Each week, former Gator football player and now sports talk radio host Brady Ackerman will answer your questions about the Florida Gators. Whether it’s this week’s game or the game just played, no question is too hot for Brady to handle.
Brady: What are your thoughts on UF’s 21-14 win over FSU?
The most significant stat of the game is the final score and the fact that the Gators have won three in a row over the Noles. Florida State is a rivalry game and you knew it would be a tough out. Meyer and his staff deserve a lot of credit for not only handling the Seminoles but coaching this team to an 11-1 record. That exceeded most preseason predictions and fan’s expectations so it should be applauded.
Brady: The offense only scored 21 points, where are the style points?
Only one team got to 30 on FSU all season and Wake Forest had two defensive touchdowns to get to that number. FSU did not give UF the short field like it did Boston College, Maryland and NC State. UF had four really good drives in the first half and almost 300 yards and ended up with only 14 points because of the kicking game. The run game went out the window once Percy Harvin got injured and Wynn got knocked out in the third quarter. The best thing about the offense is the fact that when they needed to get points they moved the ball behind the veteran quarterback Chris Leak and they won the game. Leak was very solid in this game and really should be the SEC Player of the Week.
Ack: The defense finally seems to be back to form without Marcus Thomas, don’t you think?
The defense was impressive and I really liked the push from Steven Harris on Saturday. The Gator ends were good as always but Harris played like the starting defensive tackle of 2005 and that is encouraging for this week’s game. I like games where Reggie Nelson makes an impact and that happens a lot when UF is shutting the run down. If teams are running on Florida (Auburn, South Carolina) Nelson can’t freelance as much and dominate like he did on Saturday. Also I thought Ryan Smith struggled and looked injured to me. He had a great interception but there were several plays where he did not look like his normal self.
Brady: What would you do about the kicking situation?
I would tell Dan Mullen that if we cross the opponent’s 40-yard line call plays like you have an extra down. I would make it four down territory and if the offense bogs down inside the ten or so then maybe kick a chip shot field goal. Chris Hetland is not going to make a 42-yard field goal so you might as well go for it but give Mullen the heads up so he can call a play on third down that gives you a chance on fourth down if he does not already get the first down. For example: third and 12 from the Arkansas 36, Mullen can call a shallow pass or even an option run. If you pick up seven he knows that he has a play ready for a more manageable distance on fourth down. Let Hetland kick the extra points.
Brady: Did your “plan to win” hold up this week?
Yes it did, thanks for asking. Florida out rushed the Noles and they did get much better quarterback play than FSU. The field position was probably lost because of the third quarter but if McCollum does not bring the interception out it is not as one sided in that corner. UF had five defensive three and outs in the first half and that was why UF controlled the game.
Brady: Do you have any coaching rumors to pass along?
This is a “fluid” situation. That is the buzz word up in Bristol this season. Miami may have trouble getting Greg Schiano because I am hearing Rutgers is going to give him a ten-year deal worth 22 million dollars. I have heard Alabama has had behind the scenes discussions with Houston Nutt. I am not sure he would leave and you could see names like Rich Rodriguez, Jim Leavitt, Tommy Bowden and Jim Grobe surface. Jimbo Fisher and Larry Fedora remain the top two for FSU’s offensive coordinator although Brad Scott’s name is getting some publicity because he has FSU ties and has been a head coach. I am hearing Arizona will fire it’s offensive staff. Bubba Spurrier used to be with Mike Stoops and maybe he would be interested in trying to hire him as offensive coordinator. Finally Jacksonville University is a school attracting some names of former Gator coaches and players. It would be a wise move for the Dolphins to go with someone fans could recognize in Jacksonville. There is a big Gator following in the city and they would certainly have an interest in a former coach or player’s success.
Brady: Any early thoughts on the match-up with Arkansas?
These two teams combined for six wins versus top 25 teams this year and 21 total wins. Florida must make Arkansas throw the football. There are two ways to do that: obviously, stop the run is first and that will be tough but the easier way is to play with a lead. If UF can score first and keep Arkansas at bay they can force them to get out of their comfort zone. The Gator offense will see a lot of man coverage this weekend. The last time UF saw that they rolled up 400 yards on South Carolina. Keep an eye on the battle in the trenches that will decide the outcome of this game.
Check out College Kickoff on Sun Sports Friday night at 7 p.m. and listen Monday through Friday to the Brady Ackerman Show on ESPN Radio AM900 Ocala and AM1230 Gainesville from 7-10 a.m.