Dr. Football Mailbag, Tennessee week


Why do these football announcers harp on how tired the defense is? “This defense has been out there for 14 plays; they’ve gotta be winded. First that long drive, then the interception on first down and they’re right back out there!” — MS.

It’s a good question. I get it when the offensive team is passing because it takes more out of you to rush the passer than to block in protection. For example, on the 16-play Alabama drive in the third quarter that really changed the game, the Tide had eight passing plays.  I think the biggest reason is that offenses tend to sub more at the skill positions. And I would think it would be more tiring to be blocked than to block. But there is also this — the mental aspect. If you are on defense and the other team gets a first down, it’s deflating mentally. If you are on offense and you get a first down, it lifts you. One more thing — I bet defenses get more tired on the road than at home.

Up early with my coffee, some peace and quiet and the Ryder Cup. Is there something we can do to make baseball players meet to shake hands after the contest? Golf, hockey, basketball, football all meet post-match. Why doesn’t baseball? — Ed

Yeah, football players tend to do that on an individual basis. In the NFL, they practically have sit-down conversations. In these other sports, we’re not talking about 60-to-100 players having to line up. Maybe that’s why football doesn’t do it.

Dr. Football,

I’ve got a bad case of “the-problem-is-the-coaching-itis,” so I’ve been daydreaming about possibilities should the head coaching job come open at Florida. Two names that I thought about (and I’m sure I’m not the first one) are Jedd Fisch and Josh McDaniels. Can you help ease my pain by discussing the potential fit at Florida for these two coaches? Thanks, Doc. — John.

Those names can be thrown into the heap along with a dozen others I’ve heard. Fisch was a graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier at Florida and McDaniels had a short stint as a head coach at Denver, drafting Tim Tebow. But both of them are known as NFL coordinators. I think Florida would shy away from that if the Gators make a change.

Do the Gators have reverses or jet sweeps in the offense? We all expected to see them as part of a wide-open offense, and they do put receivers in motion past the QB, but I’ve watched almost every snap this season, and I don’t remember seeing a single one. Is it still too deep in the playbook, or do the three-and-out, between-the-tackle series in the Bama game give us our answer? — Carl.

I have been asking that question all season. I recall seeing one or two in practice. It certainly is something that should be in the playbook but they have chosen not to use it. I’m a big believer in reverses because they go against where the defensive flow is. I, like you, don’t understand why Florida hasn’t used one.