Ask the quarterback

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

1. Have you had a chance to review our two young quarterbacks plus the one that we have committed. If so, whats your review of these quarterbacks? What do you look for when recruiting quarterbacks? — rockledgegator

No I haven’t.  I’m sorry to say I don’t even know their names.  But one thing I know we deserve to have the best. I look for a lot of things in a QB: size, speed, character, leadership, track record, championships, faith, grades, etc.  How does he get along with the other players? Is he humble?  Does he possess an inner strength that can overcome great obstacles? Does he never give up?  Does he have a fire that motivates and inspires the team?  Can he do it all? If you can’t trust your quarterback, then who can you trust?

2. In YOUR opinion, is there any excuse for our offense to be ranked in the 100’s for three years running? — keefer

There is no excuse for our offense to be ranked so low.  I think we have the players.  I don’t particularly like our scheme and play calling.  One of the problems is that we have is too many excuses.

3. John, did you have a route that was your favorite to throw to? Why? — robbers

I liked all the routes because you had to use them depending on the coverage.  I was good at throwing the long ball.  I could throw it 85 yards in the day.  Over time I worked at becoming adept at hitting all routes: short, medium, long … the easiest are the hitches, hooks and screens.

4. How are we going to beat UGa? — gator_nica

We can beat Georgia with an inspired effort.  We have to put heat on their quarterback. We have to stop the run and get some turnovers on defense. Special teams have to contribute. Offensively we have to be aggressive and put some points on the board. Mix it up. Play loose. What do we have to lose?  Hold penalties to a minimum. Be more efficient in the Green zone.

5. What did you learn from SOS about offense? — MrB-Gator

I played and coached with some great offensive coaches.  My high school coach, Holland Aplin, was superb.  Coach Ray Graves and Coach Fred Pancoast at Florida were also terrific. I played under Bill Walsh, who was my quarterback coach with the Cincinnati Bengals and we led the NFL in offense. Jerry Burns with the Minnesota Vikings was another fine offensive coach, but none of them were better than Stephen Orr Spurrier. He revolutionized football starting with the Bandits. From opening games in the no huddle offense to utilization of three and four-wide and eventually no back sets; stretching the field vertically and horizontally. We used motion, formations and aggressive play calling.  What a joy to play for him with the Bandits and coach under him at UF.

6. What is the problem with our lack of offensive output? Coaching? Talent? Injuries? Transfer? — separator

All of the things you have mentioned have added up to make our offense putrid.  It’s time to take our game to another Level.  Isn’t our team stocked with four and five-star recruits?  It is past time to get it going.

7. How do we score enough points to beat UGa? I think we need 24. Do we continue to play very conservative or can/should we “open it up?” — taxman22

We probably need at least 24 to beat Georgia.  We beat them my junior year, 24-21, how about that?!!!

8. Would you allow Joker Phillips to take over the offense in the middle of the season? — TheGator

No, but I would change the scheme and play calling; use the no huddle offense, mix it up, use motion, formations and both the vertical and horizontal passing game. We have to use our playmakers. I wouldn’t mind seeing the ball go to Solomon Patton 15 times and to Trey Burton-10. I would like to see the running backs carry the ball 25 times and to see Tyler Murphy on the read option five times. We have to get the ball to the other wide receivers and maybe to a tight end?

9. What is our run blocking philosophy (man or zone)? In your opinion, is one or the other a “better” fit for college players? Few of us – I’m included – really know much “pass pro theory” … are there different “schemes” that teams use? Which one(s) are better fits for college players? How does having a kid like Percy Harvin at WR affect a defense in the run game, i.e., in what ways does a defense’s concern about covering a Harvin compromise its run defense (when someone other than Harvin runs the ball)?

Please keep in mind that, generally speaking, we’re not as knowledgeable as we pretend to be – – – use short words, assume we know nothing and explain everything in your answer, please. — BradDad

Our run blocking scheme has been the weak side counter play where the line blocks down to the inside gap and you pull a guard to the weak side to kick out Will or the DE; strong side power, which is the same thing to the strong side; and the lead play where the fullback leads and the TB picks a hole. Pass pro is man and should be our big guys block their big guys and our smaller guys (tight ends and backs block their smaller guys LB”S and DB’s.)

When you have a great player like Percy Harvin it makes a huge difference. Look how bad the Vikings are without him this year.

Let’s go Gators, beat Georgia.  We can begin to salvage our season.

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.