Ask the quarterback

1.  How much input does a QB have on the play calling during the course of a game? Does the QB constantly talk to the OC (or play caller) to offer his point of view of what he is seeing? — gator_nica

It depends on the system and the experience and knowledge of the quarterback. A young QB won’t have as much input into play calling or audibles at the line of scrimmage because of his lack of experience.  As he gains in knowledge and experience he may have the liberty of exchanging ideas with the play caller. Some systems have a “check with me” at the line of scrimmage where a QB can get to the line of scrimmage and determine by the defensive front or the coverage what is the best play to get into.

This takes preparation and diligence on the whole offense.  If it’s loud hand signals may be necessary for the QB to signal to the wide receivers what the play is.

2.  As objectively as you can, address how good Carlos Alvarez was as a sophomore. My perception of him was/is in the rarified air of “GOAT”! A Biletnikoff with speed! But, I was in the 6th grade and didn’t really get a chance to see you guys play much – I could only catch most of the games on the radio back then. You had a much closer view! — regurgigator

Carlos Alvarez was a brilliant receiver.  He still holds records at Florida.  He was also a brilliant student.  He was about 5-11 with long arms and big hands.  He had great speed and quickness.  Great hands. Ran perfect routes. Cut on a dime.  He also had tremendous work ethic.  In the summer before our sophomore year he would run the entire route tree on each side and the slot position routes full speed.  If it wasn’t perfect we would repeat it.  Therefore we developed a combination that was recognized as the best in college football that year.  He caught 88 passes in 10 games for 15 TD’s and 1300+ yards while maintaining a 3.8 GPA in political science. He made consensus All-American and has since been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  What a joy to have as a teammate.

3. John, do you believe that the mental agility it takes to be a really special QB is learn-able in any way or to any degree? Or rather is it just something you’re simply born with or not?

I think players have different degrees of learning ability.  Some pick it up right away and you only have to tell them once.  Others your have to go over and over again and again until they get it.  The best teachers I ever had were the ones that taught you so well you knew the answers going into the test.  They didn’t try to hide the answers.  Likewise, as a coach and coordinator, I wanted my all the players to know exactly what to do on each play and what we were trying to accomplish.  As a result we had some great offenses.

4.  Why is it so difficult for out QB’s to go thru their progressions-and why are they often late with their throws? do we not teach how to throw on time?

It appears that several things have added up to this problem.  Foremost, Tyler Murphy hurt his shoulder significantly in the LSU game and it rendered him about 50% in the Mizzou game and slowed down his progress of development. I read that he was only able to throw on Wednesday before the Georgia game.  I mentioned earlier that he needed work on crossing patterns and the corner route.  He continues to overthrow or be late with those throws.

I like the triangle offense passing game.  Where you have a primary target, second complementary choice and an outlet in case they aren’t open, all with the same line of fire and either to the right side, middle or left.  That keeps it simple and is very effective.

5.  John, what are your true thoughts on Pease’s in game play calling? Do you agree with the majority of it? If so, why? If not, why? — Keefer

I’m sorry to say I’m not a big fan of Pease’s play calling.  I think it’s too predictable and conservative.  Some of the plays he or someone comes up with are a mystery to me.  Such as that option out of shotgun we ran on third and goal vs. Georgia from the 10 for no gain, which was complicated by that 15-yard penalty.  We then missed a 40-yard field.  That seems like a first down call to me.  On third down I would throw it in the end zone.  If we don’t score then we have a short field goal.

6. The Gators threw their first deep ball in what seemed like weeks against Georgia last week. How important is it to throw the ball deep downfield at least a couple times a game? If the safeties think you will throw the ball deep, do they back off and does that open the underneath routes and the running game? — Art Seefartsy

It was great to see the deep ball against Georgia and it clicked for 83 yards down to the 10.  I think Quinton Dunbar was so shocked he tripped somewhat which may have prohibited him from scoring.  We tried to throw deep I think three more times on 1st down but Georgia was bump and running the short field receiver with a safety over the top, limiting you to converting your route to allow percentage fade, which we missed three times.  Versus those coverages I prefer to hit Z, the wide receiver outside the tight end (Y) to the wide field on posts, go routes or corners because you can occupy the strong safety with the tight end and the strong side linebacker or nickel back with a back on a flat or a flare rendering the wide field cornerback 1 on 1 on your flanker, which is our best wide receiver  Solomon “General” Patton. Also that cornerback usually plays off and only a special corner can play man to man from an off position.

Thanks for your questions and Go Gators, Beat Vandy!!!

John Reaves QB7

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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.