Gators QB Situation is 2-Good

At times in the first three games of the season it appeared the Florida Gators might have a problem at quarterback. Johnny Brantley seemed at times to be every bit out of place in this offense as Chris Leak did for much of the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

We all wrote stories and/or made comments about how this was another "square peg/round hole" situation that wasn't working. After all, Florida's junior QB is a natural, downfield passer, yet the Gators were averaging just 151 a game through the air after their wins over Miami (OH), USF and Tennessee. It just wasn't working.

Saturday night in The Swamp was a clear indication that if the Gators have any problem at the position, it's one too many playmakers, even if it took four games to find that out.

John Brantley had by far his best game and Trey Burton burst on the scene with a sensational performance for the record books as the Gators walloped the Wildcats for the 24th straight year.

I couldn't help but notice that Burton's fifth TD and the subsequent extra point made the score 41-14… the same score that the 2006 Gators posted in their best performance under Chris Leak in the BCS Championship Game win over Ohio State. That was the culmination of a lot of work to make the offense work for the talents of the guy at QB.

Florida opened the game with two impressive drives, resulting in the first Gator points in the opening quarter this season. Brantley was sharp and the mix of running and passing confused and confounded the boys from the Bluegrass State. It was altogether fitting that Burton ran in the first score and caught a pass from Brantley for the second.

The offense seemed to lose its way in the second quarter, passing two out of every three plays and managing just 36 yards, but the second half was impressive as the Gators marched 83, 80 and 51 yards for touchdowns on their first three possessions after intermission to grab control of the contest.


I like the potential of utilizing both quarterbacks going forward and Burton's role should not be limited to red zone scoring situations. Just as Tim Tebow was able to ignite the Gators in 2006 whenever he entered the game and wherever the ball was, Burton can have that same kind of impact. Giving him a series from any spot on the field will just make the Gator offense that much less predictable and that much more difficult to prepare for.

Brantley can build a great deal on this game as well. As the Gators utilize Burton more, Brantley's chances for big plays will increase as well. There's an old cliché that a rising tide raises all ships and it's used in a number of situations, though rarely football but in the case it fits. After all, while Burton was enjoying a record setting day, Brantley was having his first 200-yard passing day.

Utilizing Trey Burton as a "wildcat" (I hate that term) type quarterback all over the field will improve every aspect of the Gator offense. Eventually he will throw the ball out of that set --- as he did late in the fourth quarter --- just like Tebow did. And Brantley will continue to run it on occasion.

Florida's offense took a gigantic step forward in Gainesville Saturday night when the Gators realized their 2-quarterbacks were 2-good to hold back.

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