Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Zook Not Mulling Future; Florida Coach Thinking about South Carolina; His Bowl Status -- If UF Qualifies -- Undetermined

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Zook Not Mulling Future; Florida Coach Thinking about South Carolina; His Bowl Status -- If UF Qualifies -- Undetermined

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, The Times-Union

GAINESVILLE -- Several NFL teams have called Ron Zook in recent weeks about future coaching opportunities, but Zook said he's not thinking about that right now.

Zook's focus and drive have been well-documented during his tenure as Florida's football coach. In fact, his ability to concentrate on coaching his team and block everything else out has produced several funny stories.

Such as the fact that he didn't know his home address for several months.

Or that it took several weeks before he noticed the piano his wife had bought for their home.

But that single-mindedness is what is carrying Zook through his final weeks as the Gators' coach.

He's not even thinking about the details of the inevitable -- the process of leaving, following his Oct. 25 firing.

"I'm concerned about this game," Zook said this week as the Gators (5-4, 3-4 SEC) continued preparations for Saturday's homecoming game against South Carolina (6-3, 4-3). "I'm going to put all my energy, thought and concentration into doing whatever I can do to help our team win. Any time I think about stuff that gets me off track, them I'm not doing my responsibility."

And there is a ton of stuff to think about:

-- Where will he coach next year, if at all?

-- Will he coach the bowl game if the Gators qualify?

-- When must his office be cleaned out?

-- When does he turn in his courtesy car and cell phone?

-- When does he get his $1.8 million buyout?

Zook said he has no idea about any of it.

"When they tell me I've got to [turn in everything], that's what I'll do," he said. "The only thing that I've really thought about [is the staff]. It's important to me that the staff's OK. The players are going to be OK. They're resilient, and they'll be fine. It's important to me that [the staff] is OK."

That's one thing Zook apparently doesn't need to worry about. Athletic director Jeremy Foley said the assistants were informed last week that they will be able to keep their courtesy cars and cell phones through January, and they will be paid and receive insurance coverage through June, though their contracts expire at the end of January. …

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