Ask the quarterback

Each Friday former Gator All-American quarterback answers your questions about Florida football.

Last weekend during the LSU game I noticed our left guard tapping DJ Humphries before he got out of his stance and committed two illegal procedure penalties. I assumed the tap was an indication that the ball was supposed to be snapped. Is Humphries supposed to listen for the verbal snap count, or look down the line of scrimmage with his peripheral vision and hold his position until he sees the ball snapped or is there another way he is taught to stay onside and anticipate the snap count? Thank you for your thoughts — srezn1042

I see a lot of teams going to that system of the guard tapping the center based on the quarterback’s signal that he is ready for the snap.  When you’re in a hostile environment and can’t hear the snap count it can be difficult. You have to have a sense of timing though and realize that it’s usually a count before the ball is snapped after the guard taps the center. The left tackle is suppose to use his peripheral vision to confirm the snap at the same time keeping an eye on a speed rusher that sometimes lines up outside his shoulder.  That’s why we call them skill tackles now.

As a QB, were you ever in a situation where you felt the game plan and/or play calling did NOT suit the strengths of your offensive personnel? — keefer

Yes I played in systems where I thought our offensive scheme did not match our personnel or character.  In 1969 at Florida we led the nation is passing with Ray Graves as coach. He retired and Doug Dickey was hired. Dickey like the split back, veer option offense that is run first, pass as a last result.  Our personnel at that time was more suited to a passing attack.  Our offense suffered and the production went down, as well as the record. We were 9-1-1 as sophomores, 7-4 as juniors, 4-7 as seniors.

What would you do to get this offense going? You are preparing the Missouri. How do you attack and how do you use our current players to get things going and beat Missouri? — rockledgegator

I would use more play action on first down off the runs they prefer.  There are several play action passes that could easily be installed off the counter play they feature and the lead play.  Those are easy to execute and result in a high percentage of completions.  I would also like to see us throw deep more often.

I would also like to see more quick passes with the receivers running 3-5 yard routes whether they are hitches, slants or a combination thereof.  This will also offset a good pass rush and frustrate the defense.

What past Gator QB does Murphy remind you of and why? Or any other QB for that matter. — MrB-Gator

I don’t know that Tyler Murphy reminds me of any QB that has ever played at Florida.  I like his skill set though and glad we have him. He gives us a legitimate chance to win every  game.  He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and is well prepared and poised.  We need the guys to play better around him.

I’ll ask the obvious. As the QB, you are seeing your O-Line being dominated. What can a QB do to get them to gel? How can he help? — gator_nica

I would use the quick game in passing and some hard counts on the snap count.  Usually over the course of a game the rush tires and slows down somewhat.  You have to have a good blitz pick up plan and work on it in practice. Rollouts can help. I also like over trips formation where you have tight end on short field who handles pass protection responsibilty, a back that is responsible for protection off the weak side.  That gives you seven blockers but you still have three receivers to the wide side that you can you can us a variety of patterns to crease and burn the defense.  Remember: “You live by the blitz, you die by the blitz.”

Generally speaking, how long does it take (calendar time, practices, games, etc.) for an offense line to coalesce? You’re “OC” for the week. What do you do to address the offensive line issues the Gators have been experiencing? — BradDad

Practice usually consists of stretch, individual drills, group drills and then team drills.  During individual and group drills you can refine your O-line play vs. the run in “inside drill” and vs. the pass rush in “pass protection” drill.  You should also has a blitz pick up period.

Do you have any data that would suggest, one way or the other, whether Missouri will have any kind of passing game under their backup QB? — robbers

According to reports Maty Mauck was a phenom coming out of high school only down graded somewhat by his height. He’s about 6-0 reportedly.  I don’t think we should count on a drop off in performance at that position.  If there is that’s only a bonus.

Thanks for your questions and Go Gators!!!  Beat Missouri.

We’re 1-1 against Missouri. Coach Spurrier lost to Missouri in the 1965 Sugar Bowl loss, 20-18, when we were behind 20-0 into the 4th quarter and Coach Graves decided to go for two three times and all three failed. SOS brought us back though. We won last year so this is a rubber match and as important a game as we have had since Will Muschamp became our head coach.


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John Reaves
When he finished his University of Florida playing career in 1971, John Reaves was the most prolific passer in the history of college football. He threw for 7,581 yards in his UF career but he's best remembered for the 70-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Alvarez on the third play of his collegiate career against Houston in 1969. A first team All-American, Reaves played in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Bucs, plus three years in the USFL with the Tampa Bay Bandits. He was the quarterback coach at Florida from 1990-94. He's also the father-in-law of former USC coach Lane Kiffin.