Notebook: Garcia working on shotgun snaps
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:19 p.m.
Now that the Gators have gone back to being a spread, shotgun team, the center snaps become critical again in the offense, something UF discovered in 2010 when new starting center Mike Pouncey had problems with shotgun snaps early in the season.
The new center this season is former guard Max Garcia, who has had some errant snaps in practice.
“The gun snap is difficult,” offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said Thursday. “We work on it before every practice and then they work on it I don't know how many times during a practice where it's happening live. It's huge.
“I mean, go back to the first play of the Super Bowl this year what happened on a gun snap. There was a miscommunication and the ball went by. So it's at every level. It doesn't matter what level you're at, you still try to focus on that as much as you possibly can.
“And it's a skill. There's a lot going on for that guy up front other than just snapping that football. So you just try to keep getting better at it.”
Roper said he’s comfortable with Garcia at center.
“You always want to get better,” he said. “I don't want the ball off-center or rolling on the ground. All that has to do with timing in the run game and exchanges and all that. But am I happy with the way Max is working and trying? Yeah. And do I think he can do it and be really good at it? I do.
“I think he's talented. I think he's got really fast hands, and that's not easy. So he's able to snap it and then get his hands up and fit his hands up in the run game. He's got those skills, and you just keep working the snap."
Gators going deep in 2014
Roper said Thursday that one primary objective of his offense is to use the entire field, and that includes stretching it with a deep threat at wide receiver, something he said the Gators will have this season.
“I think it's always important,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to threaten all fields, threaten all areas of the field.
"I think we've got some speed. We'll take some shots. You watch Q (Quinton Dunbar), he can run. Chris Thompson can run. I think Demarcus Robinson can run. All of those guys have some speed, and the guys on the inside in different ways can still get down the field. (Latroy) Pittman and (Valdez) Showers, those guys can run, and they can (stretch the field)."
Quality of life change
Former walk-on tailback Mark Herndon said his life has been much better since he was awarded a scholarship last August by UF coach Will Muschamp.
“It helped me a lot,” he said. “It helped me out a lot financially. A lot of that stress was taken off of me, so I just had to worry about school and football really. Just making good grades and not having to worry about where my next meal was coming from.”
Herndon said he’s excited about possibly getting some carries this season under new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
“He had four or five (Duke) running backs get carries and gain quite a few yards in the bowl game,” Herndon said. “He likes to spread it around.”
Get on board the train
The top two tailbacks so far this spring have been Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown. But Herndon said to keep an eye on redshirt freshman Adam Lane, who has turned some heads in practice with his physical, slashing running style.
“It’s the Lane train,” Herndon said. “Adam is a tank. I mean, he’s very explosive. He’s stout, obviously. He’s like 5-8, 220 pounds. He’s going to be, like, just a little wrecking ball. I would say like a catalyst, just throw him in the mix and make things a lot different for the defense.”
Herndon also said Taylor has improved after a successful true freshman season last fall.
“Kelvin, he grew up a lot, he’s a lot more mature football-wise,” Herndon said. “I would say he’s more explosive, he’s faster. He’s going to be really good this season.”
Leaders up front
Roper said some leaders have already emerged on the offensive line.
“We've got several guys doing that,” he said. “Chaz (Green) is a guy that, he's every day. He's really impressive to me, but the whole group, that first five, they're working. I think you've got guys with experience in Chaz and Max and Hump (D.J. Humphries), to a degree that they are taking to what (offensive line) coach (Mike) Summers is asking them to do, effort, intensity and physical play and all that. It's fun to watch.
“Trip Thurman is doing the same thing. He hasn't played as much, but he's out there working hard to be a good player. Then Tyler (Moore), same thing. So we've got a good group working.
“I think there's going to be a lot of leadership at that position for us, to be honest with you. We're going to need it. But there's a lot of stability and maturity in that group that we're going to count on.”