FOOTBALL: Coach Zook Q & A

Coach Zook answers questions about last weekend's game in addition to getting ready for Mississippi State this weekend.

About getting back to the SEC and regular schedule…

The thing that was good yesterday was we kept our focus. These guys understand we're back into Southeastern Conference play and that there's a lot of football to be played. A lot of things can happen. All we can control is what we do one game at a time one play at a time.

Ray McDonald didn't play yesterday…

Yeah. Had we felt like we had to have him, we probably could have played him, but we felt like we'd give him another week of rest.

About Fason's statements…

Obviously there's a mutual respect there. We're all in this together. I think they understand we care about them. We push them hard, we demand a lot of them, and by the same token, we're there for them as well. I guess it makes you feel good when you know what you're trying to do is getting accomplished.

About the Ole Miss -Tennessee game…

I watched a little bit of it, but was falling asleep. All we can control is what we can control.

Will there be practice tomorrow?

Yeah we will go a little bit tomorrow. We won't do what we always do on Monday, but we will do a little bit.

Is there wear and tear going on?

No, I don't think so. What you try to do is keep that from happening.

Will the wear and tear show up in the next few games?

There's nothing I can do. I think anytime during the course of a season you try to keep a pretty close eye on where your team's at injury-wise and all those type of things. Rob Glass keeps track of how many yards we've run and exactly where we're at that way. You're going to have normal wear and tear during the season. It's the way it goes. There's nothing we can do. We just have to be smart about what we're trying to do.

On OJ Small's injury…

O.J. is a little stiff. His shoulder's stiff, but I don't think it will be a problem.

On kickoff coverage…

Obviously, we're getting great kicks, Petro is doing a nice job of kicking, and our guys are doing a nice job of covering. Kickoff coverage is maybe the truest, purest form of football. You kick the ball and you run down there real fast and you run into somebody real hard. Our guys are doing a pretty good job of that.

On Kyle Jackson…

I'm not going to say that he's earned a regular spot, but he definitely deserves more playing time. He did a nice job and I'm real proud of him. Once again, as I said earlier in the year, guys come along at different rates. Obviously, he did well yesterday. If you look at Chad Jackson, he was frustrated last year, but now he's making plays. Everybody comes along at their own rate.

Are the Gators thriving on big plays this year?

I don't think there's any question. We have enough playmakers on this football team. I don't think any team on any level is going to have a thousand playmakers, but you have to have enough playmakers to make plays they just need to continue to do what they need to do. We've talked about having a knack for making plays. We've got guys on both sides of the football and on special teams making plays. What we need is for those guys to step up and make the plays.

Is this your most explosive team?

I don't think there's any question this is the most explosive team. We said we were going to be better last year and we said we were going to be better this year, and we'll be better next year.

Did you stress having fun?

Well, we talked about that all week. Go have fun. You've worked too hard. If you're worried about all the other things that are going on, then you're not relaxing and playing the way you can play. They went out and had fun yesterday. That's the way we have to play every game. We have to go out and play one play at a time and don't worry about the outcome of the game.

Have you had time to look at Miss. State yet?

No, I really haven't. I took a peek at them Friday afternoon. Other than that I don't know anything abut them.

What was most encouraging about the game yesterday?

It's an ongoing season and you wan to continue to progress as you go along. Obviously, we did some things that were better. Offensively, we had more guys making big plays. In the special teams we continued to be strong there, and you are going to need to be as we go down the stretch. Defensively we played more players and some of those young guys played well. Earl Everett played his best game by far. You take two or three starters out of a defense and it makes a little bit of a difference, but you didn't miss the things you have with Jarvis, Channing, and Ray. That helps you depth-wise and helps you know when you get into the stretch and you are healthy, you have a chance to be where you need to be.

With the starters out, will this game give the young guys some confidence or help them play better?

Absolutely. I don't know about the confidence thing, but any time you can play young guys and they get playing time, they are going to improve some. I don't feel like our team has a problem with confidence, any of the offense, defense, or special teams. I think the more you play, the better you're going to get. From that standpoint, maybe it is confidence. You play freer, you play looser. Football is a reaction game and you're able to react more often.

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