FOOTBALL: Ask Ack - 10/20/04

In this week's edition, Brady Ackerman answers several questions with unique insight into the football program. Some of them are: How did you think Kyle Jackson did? What about Todd McCollough? His thoughts on Chad Jackson and DeShawn Wynn as well as why we didn't see much of C-4 last week. He also answers questions on blocking punts, the offensive line, and more!

Q: Brady, How do you think Kyle Jackson did and will he play more this week?

A: Jackson played very well and should be in the rotation more this week. Jackson seemed to be comfortable in the defense and played very aggressive. There was one advantage to having this game as opposed to having an open week and that was more reps for some different players and Jackson really maximized his opportunity.

Q: What do you think about McCollough? at middle linebacker and Crowder moving outside?

A: It is an interesting move but I think Crowder is going to stay inside. At the next level I think Channing is an outside backer and with him inside at the college level it helps avoid big plays in the run game.What I mean is his speed makes up for some mistakes and UF has not been gashed with any real long runs in the run defense. They also however have given up medium size yardage at times and maybe Crowder has made some mistakes. McCollough? is a very versatile and valuable commodity and is playing with a purpose.

Q: Will Chad Jackson and Deshawn Wynn continue to play more and is C-4 in the doghouse?

A: Jackson will surely play more and may be a starter in the near future. He, like Wynn, have to learn how to practice at the level that they want to play at. One thing that is different in the Zook era is the evaluation of practice and this staff puts alot of weight in how a guy prepares each week. With so much young talent you want to make sure each guy is getting a fair shot. I like the concept but Chad Jackson should play alot every week. As for Wynn he needs to stay in the game so to speak. I think he gets lost sometimes because of Fason's success. C-4 is a team player and is due for another breakout game. I do think C-4 needs 20 totes a game to get one of those big slashing runs that makes him special so I would like to see him get about six more carries per game.

Q: What did UF accomplish vs Middle Tennessee?

A: They came out and took care of business and added a win to the column. Obviously the Blue Raiders were over matched but it was good to see UF not have a real sloppy performance. With the Gators missing three cogs up the middle in McDonald?, Crowder, and Herring it was a strong effort against the run. OJ Small is the only guy that got injured and he hurt his shoulder diving for the ball. Gavin Dickey got some snaps and looked solid while many young players got their most playing time all season. It does not erase the LSU game only wins vs Georgia and FSU can do that but it was a good game for the team to go out and put up some numbers and play alot of players.

Q: What does Leak have to do to play that well against a quality opponent like Georgia or FSU?

A: To put up those numbers against top five defense Leak must have complete confidence in his offensive line. I also think the receiving corps will play better in the next big game against a good defense. Chad Jackson strikes fear into any secondary in the country and him and Caldwell need to be on the field at the same time. Leak needs to improve his pocket savy just a bit in big games. I think sometimes he wants to get out of the pocket (much like Shane Mathews in 1990 as a sophomore) when he gets confused by the coverage. If he will just use the gaps in the pocket to buy him and his targets some time he won't have to run for first downs or throw on the run. I don't think he is very accurate throwing on the run but the fact remains it takes time to develop the pocket awareness and he is real close as as sophomore to getting that. Notice his completion percentage against teams that really pressure him versus those who don't. It is his job to have confidence in his protection and deliver the ball to the open receiver. I cannot wait to see him against Georgia, South Carolina, and FSU all good defenses.

Q: Why don't we try to block more punts? It seems Zook was a special teams coach in the NFL and at Florida we would block more kicks?

A: This is really a good question and I think it is a product of the game right now. Teams are spending more time on special teams and they are better coached in college now than ten years ago. Yes some teams block kicks but if you look at the numbers they are down from 1994. To block punts now you have to catch a slow kicker or get a blown assignment. Teams are coaching kids to get the ball off in under two seconds and it is getting accomplished. Miss St. does a good job of getting the ball off and the punter has a deep kick point which makes it tough. If UF gets one this week it will come from up the middle of the bulldog protection.

Q: I think our offensive line has been really good this year.What do you think and why?

A: Continuity is the key and the Gators have started the same offensive line five of the six games. Jon Colon has surprised everyone with his durability. Lance Butler could be the most valuable and Degory is going to be All SEC. Mo Mitchell has really matured into a very good player and Randy Hand has increased his strength. This unit gets help from the versatile Anthony Guerrero and Steve Rissler and it seems to be a close group. Florida is much more physical than they have been since the mid to late 90's. This unit has given up just one sack in the last two weeks.

Q: How is the secondary play doing?

A: Look for the Gator corners to get a bit more aggressive this week in their zone coverage. Dee Webb is really starting to blossom and Rey Hill is improving. I think Holmes and freshman Kyle Jackson will play more and more the final five games. I think Cory Bailey may see less time because of the freshman. This unit has had interceptions in five straight games.

Q: Is UF doing a better job in the redzone and where are they ranked in the SEC?

A: Yes they are and even though the Gator offense is ranked seventh they are converting at 80% . Only Auburn has been in the red zone more (33) than Florida (31). The tigers have had one more game than the Gators as well. The UF offense leads the SEC in touchdowns in the redzone with 22. This team is real close to being very good on offense and they just need to maintain their confidence.

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