Alvarez remembers UF teammate Reaves

Carlos Alvarez, John Reeves
Former Gator Carlos Alvarez was quarterback John Reaves' top receiving target at Florida. Reaves died Tuesday. [file]

An emotional Carlos Alvarez remembered a lot about the late John Reaves on Wednesday. Mostly, there was that one last pass on Florida Field.
“I went to the huddle and told him I was so open deep,” Alvarez said. “The play came in and he just said, ‘Forget it. Go deep.’ We were playing Kentucky and the sun was just right and he hit me with a perfect long pass for a touchdown and I threw the ball in the stands.
“It was such a great way for me and him to end our careers at Florida Field.”
Reaves-to-Alvarez took the country by storm in 1969 when the sophomores hooked up on the third play of the opener against Houston and kept going throughout the season.
“It’s hard to talk about it,” Alvarez said of Reaves’ passing. “We were tied at the hip. I always joked with him that it should have been Alvarez from Reaves.
“The thing I will always remember about him is his great courage. He took so many hits as a drop-back passer at Florida and with the Eagles and he never complained. And he had his demons off the field that followed him. I don’t think his courage is quite appreciated.”
The combo set all kinds of records and Reaves went on to set what was then the all-time total yardage record in his senior season. Alvarez was battling knee problems by then but he did catch the last pass Reaves threw in college in a game at Miami that set the record.
“I know there is a part of me that is missing,” Alvarez said.