Friday, November 10, 2006


In preparation for this week's game against the Head Ball Coach's old team, C&F did an interview with the guys over at Orange and Blue Hue. (Though, in fairness, we have to admit it was their idea. To see C&F's responses to their questions, go here. Feel free to agree, disagree or mock mercilessly.)

Their answers are good stuff, containing the same blend of humor and information that Orange & Blue Hue displays on their blog. One of the many things that's good about them, in addition the fact that they also have an "and" in their name.

The interview:

C&F: I've been a Chris Leak fan after since the 48-14 bloodletting a couple years ago. Why do you think Leak never seems to be able to cross over that line from "could be great" to "is great"? Does he have any NFL potential -- at QB or anywhere else?

Orange & Blue Hue: Leak. Love the kid. Great guy, good ambassador for the University of Florida. He's got everything you want in a student-athlete and field general: character, integrity, honesty, accountability. But he's far from perfect. I think most Gator fans categorize him as a "very good quarterback" by Florida's standards but he has not and likely never will be regarded as a great one. His biggest weakness is his inability to see the field, which is a problem stemming from two issues.
The first is obvious. He's too short and can't see over the offensive line. (This is why you never see those short one or three-step drop patterns with inside slant routes being run by the WRs to counter the blitz.) The other is that he just doesn't have good prototypical quarterback vision. He has a tendency to lock on to one receiver and can only shift his focus if he's given lots of time. He's also never been good at "feeling" pressure in the pocket. He has a tendency to either hold on to the ball far too long or dump it much too quickly when he sees a blitzing defender attacking him.
I think Leak has great potential in football... as a graduate assistant. That may sound harsh considering all that he's done for Florida football, but it's the truth. I don't see him being drafted. He may get a short-leash free-agency shot by some franchise with a wild hair to try him, but he probably wouldn't make that cut. He has expressed an interest in coaching and I'll be the first to cheer if and when he shows up on the sidelines.

C&F: How big a deal is the loss of Marcus Thomas? How does it affect the defense?

Orange & Blue Hue: It's obviously an unwanted loss but I think the Gators will be okay. It will change the shape of the defense. Expect the Coordinators to rely on more blitzes, stunts and different formations to try and compensate for his presence. The people who could feel it the most are the linebackers who now may have Linemen getting in their face. Which is why I believe they are blitzing the LBs more to fill the holes before they develop.

C&F: Is the Leak/Tebow combination really working? How has Leak handled being taken out, sometimes in critical situations, for the hot young QB of the future?

Orange & Blue Hue: As far as the rotation of the quarterbacks, Meyer at the beginning of the year might of been baiting some of the opponents to focus on each of our QB tendencies. Tim Tebow has been solid mainly as a runner with the occasional pass or a surprise basketball toss for a TD. I'm sure Leak doesn't enjoy sitting on the bench, but seeing as he rotated time with Ingle Martin when he was a Freshman, he can't really complain.

C&F: Name a Florida player that the average Gamecock fan may not know to pay attention to.

Orange & Blue Hue: Well, Ryan Smith, CB doesn't get a ton of media attention (aside from all the talk about his quasilegal transfer). That's probably because he's not very good, but he does have one saving grace. He may find himself out of position all the time, receivers may consistantly get yardage on him, but if the QB underthrows the ball, or Nelson destroys the receiver, Smith is there to drop the ball. The guy has an SEC lead with six picks (I believe), and I swear he's dropped at least that many. On offense, a lot of attention is given to the Percy Harvins, Dallas Bakers, and Andre Caldwells by our opponents. No big surprise -- they're our marquee players and make spectacular plays. But one of the unsung heroes of the Gator offense is Billy Latsko, who is as reliable and dependable a player as you'll ever find in college football. He's a great blocker, has good on-field vision, and pretty good hands, too. He's not afraid to take a lick or steamroll a smaller defensive back. He's also been on the spot when the "FIRE!" call goes out -- quick to recover fumbles and do whatever else may be required of him at the moment.

C&F: Take any shaded glasses off for a minute and give an honest answer to this question: Does Florida, based on the way it has played, deserve to play for the national championship if they run the table and win the SEC championship, even if Louisville goes undefeated?

Orange & Blue Hue: Yes, and I can say that without reservation. Getting out of the SEC with one loss, and beating our out of conference rival, Florida State, in Tallahassee, is an accomplishment deserving of a #2 BCS ranking and a berth in the National Championship game. No question. Based on the way the question is worded, I'm guessing that the Gators' suspect offense is being called out. They've been far from pretty at times, but our team as a whole is getting the job done and at the end of the day I feel confident the pollsters will agree if UF wins out.

C&F: And, of course, your prediction of the score.

Orange & Blue Hue: Scary game. I hope UF can just blow it open early, but if we've learned one thing about this team: they don't blow games open. Quarters maybe, but not entire games. UF 24, USC 17


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