FOOTBALL: Ack's Insights this week

The story all week has been about Ron Zook and his involvement with a fraternity the week of the Tennessee game. Many versions and accounts of the story have been out there and certainly Coach Zook is not proud of how it turned out. But one thing keeps getting lost on many folks and that is the fact that an altercation was avoided. Read on for more, including a juicy rumor about where former Gator Coach Spurrier is headed...

The night before that was not the case and offensive lineman Steve Rissler got the short end of the stick and was injured to the point that he could not play against Tennessee. I think the timing of the story is a bit strange and I am not sure people are as upset if UF was six points better and standing 5-0.

The fact is your head coach cannot be in the center of a situation that is deemed a "losing proposition". This was a no-win move for Zook in that he was going to either be disciplining his own kids or separating them from course of action. Florida's players should probably not have been there but I remember the "chain gang" in the spring of 1988 that had to miss spring practice because of a fraternity fight. The group included players like Emmitt Smith, Louis Oliver, Kerry Watkins, and many more. I know that Frats and Football players often don't see eye to eye and athletes will stick together as these guys did in 1988. I am not trying to embarrass Emmitt or these other guys but the fact is that over seventeen guys missed spring ball for a couple of weeks because of the altercation and that was sixteen years ago. I think we all know most of these guys including Emmitt turned out to be great Gators and good adults. My point is this happens when your young and it's the job of the football coach to continue to warn player against it and the campus police's job to diffuse it.

I am not sure what was said at the showdown at #11 but it seems to me that the one adult (Ron Zook) that I know was there should not be chastised for raising his voice and using authoritative methods to get control of a hostile environment. I like you have many questions but the fact that the police deemed this a non-chargable situation tells me it is nothing more than some verbal jawing among young people. Ron Zook is a good man and a fine representative of the University and if he did something wrong it was only because he was trying to do something right. You can criticize his play calling, half time adjustments and take issues with his game management if you want but from a character standpoint he is top notch. Players love him, assistants respect him and other coaches fear him on the recruiting trail. If he can get the results on the field the rest of 2004, I think you find that what Ron Zook did at #11 was not an embarrassment to the University but a commendable act to bring peace on campus.

Rumor Mill...

I hear Steve Spurrier may be having conversations with Wayne Huzienga in Miami. Actually, the meeting could take place in Tampa where Spurrier's son will be visiting South Florida this weekend and the Bulls take on Army. One other rumor is that NFL front office man Jim Steeg who started in the ticket office with the Dolphins years ago would be the President. Many people think Urban Meyer has the makings of being a future big time coach. I think he does a great job at Utah but his option attack with the quarterback is not suited for some current UF players.

Snippetts and Tidbits…

There should be no danger that this will be the 11th game in the last 19 that will be decided in the last two minutes. Out of 31 games under Ron Zook Florida has led in the second half 27 times. Look for the Gators to get under center a bit more this week and hit some more big plays. Last week, due to the fact UF had the ball less than 60 snaps, Florida got under center just 10% of the time. The overthrow to OJ Small midway through the third quarter was a well designed play and Chris Leak just made a poor throw. That was a play set up under center that would have gotten UF to 28 points. Defensively UF struggled inside with the Trap and QB trap because of depth and fatigue. UF needs the tackles to play a bit better and Michael Hill should continue to get time. Zeph Augustine could see a lot of action this week. Mo Mitchell has been extremely solid at right guard this season and is playing himself into a spot at the next level. He has improved his conditioning and is able to be just as effective at snap 50 as early in the game. One bright spot last week on offense was the fact that eight players caught passes for the gators. Reggie Lewis made a catch and had increased playing time because of a strong week on the practice field. Chad Jackson will get his hands on the ball more and should be a playmaker at the punt return spot. Middle Tennesee has had two tough losses or they would be 4-1. Quarteback Clint Marks is very accurate and the Blue Raiders run a similar offense to what Florida runs.

Final Thoughts..

Last week I thought LSU's cover two confused Chris Leak from time to time. LSU is a good defensive team that had one bad outing against Georgia. I would not be surprised if they win the rest of their games. For Florida to win the rest of its games, they must cure some ills over the next two weeks. First, the run game must re-establish itself and the mid-range passing game must get back in rhythm on offense. Defensively, UF must get into tighter defenses on third down and get teams off the field. I like Florida to win but it's hard to think they won't be a little flat and with the noon kickoff it could be ugly early.

Florida 30-14

Keep an eye on: Brandon Siler, Michael Hill, Terrence Holmes, and Andre Caldwell.


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