Going into his third season as the head coach of the University of Florida, Ron Zook has had two 8 and 5 seasons. With the expectations higher than most universities, he knows how important this third season is as head coach of this football team. In the last two years, he has brought in many recruits to improve this football team. Ron Zook talks about the upcoming season with the Florida Gators.
Chris Yandek: First off how are you?
Ron Zook: “Doing great. Doing good.”
CY: Your thoughts on this upcoming season overall and are Georgia, LSU, and FSU the toughest opponents as always?
RZ: “Well, I think you gotta throw Tennessee in there too. I think the Southeastern Conference is a very competitive conference. It’s a conference where you better be ready to play every single game. Obviously Florida State being one of the non conference games that’s a big rivalry and a big game.”
CY: Going into the 2004-2005 college football season as the coach of Florida, Steve Spurrier never won at FSU. This will be your second visit on FSU. Your thoughts on that game is it always seems to be a tough game.
RZ: “Well, that’s a long way away. There is a lot of football to be played for that. There is no reason to even think about that game until you get to that point.”
CY: What are your thoughts on the recruiting this year, the improvements as you go along, and what positions do you think you improved on from last year?
RZ: “Well, I think we are a much improved football team. Overall I think we have improved our athleticism and football team, but once again we are a football team that has continued to improve since we’ve gotten there. I think the young guys we have on that football team, once again a lot of them will be going into their second year, and a lot of them in their third year. Last year 64 percent of our offense was handled by freshman or sophomores. It’s a good feeling with your offensive side of the football.”
CY: A lot of people think University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak is going to be a Heisman Trophy candidate. Do you think he will just go out and do his job like this past year and not pay attention to the hype?
RZ: “There is no question that is the kind of person Chris Leak is. He is a very humble young man who understands he has to work hard to continue to improve. I think Chris Leak will improve.”
CY: Looking at the SEC overall, you came up short these last few years. Last year the BCS ranking and tie break in the
SEC East, and the year before that one more loss for Georgia and you’re in the SEC Championship game. What do you do to take that extra step and get back to Atlanta?
RZ: “Well, I think the one thing we have done is that we are a better football team than we were the year before. It’s very important this coming year we are a better football team than last year. I think all signs point to that and I really believe we will be.”
CY: Looking at the SEC Schedule, besides LSU, Georgia, and Tennessee, are you worried about any other teams, and do you think there is an SEC team that will surprise this year?
RZ: “Well, I think every football coach worries about every football game. The first time you look over somebody that’s when they step up and smack you. You play one game at a time and you be the best team you can be in that game.”
CY: Is this the 10 win season University of Florida football fans are looking for? These last two years you had two Outback Bowl appearances. Many people have expectations on you this year. What are your expectations overall for you this year?
RZ: “Well, I think the thing we need to do as a football team is to improve. Once again we are a better football team this year than last year. It’s very important we are a better football this year than last year. Of course we will be.”
CY: Has former Florida football coach Steve Spurrier given you any advice during these past two college football off seasons and the expectations overall he left for you?
RZ: “Well, we talked a little bit prior to my first season. We talk plenty, but not a lot about those kinds of things.”
CY: Has the special teams improved from last college football season?
RZ: “They have improved. Every phase with the exception of the kickoff coverage and it’s important we get the kickoff coverage back to where it was our first year.”
CY: Finally, if you were going to give an expectation for this year what would it be?
RZ: “We are gonna improve.”