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: Did you think we suffered a letdown against Kentucky or were they that good?
Kentucky is an improved team that has identified its best chance to win (special teams/throwing the football) and should be competitive in the SEC. They did a good job of keeping UF’s offense off the field in the first half. Florida was a bit flat however and not efficient on offense. Don’t get me wrong, UF put up huge numbers statistically but they did not get the point production they were looking for. Part of the problem was field position— the Gator offense had three touchdown drives that covered 75,78,79 yards and in the SEC that is pretty good. Defensively it took the Gators a half to figure out how to get pressure on Andre Woodson. Give the coaches credit at halftime for any adjustments made but personally, I think it was an attitude adjustment more than anything. In answering your question, yes I think UF was a bit out of focus this week.
Ack: The Gators still look sloppy with special teams and penalties and that could cost us against the big boys coming up. Can Meyer get that fixed or is it a problem for the season?
UF has three things it has to get fixed: turnover margin, field goal unit and penalties. First the turnover margin is not where it needs to be and even though I count four meaningless turnovers (when the game was well in hand in two wins) the offense does not need to develop an epidemic. Defensively, they just need to turn the team over. They had a chance on one fumble and a couple of pass break ups but overall, I will bet you with the quick passes UF has seen it there have been less opportunities. Florida must also fix the field goal team because it could begin to shake Chris Hetland’s confidence. You wish he could have gotten more attempts going into the next four games but he is going to have to stay confident. Finally the penalties are too many and none that can’t be corrected with focused play against high level competition.
Brady: Do you think we should play both quarterbacks every game?
Yes, because you get great flexibility in the offense when you have two guys who are very good at two totally different things. I think Tim Tebow is a weapon just like Percy Harvin, Dallas Baker Baker or Jemalle Cornelius so why not script him in the game? The other night when the crowd booed Leak coming on the field, was I the only one who thought they were booing the exit of Tebow and not the entrance of Leak? I don’t think there is a controversy or fans want Leak out, I think they just enjoy Tebow and wanted to see him finish the drive. Chris Leak is playing very well and even though it was not his best game his 5-5 performance at the end of the half for a score was a perfectly executed two minute drill.
Brady: What were your overall thoughts on our performance against Kentucky?
A win is a win and an SEC win is an SEC win. I actually think this game is better for UF’s “psyche” than last year’s 49-28 throttling. Florida will not be overconfident or full of themselves when the Tide roll in this week. I will say this, the offensive line continues to impress in run blocking with a terrific performance the other night. The young guys gave up a couple sacks with communication breakdowns on twists but that unit may be the MVP of the team through four games.
Brady: Alabama is coming off a loss is that good for us or bad?
Well I think it’s good for Florida that the Gators are playing at home where Urban Meyer has never experienced defeat. But I actually think it’s bad because they outplayed Arkansas in the Hogs’ ballpark and should have won. Special teams cost them the game but they look much better on offense since I saw them week one vs. Hawaii. John Parker Wilson is going to be a good quarterback and they have good skilled personnel in Kenneth Darby, D.J. Hall and Keith Brown. Alabama is playing for their SEC lives this week and I expect them to play very well.
Brady: What does UF need to do to get revenge this week against Alabama?
First thing is get the word revenge out of the language at practice. Sometimes teams get so caught up with payback they forget this is a new season with a new set of circumstances. Auburn vs. Florida in 1994 comes to mind when UF was a 16 point favorite and talked all week about payback then went out and lost to Terry Bowden and the Tigers. UF must realize this is a good, solid football team that should be undefeated. The Tennessee game week preparation is exactly how this week must go for UF to get an SEC win at home. You can’t win all four (Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia) if you don’t win the first one.
Brady: Anything new on Marcus Thomas?
No, it is an indefinite suspension in which there is not timetable to announce a length of the penalty. The fact that Brandon Antwine got some work the other night does make my “sooner than later” prediction very strong right now.
Check out College Kickoff this weekend on Sun Sports at 7 p.m. Friday. Go to http://www.sunsportstv.com for more information. Also you can catch my radio show on ESPN Radio Gainesville and Ocala Monday-Friday 7-10 a.m. (http://www.floridasporstalk.com).