ASK ACK: Ackerman on UCF and Tennessee

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.

Hey Brady, I know it’s only two weeks but could Percy Harvin be the reason the offense looks more potent?

He definitely is a difference maker and it does not take an expert to see the impact he can have for an offense. But I really think the reason the offense is looking so much better so far is Chris Leak. He is very sharp through two weeks, completing 63 percent of his passes and throwing for seven touchdowns. His pocket presence has been very solid and he has moved around several times to complete passes for big plays. The second year with the same coordinator has not only benefited Leak but also the Gator receivers. Jemalle Cornelius is finally playing “fast” and I think UF is a nightmare matchup for teams in the passing game.

Ack, Is the defense that good (3.5 ppg) or was it just not good competition the first two games?

The defense is that good when Marcus Thomas is on the field in the middle of the defensive line. It is no secret why UF got its first two sacks of the season against a solid offensive line on Saturday night. Thomas could be a first team All-American by the end of the season. I still think UF can play better with regards to overall pressure but they made life very uncomfortable for UCF quarterback Steven Moffett. Depth is still an issue in the back seven and this week would be a nice coming out party in 2006 for Jarvis Moss who has given great effort but just hasn’t gotten the results on the stat sheet just yet.

Ack, What did the Gators get out of the first two games?

Confidence. You cannot win on the road if you don’t expect to win on the road and that comes from confidence. This team needed to see strong results early in year two under Meyer. The 20 seniors are contributing and the players have bought into the system. If the Gators are going to shake the road woes under Meyer they need to be a confident bunch going to Knox-Vegas and I think they are.

Brady, After two weeks of college football do you still think the Gators have the toughest schedule in the country?

Well right now Dan Hawkins might think he has the toughest at Colorado considering his team is 0-2. But we will see if Southern Miss and UCF are bowl teams. I kinda of think both will make the post-season. Alabama and South Carolina are not as good as we thought three weeks ago and Tennessee is better than what I thought three weeks ago. UF would beat Georgia and FSU if they played them this weekend while the two best teams on the Gator schedule are playing this week in LSU and Auburn. I have watched both LSU games and they have been the most impressive team in two weeks. That should be a great match up. To answer your question, yes because beginning this week UF will play five ranked teams in six games.

Ack, Give us an early key for UF this weekend vs. Tennessee?

Field Position. The Gators have six touchdown drives of 70+ yards already but that’s tough to do in the SEC. If you can win the field position battle in big games you can help your offense and your defense.

Brady, What do the Gators need to fix to be ready for this week’s big game and the SEC schedule?

First is turnovers, UF had four last week which was tied for the most under Urban Meyer (Mississippi State last year). Tebow had a couple of tough ones and I know the game was in hand on the last three but you don’t want to get in the habit of playing sloppy. The extra point team needs to get fixed or it could cost the Gators a game.

Brady, What will Cutcliffe bring to the table against Florida this week for Tennessee’s offense?

Cutcliffe will get Erik Ainge to take some shots on fade routes against the Gator press coverage. But mostly he will throw the ball with the quick game against UF. They will still try to run the football but he has shown the first two weeks that he will spread it out and look to throw quickly. He has give Ainge and the offense some confidence that they did not have in 2005.

Please email questions to after the game by Sunday night. Check out my prediction later in the week with Ack’s Insights. You can catch me on Tailgate Overtime Monday Night on Sun Sports at 7p.m.