No more pro-style QBs for Gators

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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.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Ed, Whats the problem with Dominque Easley? I saw in the Sun that they left him in Gville when the team went to Vandy. Doews the guy have an attitude issue (thinks he’s better than he really is) or what. I see Sharif & Powell & lots of freshmen playing ball, & I know he played some vs GA, but what’s with this guy?

  2. Ed
    I usually agree with you and like what you say. Brantley should be benched. He stinks for many reasons other than his style;
    His passes have been very inaccurate, he misses long passes by 6 to 8 feet..not even close. The receiver has to break stride or leap high in the air to catch his passes therefore gaining very little after the catch.
    He has thrown many interceptions and many other interdceptions have been fortunately dropped by our opponents. Last but not least he holds the ball too long and has very limited speed or mobility resulting
    in sacks. Last week Brantley was sacked 4 times..other QBs zero

  3. Then why did they reincarnate the problem with pocket-passer Chris Leak by taking on the same thing in Brantley? This looks more like a local talent wanted to go to UF whether he fit the system or not and to keep the peace with boosters, Meyer and staff had to take him.

  4. One name discredits this whole argument, “Vanderbilt”. Before you go having a funeral for the pro style QB and crown Reed as the second coming of Christ remember who we played and remember what their record is. The problem with sports today is media pundits like yourself have these incredibly stupid knee jerk reactions…

  5. I disagree Mike. I think they have tried the “Leak Style” that they experimented with in 2005. Unfortunately, Brantley is not Leak. Leak was a Senior in 2005 and had started all 4 years. Brantley is a good passer but he hasn’t developed that feel for the game that allowed Leak to come in and out without losing momentum. Brantley hasn’t learned how to move in the pocket to avoid the sack and he loses his touch when he’s out for a series or two. In my opinion, that’s one reason UF has struggled early in games. It takes Brantley a while to warm up and get going.
    Having said that, I agree with Ed. Under Meyer, UF needs a dual threat QB to be consistently successful. A 2 or 3 QB system is not good for the long run, unless your team that runs a pro-style offense (ie. Bama). The good news is we have 1 or 2 Dual Threat QBs on the team now and I hope Driskel will deliver in the future.

  6. Prostyle being the primary word, that really needs to be changed, redefined or said what they really are, a pocket passer or stationary QB, or no category and then just call dual threat a dual threat. Was Vince Young prostyle at Texas, no. Mcnair, Vick, Mcnabb, etc…Do they do ok in the ‘Pros’, yes. Tebow defintely got drafted by the ‘Pros’.

  7. You could argue that almost all the Vandy players are “scrubs”, but Brantley didn’t move the ball well against them, Reed threw the best pass of the year against their first team. Then in the second half, most of Vandy’s starters on D stayed in, and Reed continued to move us against them with the UF backups all in there with him. All starters and major players were on the bench by the second half, plenty of drops, etc., and Reed kept moving us pretty well anyway. So I am encouraged by our prospects with Reed, and not annointing him “the second coming”(Ed didn’t, either, as I read it).

  8. Done: Sorry, but after watching and covering the games this season my honest opinion is that the traditional pocket passer experiment doesn’t work in Florida’s spread. I also DON’T think Brantley should be benched at all and Reed shouldn’t start. I just don’t see how it makes sense to ever recruit another quarterback that isn’t fit for the spread.

  9. November 8th, 2010 3:22 pm
    Done: Sorry, but after watching and covering the games this season my honest opinion is that the traditional pocket passer experiment doesn’t work in Florida’s spread. I also DON’T think Brantley should be benched at all and Reed shouldn’t start. I just don’t see how it makes sense to ever recruit another quarterback that isn’t fit for the spread.

    by Edward Aschoff

    +1
    It shows that recruiting is about finding players for your system not ones with the most stars.

  10. One think that is for sure about Jordon Reed, his first college touchdown pass did not look at all like a first college touchdown pass. Reed put the ball right were it needed to be on the outside, where only his receiver could catch it. And catch it he should, Reed throws a nice ball, enough mustard to not “hang up” and allow the defender to adjust, but soft enough to ensure a good catch. I am very impressed with Mr. Reed. Now, let us hope the O-line will keep SC out of the offensive backfield. Lets see some rocker and play action. Lets us hope Azzani is still in more control than Addazio. And how about a round of applause for Johnny Brantley’s blocking when he is not taking the snap!

    Go Gators, beat South Carolina, send the Ole’ Ball Coach home crying in his beer!

  11. The real victim here is John Brantley. I don’t think Meyer knows or intends to use any other offense and yet he recruited J.B. I’m not saying he could be an NFL player but he will probably never find out. If he was my Son he’d be transfered tomorrow.

  12. I hardly think UF runs a pro-style offense when Brantley is in the game because the majority of his passes are not downfield his passes are mostly short bubble screens and rarely throws the ball more than 10 yards down field … he throes mostly side line to side line … As much as I like him, I think Addazio has a hard time thinking more than 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmmage, I hope Myer will make Azzani a co-offensive coordinator and play caller and let Addazio just coach the offensive line.

  13. Don,
    I don’t think Ed was having a knee jerk reaction. This is not based on one game, but rather 2005, 2006 (when Leak was in) and this year as whole. Just think about Mike G.’s run in the third quarter. It just opened up more with the threat the QB might have the ball. It offers a half second delay by safeties and linebackers. That makes a huge difference. As well, I thought those holes opened up more against UGA too with our hand offs. It just opens things up more that is not there with a non running threat from the QB. As well, Ed was not saying bench Brantley. I don’t want him benched, he should be the QB. It is just a matter of the future, why recruit traditional pocket QB’s for the offense we have? A great question to ask!

  14. The coaches made a huge mistake with Brantley. If you can play you can play…does matter what style. Reed found open recievers with yac!!! what a revelation. Ran the offense significantly better and the o line responded. Myer made a mistake and it cost us a couple games.

  15. The fact that we’ve opened up the run better with the three-headed QB system, we saw JB toss a pair of long TD passes against Vandy. As long as the coaches will commit to a FB to pick up blitzes when JB is in the no-back set, JB could make some plays. I will be anxious to see our three-way QB duel at UF next spring between JB, Reed, and Driskell though.

  16. I tahnk using three QB’s threat will give us a better chance to win. We just need a win even if it is only by one point. If we expect to play for the title in Dec . Lets just use them for their ability one who can pass in the pocket for the deep pass, one for the short run who has the strength to run short yards and use the one who can pass and run and get us to a score or what ever we need to win the game.

  17. I basically agree, Ed, that Florida’s going to be a dual-threat QB program. However, Johnny Brantley has operated behind an O-line that shuffled in all the first seven games of the season. Only Mike Pouncey has been in the same spot for every game, unless you count Carl Johnson who missed the first. The OC used to be one of two O-line coaches on the staff. Brantley’s RB corps was wiped out by injuries coinciding with that three-game drought, and aside from the enigmatic Deonte Thompson we entered the season without any experienced wide receivers or a tight end who had ever played a down of college ball. Give Brantley a break. He showed what he can do with open receivers, time to throw and a complementary running game.

  18. Take back a few dropped balls , some missed blocking assignments and conservative play calling designed not to run up the score and it could have gotten real ugly statistcally and on the scoreboard. J B’s contributions and sacrifices are well documented and greatly appreciated as are Steve Addazio’s , but the U of F owes these guys nothing. They both have had every opportunity available. It ‘s just time to move foward. This is the world of football get over it. Annoint Jordan Reed the Starter and allow JB to back him up w/ Trey coming in and run the wildcat package. let’s get this show on the road!!It’s also time for Urby to realize that Steve can’t be to effective when he has so many responsibilities. Right now he’s a jack of all trades and master of none. It’s either one or the other lets get some full timel coaching going on!!!

  19. @wileymac: You neglect to mention Carl Moore, he certainly is an experienced wide out, he is on his 5th season of college ball. he may not be anyone’s All-American, but he has made some clutch, possession type receptions for us.
    The play calling has not helped Johnny, either. Addazio kept trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I am glad Coach Azzani is around to make it work.
    I do not blame injuries, everyone was healthy for Miami of Ohio, we looked just as bad that game and worse against MSU.
    Go Gators, beat the Ole’ Ball Coach!

  20. I agree with Ed, and I think some people may be confusing the idea that this system needs a specific type of QB, with the idea that somehow Brantley is at fault. Those two things are not the same, and I personally feel really bad for JB. He’s been a great Gator, and waited patiently, but he is not the QB for this system. There are plenty of other factors that contributed to his lack of success this year like Addazzio, the Oline, RB injuries etc etc, and if all of those things were fixed, I have no doubt that Brantley would be lighting up scoreboards. That being said, that doesn’t mean that he’s the best type of QB for this system, and that is what Ed is saying. Even if all of those negative factors weren’t present, JB still wouldn’t be able to run the option, or give the defense concern for fear that he’ll take off. Urban’s system is predicated on the ability of the QB to run, and JB lacks that ability. It’s not his fault, it’s simply the system….and for that reason, I think Urban would be wise in the future to stick to QBs that present that option, like Driskel.

  21. John would be fine if we simply blocked sufficiently to allow a pocket to form. We don’t throw down field because those plays take too long, Brantley is often sacked within 2 seconds. Even Vandy was coming clean in the first quarter. Why the press doesn’t bring this up is beyond me.

    Fresh idea: Have the tight end BLOCK and let the RB assist or catch a dump pass and watch Brantley shine. It’s the only way to have a pro style QB. It’s easy.

  22. Re: Meyer’s UF QB Greats list (at Monday’s press conference) —
    Very funny exchange between Meyer and a reporter regarding “dissing Spurrier” (by placing him 4th behind Chris Leak).
    IMO, not only would Spurrier belong ahead of Chris Leak (whom I maddeningly felt compelled to refer to as “The Sieve” back then, due to his “fumblitis”), but KERWIN BELL would also.
    He started all four years from 1984-87, leading the Gators to consecutive 9-1-1 records in his Frosh & Soph. years, including SEC bests of 5-0-1 & 5-1, respectively (the Gators’ FIRST-ever SEC Championship was in ’84, but was later retroactively vacated in Spring ’85 due to NCAA probation).
    Many, if not most, considered those two teams to be the best in the country, including the computer rankings.
    Two of his marquis victories included a redemptive, awe-inspiring thumping of hated and arch-nemesis Georgia (27-0) in his Red Shirt Freshman year (’84) and one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in UF history when he led the Gators back from a 17-0 deficit in the 4th quarter to defeat 5th ranked Auburn, 18-17, in his Senior year (’87)!
    He was SEC Player Of The Year his Freshman year (’84), First-team All-SEC his Sophomore year (’85), two time Honorable Mention All-American (’85, ’86), and in either his Junior or Senior year (’86 or ’87, I forget which) he was a contender for the Heisman Trophy.
    Well, that’s this Gator’s opinion!
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  23. John Brantley will be playing on Sunday’s due to his strong work ethic, team-first mentality and talent. Remember, he broke Tebow’s H.S. QB records.He’s done well overall with 19 freshman around him and a banged-up O-Line.
    Next year, having a senior QB, like Brantley, who is battle hardened in the SEC, to lead the Gators and mentor the 2 newbie QB’swill be a huge plus for us.
    Having three quality QB’s next year who all have shared significant playing time will also be a huge plus for us.
    If Cam Newton gets injured, who’s his replacement at Auburn?
    See my point?
    Lakeland GatorNaught