable lesson on playing all four quarters to your fullest ability.UF had six meaningful second half possessions on offense and scored twice so it is not like they went in the tank but they need to sense that the defense was on their heels in the fourth and maybe run the ball better.
Q: Explain what 'Line Splits' are about and how they play into the running and passing game and how the defense may counter or 'split' themselves to attack an offense.
A: Line splits are how far apart each offensive lineman lines up next to eachother and it can be very important that each man is positioned correctly.Sometimes guys "cheat" and cut down their alignment because they are pulling on a run play. A standard rule is one and a half foot for guards and two feet apart for tackles from guards. Some teams like Miami and FSU put there defensive ends in a "jet" technique which is completely outside the tackle to try to widen him and create pressure as well as a lane for the linebacker to fill.
Q: In terms of splits, what can we expect to see this week from LSU offense and defense - do certain splits help w/ stunts and loops/twists?
A: LSU will run some tackle twists inside especially on pass down situations. They like to drop there ends into coverage and blitz someone from the back seven, usually the guy over the inside receiver. They are a big and physical defensive front but not as good a last season.
Q: Will we see more stunts and DL 'games' this week or in the [near] future from the Gators - or, when is it advisable to use stunts, etc?
A: It is tough to stunt and blitz a lot against athletic quarterbacks because they move so well. I don't think LSU's guys move as well as Matt Jones but expect some games and so forth against teams like Georgia and FSU.
Q: There seems to be some fans that think we went 'conservative' [again] in the second half against the 'hogs. I disagree w/ their position. I thought the play-calling was consistent and aggressive - although we didn't go 'down the field' as much w/ the long posts and seam routes. My contention is that UF had deployed our '4-minute offense' in the second half w/ the intent of scoring while consuming some clock; and that it was a balanced attack of passing and running plays. Is this a correct assumption? Perhaps the better complaint or assessment should be made of the effectiveness of our '4-minute' offense. What's your assessment and how can it improve in the coming weeks
A: I think the first two series of the fourth quarter extended the life of Arkansas comeback. The Gators first two series of the final stanza had four passes and one run play. The run was busted and Leak had to eat the ball for a loss. This shows me the lack of maturity with some of the offensive players and their ability to recognize the importance of finishing the job. I think they will learn from it because they are a young team and that includes Chris Leak. The next series the Gators were three and out with two passes so it was obvious to me that the coaches were trying to stay aggressive but the big lead caused the players to lose the "edge" just a bit. Certainly the defense has to stop the opponent but if coaches trust you to call pass plays in a two score game in the fourth quarter you must execute. I don't think there was conservative play calling if it would have been with plenty six runs and only three passes the clock may have been a bigger factor. It takes experience to improve finishing games. I remember 1991 when we played Kentucky and they came all the way back to make it 28-26 before we had to put a drive together on the ground. It can happen but the most important thing is that you get a win. I believe UF only ran nine running plays in the second half.
Q: How is your job as the color analyst w/ FIU football progressing? how much time does that take per week to prepare for the games and what is the nature of that preparation? personally, i miss your insights on sunshine's tailgate show. is your intention to perhaps become the color analyst for the Gators in the future?
A: I enjoy doing UCF and FIU broadcasts and Sunshine Network has been very good to me. It is nice to be in the game and be a part of college football. It takes alot of time when you are doing teams for the first time. You have at least four conference calls with coaches and media and then try to attend at least one practice. The key is to know what the teams do, what the players are about and let the story unfold for itself.It is a lot of work especially since I have a radio show and I work with Gator Country but it is very rewarding and I am very lucky.I don't have a goal to be the color guy for Florida because they have a super one in Nat Moore. I will be back on Sunshine this week and for the rest of the season with Tailgate Saturday and the gator post game show. I appreciate your kind word and keep watching.