GAINESVILLE — Florida's offense might get a huge boost with the likely return of senior QB John Brantley for Saturday's game against No. 22 Georgia in Jacksonville.
Gators coach Will Muschamp said Monday that Brantley will have limited practice and is probable for this week's game. Brantley suffered a high ankle sprain near the end of the first half of the Oct. 1 game against Alabama and has not played since. He spent time throwing in practice last week, but did not participate in drills.
"We feel like John will be ready to go for the game," Muschamp said. "As we progress through the week we'll know more about his status. We expect his reps to increase as the week grows. But we wanted to get him out there moving around and get people around him and throw the football around a little bit. I fully expect him to continue to progress through the week unless we hit something that we're not predicting. I fully expect him to be fine."
Last week's bye has allowed the Gators to become relatively healthy again. Several players injured over the past three weeks are expected to return, including DL Ronald Powell, RB Jeff Demps, K Caleb Sturgis, OL Dan Wenger, RB Mike Gillislee and WR Andre Debose. CB Jeremy Brown, who has not played this season, is not expected to play.
Freshman backup QBs Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will both practice, and Muschamp said he'll decide who will get the No. 2 position this week. One of the first things Brantley told Muschamp after he injured his ankle was that he had to get back for the Georgia game; coaches and teammates say he has been relentless in that effort.
"He's worked extremely hard to get back for this week," Muschamp said.
ON THE RISE: After opening 0-2 and falling out of the AP top 25, Georgia has won five consecutive games and is ranked again. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said it's a testament to how the team has bounced back.
"I think it's a good thing," Richt said. "Once you get into the polls of course you try to stay there, but it's hard to see progress unless you're in there. Although I knew we were making progress, you really can't see it until your squad is up in the top 25. And when it comes to media coverage, especially on the networks that cover college football, they tend to spend a lot of time on the top 25 teams. So hopefully we can stay there awhile."
ONE FOR MUSCHAMP: Muschamp said he considers any stories this week about coaching against his alma mater "wasted ink", but at least some of his players think there's something significant about it. "It's special to me because Coach Muschamp played for Georgia, but never beat Florida," DT Sharrif Floyd said. "So now he gets the chance to be on a Florida team playing Georgia. Obviously, he may come out with his win."
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com. Read her blog at www.tampabay.com/blogs/gators/and follow her on Twitter @gatornews.