Ack's Insights - 12/30/02

In this week's edition, I discuss the way the football team has been practicing in preparation for the bowl game, Charlie Strong and what he is up to right now, the status of Clint Mitchell and Rex Grossman on going pro early, some Michigan Football notes, some Florida Football notes and more.

Florida is winding up it's preparation for Michigan in Tampa by conducting it's best workout yet yesterday. Ron Zook was very pleased with the team's attention to detail and the enthusiasm his team has shown. Michigan will provide a physical challenge and the Gators prepared by having a physical contact-to-the-whistle workout. Rex Grossman appeared very sharp and showed that he seems to be very healthy and much more mobile than the final game in Tallahassee.

Junior College players Billy Griffin, Tavares Washington and Anthony Guerrero are in Tampa and are either working out with the team or have joined the team. David Kenner is currently not in Tampa but will be down there before the game on Wednesday. Eric Holcombe is having a baby and will join the team in Gainesville after the New Year.

Charlie Strong, the defensive coordinator to be, is expected to be in Tampa on today to watch practice and begin to meet and greet the returning players. Strong will provide the same personality that players will gravitate to, much like John Thompson's. Charlie is a great recruiter, motivator and will add some wrinkles of his own, especially in the run blitz scheme, to the Gator defense.

Snippets and Tidbits......

Clint Mitchell is entertaining thoughts of going into the NFL draft. As recommended by the University, any player can petition the right to see what their value is for the upcoming draft...Rex Grossman will make his announcement on January 5th or 6th. Right now I believe he is going to stay in school for another year. The fact of the matter is he can make a lot more money by coming back than going in. Regardless of what he does, he is the best passer I have seen at Florida.

Michigan has been all business since they arrived in Tampa on December 21st. The Wolverines are tied for 11th all time in bowl victories with 17. Lloyd Carr is 4-3 in bowl games...Michigan's skill players on offense are big and physical. Askew and Perry at running back are both 233 and 220, respectively. The smallest receiver is Ronald Bellamy at 6'0" 202 pounds and he had a career high 44 catches this season...The Wolverines rank 2nd all-time in winning percentage (.746). They have won 822 total games...The Wolverine streak of 28 straight bowl games is the second longest streak in NCAA History. Finally, the Wolverines have a 17-16 bowl record and have won 4 of their last 5.

As for the Gators, Earnest Graham will start and look to get the run game going but expect a significant role for Ran Carthon as well. You could see both in the backfield at the same time in several situations...The biggest factor in the game offensively will be the play of the line especially the right guard position where Mo Mitchell and David Jorgensen will share time...And as of Sunday, Ingle Martin was still the first string punter.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the final coaching spot on UF's staff will be either Graduate Assistant James Speer, Jacksonville Ed White coach Dan Disch or former Gator and Tennessee-Martin coach Sammy McCorkle. Speer is currently working with Red Anderson on the defensive line.

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