Reed Learns to Love Blocking

The type of tight end Jordan Reed wants to be isn't much of a mystery. He wants to be down the field, catching the ball. The blocking part of the position is necessary and he has improved on it, but that doesn't mean he enjoys it. Before moving to tight end, Reed spent his entire career playing quarterback. He's now heading into a season that should find him as a focal part of the offense.

"I was a quarterback before, so I never had to be physical," Jordan Reed said. "Now I'm learning how to block and everything else that goes with it."

Reed spent most of the offseason improving his ability to block. He's a skilled, raw athlete who shouldn't have much problem making the transition to tight end. In some work at tight end last season, Reed was impressive. He played the position most of the early season, including a jaw-dropping touchdown catch in the back of the end zone during the fourth quarter of the win over USF.

As the season continued and John Brantley struggled at quarterback, Reed was moved back to quarterback, the position he was brought to Florida to play. He split time working at both for the second half of the season.

Whenever he had free time last season, he was working at quarterback. The coaches had a limited playbook for him, and Reed worked to learn about it and continue his growth in the offense. That hindered his growth at tight end, especially when it comes to blocking.

"I don't think anyone likes blocking, but you've got to learn to love it," Reed said. "You're never going to like it though."

Spring football this year was different from the other practices times for Reed. He focused only on tight end. He wasn't brought in to take reps at quarterback or asked to stay late and throw to skill players. Instead, everything was simplified.

"It's been pretty good to be just focused on playing tight end," Reed said.

The hire of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis made it easier for Reed to buy in. Weis serve as a tight ends coach for the New England Patriots, and his offenses have always featured a downfield tight end.

Reed will be that guy this year.

"I was definitely excited. From what I'd heard of his past offenses, I just knew that he used the tight end a lot. I was pretty excited. Hopefully, we'll just keep on doing it."

When Weis was hired, he came with immediate respect. He didn't have to prove what he knew to the players. They'd all seen the success Weis had in the NFL and knew they would have the chance to play for one of the most respected offensive coordinators in football.

"He's a great coach who has done a lot of great things in his career," Reed said. "Everybody really looks up to him a lot because he's such a good coach."

Reed even said there was "a little bit" of celebrity that came with Weis when he was brought in. The players are now used to it and it has been business as usual, but there are still times when Reed admits to being shocked at who their offensive coordinator is.

There could even be a new role for Reed this season. Will Muschamp mentioned two weeks ago that Reed has been working with the punt returners because he has good hands.

"It's alright, but I don't think they're going to use me," Reed said. "I'm just a body. They said I've got good hands, so when Rainey is trying to block a punt, I could be back there catching it."

Fightin Gators Top Stories