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Respect for Gator fans

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

David from Jacksonville:
You're wrong, Vic. I am a Jag season ticket holder and a long-time Gator fan. They call us Jagators. The reason we don't respond to your shots is because we are the highest of all your intelligent readers and completely understand and appreciate your wonderful humor.

Vic: I hope you don't mind that I corrected your spelling of intelligent. I just figured "Ask Vic's" Florida State fans wouldn't get it, you know?

Gamble from Jacksonville:
I'm a Jag fan and a Gator fan. I read the comments on Steve and Danny and the thought of an e-mail defending them never once crossed my mind. I think many Gator fans are willing to accept that you are right on those two. I know I do. They just weren't NFL material.

Vic: I was sure Gator fans would respond and they did. I was deluged with comments from Florida fans and the overwhelming majority of the e-mails I received echo your sentiments. I was stunned at that kind of objectivity and logic, and I'm impressed. I guess I underestimated the ability of Florida fans to separate thought from emotion. You guys showed me something. I have a new-found respect for Florida fans.

Rob from Richmond, VA:
Interesting comment on the Gators vs. Jags fan debate. When I was living in Jax and had my season tickets, our tailgate crew had a few Gators, but they quickly fell out, citing the decision between keeping their Gator tickets or Jag tickets.

Vic: I can understand and appreciate that decision. That's as I would expect. The Cowboys faced that situation in their early years.

Todd from Jacksonville:
You are always right on the money. The vast majority of Jaguars fans aren't Florida fans.

Vic: I wonder about that. That's something I'd really like to know. Are the preponderance of Jaguars fans also fans of college football, or are they just NFL fans? I'd love to see a survey result on that question. I'd love to see survey results on several questions about the pro football vs. college football debate.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
Reading the comment about Gator fans and Jag fans opposing one another made me remember a friend that said Jacksonville should have hired Spurrier by any means necessary. Even if we didn't win, we would have sold out for as long as Spurrier coached. Any truth in that?

Vic: Absolutely none. Right in the beginning, I shot down comments that the Jaguars should fire Tom Coughlin and hire Steve Spurrier because Spurrier would fill Alltel Stadium. There's absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Jimmy Johnson didn't do it in Miami, did he? Spurrier didn't even sell out Alltel Stadium when he came here with the Redskins in his rookie season as coach. I think Wayne Weaver deserves a lot of credit for resisting public opinion. It would've been a disaster to have hired Spurrier. They would've had to fire him and give him a big buy-out, and then he would've gone to South Carolina and made the Jaguars look like fools, as he has the Redskins. Weaver had this one pegged perfectly.

Edgar from Magnolia, TX:
Please explain the rule regarding what a defensive back can do to a wide receiver at or near the line of scrimmage?

Vic: A defensive back can put his hands on the wide receiver and jam or delay the receiver's progress, within five yards of the line of scrimmage. That five-yard rule exists only when the quarterback is in the pocket. If he's out of the pocket, he's a potential runner and the receiver is a potential blocker and the defensive back can jostle the receiver beyond the five-yard boundary. Once the ball is in the air, however, he's got to have hands off. The defensive back can't hold the receiver and can't push him in the back.

Bryan from Jacksonville:
As for the non-responding Florida fans, I believe you may have overlooked the obvious: They can't read.

Vic: I think we know who your favorite college team is. You probably like free shoes.

Mike from Saint Augustine, FL:
When will Ernest (Wilford) finally get some respect?

Vic: It's not about respect. He has the respect of his coaches and teammates. It's about overcoming the speed prejudice that exists and has existed forever in the NFL and probably at every other level of football, too. Keenan McCardell had to overcome the speed prejudice. Coaches are always going to favor guys who can run because they know the fear they create in defenses. Defensive backs aren't afraid of allowing catches because they know that's going to happen. What all defensive backs fear the most is getting beat deep. They have nightmares about it. Ernest doesn't have deep speed. That's why he was a fourth-round pick and that's why he's had to battle for playing time. If he continues to score touchdowns, however, he'll overcome that speed prejudice. He's going to have to be patient and persistent. He should probably talk to McCardell about it.

Andrew from Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
I just read that Leftwich owns motorcycles. Now we're all going to hear about how Garrard doesn't own any.

Vic: I have a confession to make. I like to bike-ride. I own a hot little number that I can get up to speeds of 14, 15 mph. I do not, however, wear a helmet, even though my wife once bumped her back wheel into my front wheel and caused me to fall and hit my head on the pavement. Coach Del Rio asked me to stop riding my bike until after I retire. I said no way. Then he said that if I have to ride my bike, please wear a helmet. The way I figure, if the state of Florida doesn't think I need to wear a helmet, then I probably don't, so I won't. This is America. We're free to make choices and I choose to feel the wind in my hair.

Zach from Boston, MA:
Great article on Wilford. I have to ask, is great speed really that necessary to being a great receiver?

Vic: No, it's not, but find me a slow receiver who doesn't wish he had great speed. Hines Ward isn't a burner but he's the Super Bowl MVP. The most feared receiver in the game, however, is a burner. Who would you rather have, Ward or Steve Smith?

Pamela from Jacksonville:
Do you know who I can contact to get Jaguars players some Tahitian NONI juice? It can do wonders for their injuries. This is what helped Terrell Owens get fit for the Super Bowl. Athletes all over the world are drinking it. I would love to help my team by giving them a gift basket.

Vic: If it's a good mixer, I'll take some.

Leo from New Orleans, LA:
How was your Father's Day?

Vic: It was a good Father's Day. My sons remembered to call and nobody complained that I spent the whole day watching the U.S. Open. I began the day up on the roof blowing out the gutters, and I knew it was going to be a good day when the ladder fell while I was on the roof and someone was home to put it back up for me. "Easy, Clark," she said. Usually, no one would be home and I'd have to stay up on the roof until help arrived. The Open wasn't real exciting, until the end. All along, I felt Geoff Ogilvy was going to win because he seemed to be the most consistent. He just wouldn't go away. I knew Monty would choke and I figured Mickelson would choke, too. The ability to function under pressure is the greatest of all athletic skills. It's how I measure an athlete. Can he do it at crunch time? Ogilvy did. He chipped in at 17 and fought to save par at 18, and that's why he won. He played his best at crunch time. That's the kind of player I admire, in all sports. The chokers will always break your heart. Just win, baby, win.

Kris from Escanaba, MI:
Not to be totally random, Vic, but what kind of music do you like?

Vic: I'm not a big music guy. My calm side likes Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett. Either Nat King Cole was born too early or I was born too late; I love his music. There are a couple of Ray Charles songs I love. Simon and Garfunkel is the choice from my youth. Springsteen brings out the rebel in me. I'm kind of all over the board.

Zakk from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Michigan State's football team?

Vic: I can hum their fight song. That's about all I know.

Joel from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Did you agree with the U.S. goal that was called back because the other U.S. player was interfering with the goalie? Also, did you think the red cards given to the U.S. were warranted?

Vic: I don't know. I only watched a couple of minutes. I tried; I really did. I turned the channel when I began picturing myself picking up the ball with my hands and running with it for the goal, then dropping the shoulder on the goalie and running him over. I just don't like the foot thing. I like hands.

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