A few seasons ago, Urban Meyer was pressed for a nickname for Florida's wildcat offense. Everyone expected "Wild Gator," but instead, he jokingly went with "Wild Duck." In that spirit, I'd like for the faithful Gator Clause readers to name the Gators' unique new offensive system, which features John Brantley, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed all at quarterback.
How rare is it for a team to run three QBs? Keep in mind, this isn't because of injuries, this was the plan from Day 1. UF hoped to use all three since the preseason, but offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said that was delayed when Reed got hurt and missed 24 of 26 fall practices.
I asked a few coaches if they could recall a team using three quarterbacks, and here's what they said:
Addazio: “No. I have not. I’m trying to think. Three quarterbacks…no, I have not.”
Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell: “No, I hadn’t seen three, that’s for certain."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: “I think Red Hickey and the San Francisco 49ers did that back in the early 60s. Billy Kilmer, John Brodie and, I don’t know who the other quarterback was. Was Y.A. Tittle with them back then? I don’t know, but they had three quarterbacks that played, and they actually played a little shotgun back in those days. Other than that, I’ve not seen three of them go at it."
Spurrier was right on the mark. In 1961, Hickey's 49ers used Brodie, Kilmer and Bob Waters. Tittle was there the season before.
Anyway, this is a pretty interesting thing the Gators have going, and thank God, because the offense early in the year was dreadfully boring. Keep in mind, last week was Vandy, so this could completely fall flat against South Carolina on Saturday. But it does keep defenses on their toes.
Caldwell said it's a real cat-and-mouse game trying to defend that scheme, largely because all three can stay on the field for an entire game in different roles (though Brantley is just a decoy at receiver). There are a lot of challenges for Florida as well, as Meyer has to find ways to keep defenses from saying: "Brantley's in, it's a pass" or "Burton=run."
The obvious way to counter that is the pre-snap rotation the Gators have done at times, and Meyer said developing other methods is the focus of this week's practices. He mentioned tempo as one way, which I assume means hurrying up to the line after each play and changing QBs so the defense can't substitute.
And to me, the most impressive thing about this situation is the way Brantley has handled it. Check out my column for the UF school paper on this subject. Brantley is in a tough situation, and he deserves major props for not ruining the offense by having an ego about it.
With that said, this weekend could be his biggest test yet. Reed (left) looked mighty Cam Newton-ish against Vandy (again, it was Vandy), and his dual-threat skill set is the most natural fit for the offense. If things go south against the Gamecocks, I wouldn't be surprised to see the offense turned over to him simply because he makes play-calling easier.
“I don’t think they feel like one guy is definitely the best way to go," Spurrier said. "When I played two quarterbacks, I always said they both have their talents and similar ability, so the best way to win the game is play both of them. I’m sure that’s the way the Florida coaches look at it. To win the game, they have to play all three of them.”
Anyway, it's nickname time. Let's hear what you got. I'm not crazy about my idea, but I'll throw it out anyway: The 75 Cent Offense.
Leave your suggestions in the comments, where they'll inevitably be buried in a mountain of nonsensical Miami-related talk, or TWEET AT ME.