Ask the quarterback

Each week former Gator All-American quarterback John Reaves answers your questions about football and in particular, the Florida Gators.

1. Why does Florida use virtually no pre-snap motion? Is this a cause of any of our problems on offense in that it leads to predictability of the play that will be run? — ajoseph 

Florida was using motion earlier in the year and I think it helps.  It lets you know whether the defense is playing man or zone coverage and it oftentimes confuses the defense.  Lately the only motion I have seen is on the jet sweep to Solomon Patton.

2. Muschamp said the following regarding the O-Line and offense: ¨Will simplify things so they can play faster. Care to explain? Could you give us a few examples of how this can be done? Thanks! — gator_nica 

As the losses have mounted and the mistakes continued they have simplified the offense.  Coaches tend to get conservative when things aren’t going well. Simplifying the offense hasn’t worked so I’m for opening it up.  I would like to see a no huddle offense.  That really puts the defense in the bind with substitution problems.

3. From what you’ve observed, what are the issues with our OL? — gatormagic

Our O-Line has struggled.  It seems like we have a different group in there every week.  We lost Chaz Green, an outstanding tackle, before the season started and we haven’t replaced his consistency. We need to gain consistency here and maintain our blocks.  Pass protection has been a problem as has blitz pickup largely due to bad technique.

4. In your last article were you actually suggesting UF hire Lane Kiffen as the OC or were you just kidding around with us? — SurfinG8or 

I was just kidding about hiring my son-in-law, Lane Kiffin, as an offensive consultant although we do need to change up the scheme and play calling in my opinion.

5. You played and coached against UGA for a lot of years. You are the offensive coordinator. With their injuries, what do you do to defeat the Dogs at a time when we need a big win? — rockledgegator

To beat Georgia you have to put pressure on Aaron Murray. I would devise a scheme of pass rushes with stunts and blitzes to put pressure on him.  With our cornerbacks we can bump and run with their receivers.  They say they will have Todd Gurley back so that could be a problem.

6. What is your opinion of the TE situation? Why don’t we see more TE play from our offense? 

I would like to see more action out of our tight ends including using Trey Burton as a wing or slot tight end on various pass routes and maybe the shovel pass that Hernandez used to score on.  Also Tevin Westbrook looks like a formidable talent and I would like to see him more involved.  As they say, the tight end can be the quarterback’s best friend.

7. What could possibly explain an offensive tackle not attempting to block a DE that’s standing almost right in front of him on a pass play? (on the plays I’m thinking of, the OT has instead double-teamed a DT while the DE has rushed straight in unblocked). It’s not a constant problem, but it has happened enough times this season to make me wonder: “What the hell?” Is it possible the OT saw something to make him think the DE was going to drop back into coverage? Is it possible the OT thought it was someone else’s assignment? Is it possible the OT didn’t realize it was a pass play and thought we were running away from the DE? I don’t think it’s possible that the OT didn’t see the DE. I can understand getting beat on a play. And, I can understand confusion on who is supposed to block other rushers (i.e., DTs or blitzers from inside or outside, or even stunts). But, I can’t quite get my head around a OT not attempting to block a DE on a pass play. Am I missing something? — regurgigator 

It is hard to understand why an offensive tackle would block down when a defensive end is standing in front of him or just to his outside shoulder. Obviously they are confused and have had way too many missed assignments. Understanding fronts is paramount here and is a matter of teaching and film study.  There is no excuse in my opinion for false starts.  When the defense brings extra rushers we used to say our big guys block their big guys and our tight ends and running backs block the linebackers and defensive backs.

8. How do you feel about the execution of our Oline? (Oh wait! That was for John McKay). Do you have any eligibility left? Have you ever considered guest coaching, you know at someplace like a downward spiraling flagship school in a sunny state somewhere? If you were HC and were hiring a new staff at Florida, who would be your first calls for OC and Oline coach? ( serious question … I am not asking you to comment on if our’s should stay or go. I am just curious who you feel are the 2 best around). — Gatorace 

Our O-line play has been miserable I’m sorry to say.  If I were the athletic director I would look at a coach with a proven track record of winning as a head coach already. The guy I like right now is the Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, although he’s just a first year guy and coaching his alma mater. I doubt he would leave after one year, but his team is undefeated and one of the best in the nation in total offense. I like an offensive minded head coach personally being a QB.

9. When you have a QB that throws very well rolling out, what are the disadvantages of that style vs staying in the pocket? Murphy seems to play better when he’s on the move but we seldom call plays that are designed for that skill. Usually when he’s on the move he’s running for his life instead of by design. — Gat0r

Tyler Murphy was injured fairly severely in the LSU game and it showed in the Mizzou game. I read he hasn’t practiced during the off week. We need to protect him.  I like to use a combination of “pocket movers” to keep the defense off balance and drop back passes.  A triangle offense with a target short underneath, intermediate area 10-15 and with a flare or check down by the back as #3, all within view of each other with peripheral vision.

Go Gators!  Come on Gators, get up and Go!!!!

Thanks for your questions.

John Reaves


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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.