Ack's Insights (8/19/2002)

Today's insights talks about Saturday's scrimmage starts, notes around the SEC and the state of Florida, and much more.

Running off at the keypad...

This week's Sporting News had the Florida linebackers as the number one unit in the country.  This is way too high especially without a dominant number one middle linebacker. They do have some quality 1-6 with Travis Harris, Todd McCollough and whoever is the backup in middle (Reid Fleming or Matt Farrior). The unit that should be ranked in the Top 10 is the defensive line. It looks at though they have eight quality guys that can play and several all-star candidates, including the best tackle in the country Ian Scott. The Football Writers Association has Florida at number eight in their preseason poll.

Around the SEC... Anyone who thinks South Carolina is going to win the East must think Head Coach Lou Holtz has some serious magic up his sleeve.  This past week, Holtz said as many as twelve signees could factor into the two deep this season... Tennessee is having trouble finding a reliable target opposite Kelly WashingtonMontrell Jones, the highly recruited player out of Kentucky, and Leonard Scott (who has been there since I was in college), have both been inconsistent.  The Vols have even tried tailback Derrick Tinsley at wideout.  What ever happened to All-SEC tight end Jason Witten?...  Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt continues to massage the delicate ego of Frosh Quarterback D.J. Shockley by allowing him 20% of the snaps in recent drills behind starter David Greene.  If I am Richt, I get Greene ready to go win in Columbia and worry about Shockley later. Terrance Edwards is having his best fall camp in his career. That should alleviate some pressure of dynamic sophomore Fred Gibson... Over in the West, Alabama loses tackle Dante Ellington to grades but the word in Tuscaloosa is that Ellington  was going to lose his job to Evan Mathis anyway. Remember boys, depth is a commodity on the offensive line... The heat on the Plains continues to get turned up with Brandon Cox leaving the team during camp.  He was Mr.Football in Alabama last year and maybe he sees the ship sinking?  No word on if he is going to transfer , but his girlfriend is enrolled at Alabama... Houston Nutt is catching a lot of grief for not suspending Ken Hamlin and Cedric Cobbs at least one game for their off the field problems.  I admire Nutt's compassion and that he wants to stand by his players but they do open with Boise St. and this could be a lot less of a PR nightmare if he sits these kids at least one game.  Apparently the word is Hamlin is a good kid with a problem and Cobbs is a bad kid with a problem...

Around the State...The once deep running back position at Miami is becoming a concern as the Canes head into the season.  Willis McGhaee will start but Jarrett Payton continues to have back spasms and Jason Geathers is now back there from the receiver position.  Kyle Cobia, there number one fullback, is injured as well.  If the Canes cannot run first they struggle.  Remember the Boston College game?... In Tallahassee they finally have put non contact jersey's on the receivers to keep them healthy.  The Noles play this week against Iowa Satet and should have no problems especially if they can contain Cyclone quarterback Seneca WallaceJeff Womble is suspended for the game at defensive tackle.  Jerrel Hudson is the team's defensive captain.

Snippets and Tidbits... As was the case in the spring, the Gator offense is at it's best in the up-tempo no huddle style.  It is very balanced with the run and pass and gives quarterback Rex Grossman more freedom to call plays.  One case for the defense though is the fact that it seems to go against the up-tempo offense late in practice and after they have had situational success.  The offense did not have a big play in the open field and lacked a down field passing game for the most part.  Taylor Jacobs is that threat but also this offense does not waste plays.  This is a more balanced, calculated offense that takes what the defense gives them. The offensive line did a nice job versus the blitz, although the defense did get there some.  The beauty of this defense is that Guss Scott blitzes three different times and he got a sack while Darrell Lee got one and Bobby McCray got a quarterback pressure.  This defense can cause many problems in the protection area for offenses.  Speaking of the defensive line, Bryan Savelio appeared to have his best scrimmage as a Gator and Tron Lafavor look as good as his opposite Ian Scott, since the middle of last year.  I have not been a big fan of Kelvin Kight so far, but this was his best scrimmage, and the one thing that impressed me was his ability to take the short catches and push the ball up the field.

Quick Observations...  I am not sold on the middle linebacker spot just yet.  Both Farrior and Fleming were solid but unspectacular.  David Jorgensen is becoming the safety valve at guard for the offense and will not beat out Mike DegoryMatt Jackson stepped up and showed he can help this rotation.  Ran Carthon may be better in the no huddle shotgun phase of this offense than Earnest GrahamRobert Cromartie continues to impress me with his fall camp.  Uf is loaded at safety where Larry Kendrick, Corey Bailey and Lester Norwood give the Gators the deepest unit in the country. Much has been made of the option in UF 's offense and the only times they ran it were in third down situations.  The tight ends continue to look good including frosh Brian Crum.  He needs to get better at run blocking.  Clint Mitchell has made Darrell Lee the player we thought he could be out of high school.  The kicking game is a concern for me right now.  Incosistency at both the punt team and field goals.  Those who shined Cromartie, Marcus Oquendo Johnson, Ian Scott, Darrell Lee, Ran Carthon, Kelvin Kight and one big play by Vernell Brown...


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