Ask the quarterback

Each Friday, former Gator All-American quarterback John Reaves answers your questions about the Gators and football.

1. If you were in charge of hiring an OC for the Gators, who would be your top three? — frankf

This is a no brainer for me: (1)  David Reaves, WR coach at USF.  OC, QB and Play calling experience, excellent recruiter. Former recruiting coordinator under Steve Spurrier at S Carolina; (2) John Reaves, out of retirement.  Former OC, QB and play calling experience.  Excellent recruiter; 3.  Lane Kiffin, former head coach Oakland Raiders, Tennessee, Southern Cal. OC at Southern Cal.  Excellent recruiter.

2. How would you fix our offense, defense & special teams? What strategy would you use to beat South Carolina and FSU with the team we have now? — juggernautz

It’s hard to fix an offense, defense and special teams in one week, but if we could cut down on missed assignments, penalties and play calling gaffs, we could stand a chance against South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Free Shoes U.

3. Do you keep in contact with any of our previous coaches (Spurrier, Meyer, Zook)? — juggernautz

I talk to Coach Spurrier occasionally.  The last time I spoke with him was in August before the season started.  He remains a friend and I’m a big fan of his.  He gave me a chance to quarterback the Bandits and then hired me as an assistant at Florida.  Great times.  He hired my son David as an assistant coach at South Carolina.  I didn’t know Coach Meyer that well although we had several contacts and pleasurable moments.  He tried hard to get former players involved.  I haven’t talked to Coach Zook lately although I think he’ll be back in coaching next year. He did a good job at Illinois.

4. Why do we see so little coaching up of our quarterbacks on the sidelines during games? — g8orbill

The QB coach, Brent Pease, is in the box so you don’t see him coaching the quarterbacks on the sideline. When the quarterback gets on the headset, I assume he’s talking to Pease. I preferred to be on the sideline when I coached because you can see better and get a better feel for the game and play calling. Also, you can sit down with your quarterback between series and coach him up. I wish they allowed colleges to look at pictures between series like the pros do. That’s a big help.

5. What is your assessment of the backup quarterbacks? — MrB-Gator

I haven’t seen our backup quarterbacks in action.  I learned this week that Skyler Morningweg (backup quarterback) is the son of the New York Jets offensive coordinator. I hope he’s taller than his dad.

6. Do you think we would be better if we scrapped passing altogether and put Trey Burton at QB and ran the Triple option or Wishbone offense? — rstonegator

That might be an option.  To use more of Trey Burton in the read option although he can’t pass very well. You just can’t abandon the pass altogether.

7. Would you be interested in the offensive coordinator position? — bmfgator

It would be fun to get back into coaching again. Real estate has rebounded this year and I’m having a good year but I still love the game and feel like I could add a positive influence to a team and a university.  I still have all my playbooks and tapes.

 8. Are you for or against a head coach change? — Shade45

I see where Jeremy Foley said he is behind Will “1000%”.  I’m sure Jeremy is on top of his game and knows what is best for our university.  We have 10 starters out.  It’s frustrating but one more year to evaluate may be in the offing. I hope they sign some quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers that are playmakers.

9. Do you think we have a chance against Georgia Southern? — wrl344

Georgia Southern is a good program. My son David played quarterback and was captain at Appalachian State and they played every year, so I saw them a lot.  It will probably be a close game.  Remember we lucked out Louisiana Lafayatte last year.

10. How do you think today’s defenses have affected QB’s and offensive coordinator’s decision-making in terms of play calls and check-offs? — robbers

Defenses have incorporated the Zone Blitz scheme over the past 10-15 years or so. Other than that they’re still the same.  Most teams use a base front with change ups and three basic coverages.  There are tendencies to study and prepare for, the defense by field position and vs. personnel groups. Too many times teams over-analyze and should just stick to what they’re good at.  Make the defense stop you. Come up with plays that are good vs. all defenses.

11. How would you improve our O-line today? — SurfGator

Our O-line has been in flux all year with personnel changes, switching positions and of course, injuries.  Most great teams have the same five starting every week. I like our center Jon Harrison.  The rest leave a lot of room for improvement. Rich McGeorge and Jimmy Ray Stephens were excellent O-line coaches when I coached at Florida.  It’s one of the most important coaches to have on the staff.

12. Realistically speaking, can we be a 9-3/10-2 team by next year? gator_nica

We have lost so much confidence it may be difficult to rebound to 9-3/10-2 next year, plus our competition is better. We need to change our culture again, like when Coach Spurrier came to Florida after they had been going 6-5 and 7-4 every year, losing to Auburn, Georgia and Free Shoes.

13. Do you think Kerwin Bell would be a good fit at offensive coordinator for us? If you think he would be a good fit, what immediate improvements would you expect to see? —juggernautz and CharlestonGator

I forgot about Kerwin Bell. Yes, I think he would be a good fit as OC/QB coach at Florida.  He was a GA when I was there and showed talent at an early age.  He has done well as a high school coach and at Jacksonville University.  And, of course, we know he loves the Gators.

Thanks for your questions and Go Gators!!!

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.