Make us your home page
Instagram

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' John Brantley sees new offense as chance to regain favor

HOOVER, Ala. — The majority of John Brantley's spare time since April has been spent watching old film. Notre Dame, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs football games to be exact.

The hiring of Will Muschamp as head coach and former NFL and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator at Florida has given Brantley a new lease on his career. And the senior quarterback is not taking the opportunity lightly.

"I think I've got more drive, especially with this new offense," Brantley said Wednesday during SEC Media Days. "Just to be able to get this new offense down, go out there and play to the best of my ability and put our team in the best position to win. That's my goal for this season. I'm preparing for it right now."

Gone are the spread offense and the option plays that kept him from his strengths. In their place, emerging slowly, is a passing, pro-style offense that Weis used with the Irish, Patriots and Chiefs and fits Brantley.

The last time Florida fans saw Brantley, he didn't look much improved— just three weeks into the new system. He insists time is making a significant difference.

"I'm a lot more comfortable," he said. "I thought it looked like Chinese at first, I'm not going to lie. But after a few days with Coach Weis in the spring, it started becoming real clear to me. I just keep improving on it every day. It looks like normal English (now). I know how to read again. I know every word now. It's just rolling off my tongue a lot easier, and it's definitely a lot more understandable, the reasons why we do things."

On Wednesday. Brantley was candid about his struggles last season, which included a 116.4 passing efficiency (No. 10 in the 12-team league), nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Yes, his confidence took a hit. And there were times he saw himself on film and didn't recognize the guy wearing the No. 12 jersey based on how he was playing. No, he wasn't able to give Florida fans his best effort because he couldn't succeed in the spread or as a running quarterback.

But even during his lowest moments, Brantley continued to believe in his heart he was supposed to be a Gator. Muschamp and Weis have given him an opportunity to reaffirm that belief.

In the first meeting between new coach and QB, Muschamp shook Brantley's hand and said, 'I'm happy you're here.' "

"I think he was just going through a phase," senior receiver Deonte Thompson said. "I knew he was coming back. I said, 'Come on man, we need you.' "

Thompson on Wednesday remembered being in the locker room with Brantley in January when Muschamp called the quarterback into his office. Brantley returned and told Thompson, "I'm not going anywhere."

Muschamp, the son of a coach who like Brantley grew up a diehard Gator fan, said he's impressed with the way Brantley has handled the adversity.

"It makes you grow up a little bit," Muschamp said. "It hardens you a little bit. But I've been really pleased with his demeanor, how he's handled it, and the respect he's got from his teammates on both sides of the ball."

Yes, Brantley said, he has been stung by falling out of favor with fans. But he's still a Gator, and he's hoping his play beginning with the Sept. 3 opener against Florida Atlantic will bring them all back on his side.

"It's tough because I've seen it from both sides now," said Brantley, an Ocala native. "I've never been one, even growing up, to boo a player because those were my idols out there. I've always looked up to them and wanted to be like them. It's unfortunate, but hopefully we'll be able to bounce back and have those boos turn into cheers this year."

Antonya English can be reached at English@sptimes.com.

"I'm a lot more comfortable. I thought it looked like Chinese at first, I'm not going to lie. But after a few days with Coach Weis in the spring, it started becoming real clear to me. I just keep improving on it every day. It looks like normal English (now)."

John Brantley, on offensive coordinator Charlie Weis' pro-style offense

Florida Gators' John Brantley sees new offense as chance to regain favor 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    Did the Rays make the right call in picking RHP Austin Pruitt rather than top prospect Brent Honeywell? Though Honeywell had tweeted he was as ready as he'd ever be, the Rays felt better going with Pruitt, who gave them the five innings they were seeking.

  2. Damion Lowe returns to Rowdies after eventful Gold Cup

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Pretty well emotionally spent, and not at all rested physically having just finished a life-changing stint with his native Jamaica in the Gold Cup, Damion Lowe wants the Rowdies to know he's ready.

    Damion Lowe, right, returns to the Rowdies — though he is likely to get a rest in tonight’s 7:30 home game against Pittsburgh — after an eventful six Gold Cup matches.
  3. Rays journal: Lineup dominated by Masahiro Tanaka in loss to Yankees (w/video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Sometimes you just have to dig out the good news, and for the Rays on Friday it may well have been that they didn't get no-hit in a 6-1 loss.

    Austin Pruitt waits for Brett Gardner to round the bases after leading off the first with one of three homers Pruitt gives up.
  4. Rays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. Saturday, New York

    The Heater

    Today: at Yankees

    1:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

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

    Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws against the Rockies during the first inning Tuesday. He left after allowing just one hit and striking out nine in six shutout innings.  {Associated Press}
  5. Steve Cishek latest bullpen upgrade for Rays, who now must translate that to wins

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The Rays made another addition to change the look of their bullpen Friday in acquiring veteran side-armer and former closer Steve Cishek from Seattle.

    Reliever Steve Cishek has a 3.15 ERA in 20 games after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a 1.86 ERA since a rocky second outing of the season.