Ack's Insights

This week's edition finds the Gator season at a crossroads and what can be done to get it back on track. There will be no grades this time, only insights on what can be done to right the Florida ship.

Running off the keypad...

Florida was handed it's worst home loss since 1979 on Saturday night by LSU 36-7.  One year after Rex Grossman riddled the LSU defense for 400 yards, he managed less than 200 and four interceptions. Are we back in the 80's when LSU was good and UF was chasing a bowl bid?  Ron Zook's first season has seen it all and he still has five games left, including Georgia and FSU. I n the preseason, Zook mentioned his team would take on water but must battle through it.  Well, the ship has taken as much as it can hold and still be afloat. This week, we find out if they will grab buckets and disperse it or will everyone jump overboard and look to next season.


I do not believe this is a week to even qualify each unit with grades. So let's see what can be done or not to make things right.

Quarterback:  First, Grossman needs to get under center.  UF can still run it's offense from the spread no huddle with him in tight.  He will do a better job of reading coverage's as well as looking off safeties. The shotgun was reluctantly put in by Steve Spurrier to help with protection, but this team does not have receivers who can get open without some deception. Grossman looks like he is playing street ball when he is in the shotgun. Also bag the rollout unless they are going to mix up the routes it. Every time Grossman rolls out they run the same routes.  Maybe versus Auburn they can run it yet throw it back to the tight end on the opposite side. Finally, someone has to grab Grossman's pulse and make sure he believes what he is saying and keep him upbeat. My choice would be Larry Fedora, who was the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State.  He has not been asked to coach Grossman up. Fedora is on the field during the game and could take more of a Quarterback coach mentality if allowed.


Running Game:   If Grossman is under center I think it will help the running game. Also, you can still run most of your "spread" run plays - trap,draw,zone and toss.  Also using both tight ends with one as a "h"back would be a nice wrinkle (I am not trying to reinvent the playbook, but they did use this in the UAB game on one of Earnest Graham's touchdowns).  It is tough running because the offensive line is average, but I do think the Gators need to run and throw to the backs underneath early. I am not a big fan of Graham in the shotgun spread,  Ran Carthon is a better fit.


Offensive Line:   Tough to make them tough, so decide if you are going to play some other guys. First, regardless of how long Shannon Snell is out, leave Mike Degory at center and let him develop.  Florida's best offensive lineman this season albeit no Outland Award winner was moved to guard for LSU.  Bad move.  That is a bad decision and an act of desperation.  Look for the Gators to test the JUCO route for offensive lineman, maybe as soon as December. The line gets confused easily by twists and blitzes because they play so many positions.


Receivers and Tight Ends:   More motions. This unit, including Taylor Jacobs and Carlos Perez, need to be in motion to help with releases. We saw it for three games Ohio - Tennessee and then it vanished for number six.  There is not creativity in the passing game, and when things don't work they keep trying the same things. Sometimes it looks as if there is no play calling to set up future plays.   In defense of Coach Zaunbreacher, he has inherited talent that does not fit his system.  But, do you run your system into the ground in defeat or do you make adjustments and amend the system? Only time will tell.


Defense:  In general, the motto for John Thompson's crew should be....do not get discouraged.  The linebackers played poorly in allowing Matt Mauck, who cannot throw, run around for yardage. The toughest challenge for the defensive coaches is two fold. First, to remain positive and keep the team upbeat after a subpar performance.  Secondly, not allow the defense to get upset with the offense for putting them in bad positions and not scoring (see UF's late season meltdown in 1999).  The defense does need to create more turnovers and has only one game changer (Keiwan Ratliff against Kentucky).  Ratliff has gotten burned though, and maybe Thompson will blitz secondary guys more to create some defensive points. Guss Scott is Floirda's best blitzer and he has not blitzed that much this season. As for Saturday night it was an off night for stalwarts, Bam Hardman, Clint Mitchell and Scott. The guys played hard, but were on the field too much.


Snippets and Tidbits..
Obviously UF is out of the AP Poll and somehow in the Coach's Poll at #24. But throw out history.  This is a new regime that will do it their way. With games left against Georgia and Florida State this team could still end up on New Year's Day. The ESPN shot of fans leaving early in the third won't get Orlando or Tampa and even Atlanta excited about the once coveted Gator faithful.  CollegeFootballNews.com each week project the bowls and has the Gators headed to Shreveport on Dec. 27 to face Texas Tech.  Florida was out hit, out executed and out coached by LSU on Saturday. I think to reestablish the Swamp, Zook will need to get his team more physical and that may not happen until he supplants some positions with his recruits. The one area I think UF bit the bullet on this year was the receiver position.  Zook could have thrown Kenneth Tookes, Florida was handed\r\nit's worst home loss since 1979 on Saturday night by LSU 36-7.  One year\r\nafter Rex Grossman riddled the LSU defense for 400 yards, he managed less than\r\n200 and four interceptions. Are we back in the 80's when LSU was good and UF was\r\nchasing a bowl bid?  Ron Zook's first season has seen it all and he still\r\nhas five games left, including Georgia and FSU. I n the preseason, Zook\r\nmentioned his team would take on water but must battle through it.  Well,\r\nthe ship has taken as much as it can hold and still be afloat. This week, we\r\nfind out if they will grab buckets and disperse it or will everyone jump\r\noverboard and look to next season.
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\r\nI do not believe this is a week to even qualify each unit with grades. So let's\r\nsee what can be done or not to make things right.

\r\n

Quarterback: \r\nFirst, Grossman needs to get under\r\ncenter.  UF can still run it's offense from the spread no huddle with him\r\nin tight.  He will do a better job of reading coverage's as well as looking\r\noff safeties. The shotgun was reluctantly put in by Steve Spurrier to help with\r\nprotection, but this team does not have receivers who can get open without some\r\ndeception. Grossman looks like he is playing street ball when he is in the\r\nshotgun. Also bag the rollout unless they are going to mix up the routes it.\r\nEvery time Grossman rolls out they run the same routes.  Maybe versus\r\nAuburn they can run it yet throw it back to the tight end on the opposite side.\r\nFinally, someone has to grab Grossman's pulse and make sure he believes what he\r\nis saying and keep him upbeat. My choice would be Larry Fedora, who was the\r\noffensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State.  He has not been asked to\r\ncoach Grossman up. Fedora is on the field during the game and could take more of\r\na Quarterback coach mentality if allowed.

\r\n


\r\nRunning Game:   If Grossman is under center I think it will help the\r\nrunning game. Also, you can still run most of your \"spread\" run plays\r\n- trap,draw,zone and toss.  Also using both tight ends with one as a \"h\"back\r\nwould be a nice wrinkle (I am not trying to reinvent the playbook, but they did\r\nuse this in the UAB game on one of Earnest Graham's touchdowns).  It is\r\ntough running because the offensive line is average, but I do think the Gators\r\nneed to run and throw to the backs underneath early. I am not a big fan of\r\nGraham in the shotgun spread,  Ran Carthon is a better fit.

\r\n


\r\nOffensive Line:   Tough to make them tough, so decide if you are\r\ngoing to play some other guys. First, regardless of how long Shannon Snell is\r\nout, leave Mike Degory at center and let him develop.  Florida's best\r\noffensive lineman this season albeit no Outland Award winner was moved to guard\r\nfor LSU.  Bad move.  That is a bad decision and an act of desperation. \r\nLook for the Gators to test the JUCO route for offensive lineman, maybe as soon\r\nas December. The line gets confused easily by twists and blitzes because they\r\nplay so many positions.

\r\n


\r\nReceivers and Tight Ends:   More motions. This unit, including\r\nTaylor Jacobs and Carlos Perez, need to be in motion to help with releases. We\r\nsaw it for three games Ohio - Tennessee and then it vanished for number six. \r\nThere is not creativity in the passing game, and when things don't work they\r\nkeep trying the same things. Sometimes it looks as if there is no play calling\r\nto set up future plays.   In defense of Coach Zaunbreacher, he has\r\ninherited talent that does not fit his system.  But, do you run your system\r\ninto the ground in defeat or do you make adjustments and amend the system? Only\r\ntime will tell.

\r\n


\r\nDefense:  In general, the motto for John Thompson's crew should\r\nbe....do not get discouraged.  The linebackers played poorly in allowing\r\nMatt Mauck, who cannot throw, run around for yardage. The toughest challenge for\r\nthe defensive coaches is two fold. First, to remain positive and keep the team\r\nupbeat after a subpar performance.  Secondly, not allow the defense to get\r\nupset with the offense for putting them in bad positions and not scoring (see\r\nUF's late season meltdown in 1999).  The defense does need to create more\r\nturnovers and has only one game changer (Keiwan Ratliff against Kentucky). \r\nRatliff has gotten burned though, and maybe Thompson will blitz secondary guys\r\nmore to create some defensive points. Guss Scott is Floirda's best blitzer and\r\nhe has not blitzed that much this season. As for Saturday night it was an off\r\nnight for stalwarts, Bam Hardman, Clint Mitchell and Scott. The guys played\r\nhard, but were on the field too much.
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\r\nSnippets and Tidbits..
\r\nObviously UF is out of the AP Poll and somehow in the Coach's Poll at #24. But\r\nthrow out history.  This is a new regime that will do it their way. With\r\ngames left against Georgia and Florida State this team could still end up on New\r\nYear's Day. The ESPN shot of fans leaving early in the third won't get Orlando\r\nor Tampa and even Atlanta excited about the once coveted Gator faithful. \r\nCollegeFootballNews.com each week project the bowls and has the Gators headed to\r\nShreveport on Dec. 27 to face Texas Tech.  Florida was out hit, out\r\nexecuted and out coached by LSU on Saturday. I think to reestablish the Swamp,\r\nZook will need to get his team more physical and that may not happen until he\r\nsupplants some positions with his recruits. The one area I think UF bit the\r\nbullet on this year was the receiver position.  Zook could have thrown\r\nKenneth Tookes,