If Saturday’s 55-14 throttling of Vanderbilt was any indication, the pro-style quarterback is dead at Florida.
While John Brantley will remain Florida’s quarterback while he’s in Gainesville — as he should — the recruitment of non duel-threat quarterbacks must be scrapped from Florida’s recruiting handbook. With the personnel Florida has and the obvious desire to fully run the spread, pro-style quarterbacks should become extinct as long as Urban Meyer is in charge.
The rotation of Brantley and Trey Burton proved to be too much for Georgia’s defense two weeks ago, but the insertion of Jordan Reed made Florida’s offense finally look unstoppable. Yes, it was Vanderbilt and some might argue that he looked so good because he was going against Vandy’s scrubs. However, Reed is probably Florida’s toughest runner and is equipped with a cannon for a right arm.
“He’s a freak athlete,” Meyer told reporters Saturday. “I think we did it right with how we’re pushing him into this offense. Obviously, he’s a dynamic runner and he has a nice arm, but we don’t have that big runner, and he gives us that.”
Against Vandy, Reed threw for 120 yards and a touchdown and added a game-high 84 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He’s no Tim Tebow or Cam Newton, but Reed will make a huge difference in the offense.
Will this cause Florida’s coaches to completely abandon the pro-style route? No, but it doesn’t really make sense to.
While Brantley has the tools to thrive outside of the spread, he’s struggled throughout the 2010 season. His passing efficiency is at 122, good enough for 10th in the SEC. He’s throwing for just 179.6 yards per game and has only eight touchdowns.
Though Burton hasn’t thrown much, he’s sparked the offense by rushing for 278 yards and 10 touchdowns. And then you have Reed, who could be the biggest threat if he calms down in the pocket.
What Tebow did won’t be replicated, but it was the simple fact that forced defenses to prepare for both the run and pass when he was lined up that really made Florida’s spread offense go.
Florida signed Burton and Tyler Murphy in 2010, both known for their running skills more than passing, and took another step in the right direction this year by getting a verbal commitment from Oviedo Hagerty’s Jeff Driskel. Through nine games, Driskel has thrown for around 1,500 yards and has rushed for almost 1,000 yards. It doesn’t get much more dual-threat than that.
Driskel has a very strong arm and runs with both power and agility. Even though Rivals.com lists him as a pro-style quarterback, he most certainly is not that and will fit in perfectly with Florida’s offense.
Florida’s coaches extended three offers to three traditional, pro-style quarterbacks in the 2011 class and outside of Driskel, the coaches offered five dual-threats.
As far as the 2012 class is concerned, Florida has already shown a great deal of interest in Hueytown, Ala., dual-threat Jameis Winston, and the more pro-style Zeke Pike, from Ft. Mitchell, Kent., Dixie Heights. With Meyer saying weeks ago that he was happy with is quarterback situation — present and future — it’s unclear how the coaches will approach 2012 in this area, especially with the emergence of Reed.
Non-spread quarterbacks should still get some interest, but Saturday made it very clear that the pro-style quarterback under Meyer should become extinct once Brantley graduates.