The Monday Morning Quarterback

When Coach Steve Spurrier moved me from tight ends coach to offensive backs coach at Florida, the first team running back was Errict Rhett.  Somebody asked how was I going to coach Errict.  My response was, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

I tried not to and Erricht went onto lead the SEC in rushing and catch 55 passes that year while leading us to another SEC championship.  That was 1993.

Remember the game he had vs. Georgia when he rushed 41 times in the rain for 183 yards.  He spent the entire game trash talking every chance he got. He was fun to coach and made me look like a good coach.

Unfortunately the Gators are “broke” right now and they do need fixing. Certainly having healthy players will help that. It’s too bad so many of these guys went down with season-ending injuries but hopefully they come back bigger, stronger and hungrier to succeed next year.

I imagine there will be changes in the coaching staff.  That can happen when you have a good year and maybe one of your coordinators gets a head job somewhere, but when you have an ineffective coordinator, someone has to take the fall. Of course, that’s true for any position that is under-performing but especially coordinators. They get paid the big bucks to make things right so when things aren’t right, they get the lion’s share of the blame.

I read Coach Will Muschamp said that the fans “need to get a grip” and quit blaming players. I don’t believe the vast majority of fans are upset with the players.  They are playing hard but the team has lost five in a row and there are lots of frustrated fans. It’s been a long, long time since the Gators have lost five in a row. You probably have to go back to the year we didn’t win a game.

I know the fans are frustrated with five losses in a row and I’m sure Will is too. It showed when he said that the media will write “whatever the hell they want.” That’s pure frustration speaking. Will needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and get a grip on the things he has to do to turn things around and don’t worry so much about what the media has to say. He’s got to understand that he really can’t complain if the media is writing the truth. If the negative stuff is all opinion and can’t be backed up by facts, then he’s got a right to complain.

Saturday’s game plan was as conservative as it gets. We got out to a 14-3 lead running the ball and we stuck with that plan. We only threw two passes in the first half and wouldn’t have thrown 12 in the second half except we got behind there at the end and had to start throwing.

Kelvin Taylor showed that he’s going to be really good. I thought he had some very nice runs, especially the two on the direct snap from center out of wildcat formation.  That caught the Gamecocks roosting. They weren’t ready for that wrinkle.

Skyler Mornhinweg did a decent job for his first start as a redshirt freshman. We finally found out who the third team quarterback is! A redshirt freshman is actually a sophomore in school, which means Skyler has been around for almost two years. That’s a lot of practice time. He was 10-13 for 110 yards or so before the ill-advised throw on the last possession. We actually had a chance to win with a TD in the two-minute drill.

I figured we were good for 17 points, just about our average, but we had a rather puzzling series from the South Carolina nine and that ended up with a missed 32-yard field goal. I have no idea what has happened to our kicker’s confidence but when you’re missing from 32 yards as badly as he did, something is really wrong with his self-confidence.  We also had a shot to put points on the board after the South Carolina punter shanked a punt and we took over at midfield, but we went three and out.

When you struggle on offense there is not much room for error. When you struggle in an offense in which there isn’t any room for error, it complicates things in a big way.

Well gang, this is a big one this week vs. Georgia Southern. Who would have dreamed back when the season started that the Gators would need to win this one to stop the ship from sinking? Given the injuries and the new quarterback, we can probably expect a close game, but we should be able to come away with a win. My hope is that we play with consistency instead of this up and down pattern we have shown lately. One week we play hard and the next week we have very little life. We played hard every play against LSU, but then we had a bad game against Missouri. We had a hard tough game against Georgia then it seemed we let off the gas against Vanderbilt. Saturday night we were playing hard against South Carolina. I hope history doesn’t repeat itself against Georgia Southern. We don’t need to continue this emotional roller coaster.

Then we have the Seminoles at home. A win over them would make our season and salvage some Gator pride. I know it sounds impossible but we could knock them off if we play hard, eliminate penalties, improve our field goal kicking and play calling in the green zone.

It’s very humbling to see them 10-0 and #2 in the nation.  I liked it a lot better when it was the opposite.  Crow doesn’t taste too good.

Until we meet again but until then “It’s great to be a Florida Gator!!!”

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.