Coach Speak: Florida coach Ron Zook

Florida coach Ron Zook spoke with the media after Florida's 37-17 loss to Iowa on Thursday.


First of all, I'd like to congratulate Iowa. They did a great job. They were very well prepared; very well coached as we've said all week. I felt like we were prepared. I felt like we had great practices. But we didn't play like it. And that's my responsibility. We didn't do a good enough job of getting them ready to go. There were times when we showed spurts. We just couldn't sustain anything. We had the momentum there in the first quarter, and then we lost it in the second quarter. We never really regained it. We had a couple of things happen in the third quarter there where we went backwards. You've got to take and learn from this. It's been a learning process. We've had a lot of great things happen this year and some things not so great. We'll bounce back from this. I apologize to the Gator fans. It's my responsibility to get this football team ready to play, and we weren't ready to play today.

On what night did Ratliff miss curfew and what night was it?

Wednesday night was the night and how late it was is unimportant. It was Wednesday might of game week (which was Monday night).

What did they do to take (TE) Ben Troupe (who was held without a catch and such a nonfactor that the statisticians forgot to include him in the participation section of the boxscore)?

They took him out. And Ben has been kind of fighting the flu the last couple of days. That's not an excuse, but he has been. He was dragging a little bit. He didn't quite have the punch. A lot of times when we were trying to get the ball to him,we had a lot of things in the game plan to get the ball to him, they were double covering him.

Can you talk about the day that Fred Russell had?

Again, we knew coming in that he's a great back. He was second in the Big Ten (in rushing). He's a tough runner. We didn't get him on the ground. We were jumping gaps. Sometimes you get a little over zealous. He's such a quick guy you get out of your gap and come back, and he's able to hit the gap where you're supposed to be.

Was there anything in Iowa's game plan that surprised you?

No. They just did a great job with execution.

Are you surprised that Chris (Leak) struggled today?

I'm surprised that he didn't play a lot better.

What did they do to make that happen?

I don't know. I have to look at the tape. But you're right. He wasn't as effective as he usually is.

Was there a point where you thought it wasn't going to be your day ?

There were a lot of things. We get an offensive pass interference (call). We get a punt blocked for a touchdown. That was, once again, nothing new. It was a rush off of the outside. It was nothing different than what we worked on for the last month. We never could get things going the way that we needed to.

Did it seemed like Chris lost his composure at any time?

Chris had a tough day. The one thing that I told him at halftime, the one thing that he's done a great job with all year was when things weren't going right for him he was able to grab himself and get control of his emotions and so forth. And once again, you've got to give Iowa credit. They did a great job. And their coaches did a great job of having them ready to go.

Has does a lopsided loss affect you goes heading into the offseason?

As far as the other for losses, a play here or a play there and we could have won. This one, we got beat. That's the frustrating thing.

Now that you're at the end, was this a good year, a bad year, what do you think?

As I said in the beginning of the year, and I still believe this, we're a much improved football team over last year even though we didn't show it out there today. There's no question in my mind that we're on the right track. There's no question in my mind that we're going to get to where we need to be. Once again, a few things here, a few things there, and everything changes.

Did (punter) Eric Wilbur do what he was supposed to on the block?

No. He was trying to scoop it out of the back of the end zone. But once again, that's the first time that happened to him in a couple of years.

How was it decided that Ratliff would come in in the last minute of the first quarter?

In my mind, it was going to be the first quarter (that he would be sidelined). I think there was 22 seconds left. In my mind, the clock had stopped and it would be the one play.

Do you think it was a distraction?

We talked about it as a football team. I don't think it had a big effect. To a man, they came to me and wanted them to play. But once again, the responsibility to have this football team ready to play is on me. This was the one time this year that we didn't play the way we needed to play. I just told the coaching staff that we're going to go back an evaluate everything that we did. Did we practice too much? Did we practice too hard? Did we not practice enough? Should we have practiced harder? Obviously, you've got to give Iowa a lot of credit. That's a good football team and a very, very well-coached football team.

What did they do that worked on offense?

As much as we worked on the bootleg, I was surprised that they would have that much success on it. But once again, they did a nice job of executing.

Did the Iowa quarterback surprise you?

We thought coming in that he was an awfully, awfully good quarterback. He played right up to his ability.

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