Gators Making New Offensive System Work

The Florida offense hasn't only been creative on the field since the bye week. They've also been forced to get creative on the practice field. Running an offense with three quarterbacks presents enough challenges, but none of them are as difficult as creating enough practice reps for each quarterback.

The Gators have adjusted practices to get the most out of every minute. Instead of the quarterbacks using the pre-practice time to warm up their arms, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed also spend time working on the option. Little adjustments like that are helping the quarterbacks get their normal work.

"It's real challenging," Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said. "You've got to be organized in what you're doing. You've got to use every minute of practice. You want to maximize every second because there are only so many reps over the course of a practice. The organization of that has been something we ring tight. There's no space that's unused because you need every second of it."

The difficult in game planning now comes in keeping the new offense from being predictable. Head coach Urban Meyer stated on Monday that John Brantley is the passing quarterback, Burton is the option quarterback and Reed is the single wing quarterback.

The offense evolves every week as the coaches add new wrinkles to it, but Addazio believes that the quick quarterback rotations make it difficult for the defense to react.

"That's all the dynamics that go into it," Addazio said. "The fact that they're different is good, but they're also all on the field."

Most teams would struggle with ego issues too much to play two quarterbacks, much less even three. However, the Florida trio has all taken the right approach to playing time. They don't care about stats or time on the field as long as the team is winning.

"It's working because we've got unselfish guys that want all for the team and winning," Addazio said. "It's created a level of excitement and energy."

With Brantley in the game, opposing defenses have started to blitz almost every play. The offensive line was already struggling to give Brantley time to throw, and they have been more overwhelmed as the blitzes become more frequent. It's an issue the Florida staff is trying to fix.

"You try to bring your counter punches to it, adjusting to the things you get curve balled on," Addazio said. "We have to adjust to all of it. It's a piece of it, and I'd imagine we'll be confronted with that piece as we go forward."

The South Carolina defense will provide plenty of pressure this weekend. The Gators have struggled picking up the blitz, but it's a fixture for the South Carolina defense.

"They got a fair amount of pressure," Addazio said. "That's been their history and you see it during the season. They're going to bring pressure, and they're active as far as multiple looks."

The three-quarterback system only used two until the bye week. Reed came into the season expecting to get some snaps at quarterback, but he didn't know how many. He is a power runner that they don't have on offense, so they tried to get him in as the short-yardage back.

It didn't come until after the bye week because Reed missed 24 of 46 practices from the preseason camp. They weren't able to add the package with Reed at quarterback because he was still learning the tight end position.

"It wasn't like we hadn't discussed all of this coming (into the season)," Addazio said. "As a matter of fact, we had. It all got shelved because of a young guy not getting much game experience. It put everything on the back burner."

Reed getting more snaps at quarterback means that the Gators are searching for able bodies at tight end. Gerald Christian played 54 plays at Vanderbilt and looks capable of becoming a trusted player.

"What happened last week was young guys got on the field and got a chance to show the development they've had," Addazio said. "I thought Gerald did a great job. You'd like to try to grow with him because we feel like he's deserving. Your trust grows that he's ready to handle big games."
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