When John Brantley struggled operating Urban Meyer's run-first spread offense last season, Florida's coaching braintrust turned more and more towards "athletes" Jordan Reed and Trey Burton to handle the quarterback position, and not without some success; Burton's 171 yards-from-scrimmage played a major role in the Gators' 34-31 overtime victory over Georgia, for instance.
But with new head coach Will Muschamp taking his cues from mentor Nick Saban's more traditional, pro-style offensive philosophy -- and Charlie Weis hired to deliver exactly that -- it's no surprise that the aerially-limited Reed and Burton won't be taking snaps any longer. Or at least, not on anything resembling a regular basis, since Muschamp confirmed this week that he's considering permanent position switches for both :
Muschamp said he has contemplated moving Trey Burton to safety or cornerback and might move Jordan Reed to tight end.Muschamp would be well-advised to make good on the "integral part" promise for both players, as both Burton (pictured) and Reed flashed playmaking ablity in 2010 that few other Gators -- if any, aside from running back Jeff Demps -- would be able to duplicate.
“Trey was a guy that’s been talked about as a defensive back, but I’m not so sure he’s not better suited to be on the offensive side of the ball as a fullback move and still have some sort of package for him at the quarterback position,” Muschamp said. “And Jordan’s a guy that we’re still working through the process with him right now of where he’ll end up. He’s an outstanding athlete. He’ll be an integral part of what we do offensively. I can tell you that.”
At the same time, two factors make Reed's and Burton's moonlighting at quarterback a luxury the Gators can afford to do without. One is that Weis's under-center, pocket-passing attack should be a much, much better fit for the strong-armed Brantley's talents than Meyer's spread. The second is true freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel; his letter of intent may still be hot off the fax, but his eye-popping performance at the Under Armour All-American Game and enrollment in time for spring camp suggest he could take over the reins as soon as this fall, if need be.
Of course, with Driskel still a true freshman (no matter how talented) and Brantley coming off of one of college football's most disappointing seasons, the Gators may still need some kind of fallback plan, and at the very least they're going to need every offensive hand they've got fully on deck to help their quarterbacks. Quarterbacks or not, you haven't heard the last of Burton and Reed by a long shot.