Notebook: Getting 3 QBs practice reps a challenge

Published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 12:03 a.m.

Florida’s three-quarterback system may look fun, but it’s tough to manage during practice.

Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said the minutes are precious each day to get John Brantley, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed involved in the quarterback rotation. As the starter, Brantley takes the majority of the snaps, but things are tricky for Burton and Reed.

Burton spends time at quarterback, tight end, fullback and wide receiver. Reed lines up at quarterback and tight end.

“You’re moving a lot of checkers around,” Addazio said. “That takes a lot of time. You have to be exact in your practice time.”

To make sure neither Reed nor Burton gets cold throwing the ball, Addazio said each will work on throwing and running some option before practice. All three will spend time throwing during special teams drills as well.

“You want to maximize every second because they’re precious,” Addazio said. “There are only so many reps in the course of a practice.”

While the three-quarterback rotation appears as something new for UF, Addazio said the team has had it in place since the spring. There were flashes of it during the spring game, but after Reed missed 24 of 26 practices during training camp, the coaches scrapped it until he was healthy.

Now, Florida is challenged with trying to split up each quarterback’s plays during games and making sure defenses don’t predict what Florida will do.

Typically, opposing defenses use zone and blitz packages more when Brantley lines up because of the threat of the pass. Sending extra pressure has helped to disrupt his passing this season. For Burton, defenses load the box to stuff the quarterback draw or guard against the option. Things get a little more interesting for Reed, who poses the best threat of either run or pass after rushing for 84 yards and touchdown and passing for 120 yards and another score against Vanderbilt.

Addazio said the offense is doing all it can in its formations and movements to help camouflage what each player will do behind center.

During his 16 years of coaching at the college level, Addazio said he’s never been anywhere that’s run a three-quarterback system like Florida’s. He’s not sure if it would work anywhere else, but what helps the Gators is the lack of egos in the backfield.

“For us, it’s working right now,” he said. “It’s working because we’ve got some unselfish guys that are all for the team and winning. That’s very evident.”

Early senior day

Florida’s one-game playoff scenario with No. 22 South Carolina (6-3, 4-3 SEC) Saturday will mark one of the most important games for the Gators’ senior class.

A win means a third consecutive trip to the SEC Championship Game and a shot at a BCS bowl. A loss sends No. 24 Florida (6-3, 4-3 SEC) back into the throngs of mediocrity and this senior class out in a less-than-stellar way.

“This is a make-it-or-break-it game for us,” senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders said. “As seniors, we don’t want to not make it to the SEC Championship Game. It’ll hurt knowing that we had it right there in the grasp of our fingertips, and we’ll let it go if we don’t come out and do what we need to do.”

Sanders said the seniors, captains and coach Urban Meyer have all stressed the significance of this week to the underclassmen. This becomes another Senior Day for Florida’s older players.

“This is an important week for us,” Sanders said.

Very superstitious

Named a captain this year, Mike Pouncey went out for Florida’s first coin toss. What ensued was the infamous “Snapgate.”

Thinking that his routine change led to poor snaps, Pouncey took himself off coin team and returned to tunnel duty.

“I told coach Meyer, ‘Don’t ever pick me to go out for the coin toss (again).’ He said, ‘You got it,’” Pouncey said.

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