You could say quarterback Brad Kaaya isn’t losing sleep over the fact he’ll be taking snaps from first-time starter Alex Gall against Virginia on Saturday.
“Just a different butt to get snaps from,” Kaaya said Tuesday.
Both Kaaya and coach Mark Richt played down the change, caused by a shoulder injury to Nick Linder. That’s because of the system the Hurricanes employ before each practice.
“Coach Richt has us take snaps from about five different centers every single day before practice,” Kaaya said. “We spend about 15 minutes doing that.”
Richt explained: “Pre-practice every day, we do quarterback-center exchanged and we have our top four centers and our top four quarterbacks, we rotate along the line. So Brad will work with every single guy every day.
“The other thing too is we want each center to snap it in the same spot. We want each quarterback to put his hand placement in the exact same spot. We want the cadence to be very rhythmic so if a new QB comes in, it doesn’t blow everything up or if a new center comes in it doesn’t blow things up. So I think we’ll be fine on the QB-center exchange. That’s the most important thing.”
Plus, even though it’ll be Gall’s first start, he played the second half last weekend against Pittsburgh.
“I think he did a good job filling in for Nick,” Kaaya said. “It was just good to see him out there and get some reps and just step up and do his job. It was awesome to see. He finally got his shot at it and I think he did just fine.”
Gall, a senior, said he feels more comfortable now that he has played all three interior line positions. His confidence also was lifted by the Hurricanes’ 51-28 victory over the Panthers in which the line showed flashes of its early season form.
“Get it back to where we were in the beginning, when we were rolling,” Gall said. “I think now we’re going to get it back on that roll again.”
It’s unclear how long Linder, who has started 22 consecutive games, may be out. Gall, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound Cincinnati native, started seven games last year, all at left guard.