Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators give effort worthy of an 'A'

Blue team quarterback John Brantley tries to pull away from Orange team defensive end William Green during the first half. Brantley helped lead the Blue to a 27-24 victory.

Associated Press

Blue team quarterback John Brantley tries to pull away from Orange team defensive end William Green during the first half. Brantley helped lead the Blue to a 27-24 victory.

GAINESVILLE — The status of his health remains his own private matter, but the excitement in Florida coach Urban Meyer's voice after the Orange and Blue Game on Saturday indicated his love for the game — and his team — hasn't changed at all.

"I'm kind of excited right now," Meyer said. "I'm kind of jacked. I see a lot of bright eyes. I see a lot of healthy players who will be trained by the best strength coach in America, so I'm kind of pumped right now."

After nearly a month of spring practices, Meyer gave the Gators an "A" overall.

"We stink, we're not a good team, but that's not the intent. The intent is to have a good atmosphere, establish a good work ethic and try to go as hard as you can and try to identify players. … We really identified some players (Saturday). To finish spring like that, that's a heck of a deal."

Brantley's debut

In his first public outing as starting quarterback, John Brantley opened the game with a 47-yard pass to WR Deonte Thompson, which set up the Blue team's first touchdown five plays later. The Blue defeated the Orange 27-24.

"It was just fun to let loose for one time, just get everything out of you," Brantley said of the game, before an announced 51,500 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The redshirt junior went 15-of-19 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, setting a spring game record for completion percentage (.789).

"I feel like it's my huddle now," he said. "I definitely do. That's what I've been working on with that leadership, being more vocal in the huddle."

Burton and Leak

When freshman QB Trey Burton threw an interception that was returned 31 yards by freshman Josh Shaw, former QB Chris Leak, on hand for the game, had some advice. "Chris Leak helped me out a lot with that. He told me it's how I rebound from it, how any quarterback rebounds from an interception, is how good he's going to be," Burton said.

The freshman went 12-of-18 for 120 yards and one touchdown and set a spring game record for the longest run from scrimmage with a 76-yarder that set up a touchdown.

No offensive worries

After spending the spring trying to discover an offensive identity in the post-Tim Tebow era, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said he's confident the offense is going to be fine. "We're going to be a strong throwing team," Addazio said. "We're going to be able run the ball with three great backs, with a fourth one coming in. We'll be able to line up in the I-formation and play some power football, but we'll be able to run wildcat football, we can run screens, we've got dynamic guys on the edge like (Andre) Debose and (Chris) Rainey, and we can run the field vertically with Deonte Thompson, Carl Moore and those guys.

"We've got a lot of weapons right now, so we feel good about it."

About that defense

With so much talk surrounding the loss of Tebow, you might forget that UF is trying to replace six starters on defense as well.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said he joined the staff in February with no preconceived notions but ended Saturday's game with great expectations.

"I'm very happy with where we are," Austin said. "We've got a ways to go; we're not by any stretch where we need to be. But I like the direction we're heading. … I think we have all the things in place to have a heck of a defense. It's not going to be a bunch of guys you know, but they are going to be a great collective group."

Meyer's final word

"You talk about a team with a chip on their shoulder in that locker room, it's kind of cool to have that again and a group of coaches with a chip on their shoulder to do it the Florida way," coach Urban Meyer said. "We're excited to get going."

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Florida Gators give effort worthy of an 'A' 04/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 10, 2010 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL rewards Tampa Bay's track record, preparation with another Super Bowl


    Tampa Bay got lucky on Tuesday.

    We are getting a Super Bowl. We are getting a Super Bowl that we weren't supposed to get. We're getting a Super Bowl that we once were told we wouldn't get.

    Then came good luck.

     Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer (left) and son Edward Glazer celebrate the Bucs win and their upcoming trip to San Diego and the Super Bowl.  

[Bill Serne | Times]
  2. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  3. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  4. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  5. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback


    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

    The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.