Brantley Ready for the Change

Things didn't go as planned for senior quarterback John Brantley a year ago. He was supposed to take over the reins from Tim Tebow and keep the Florida offensive train rolling in 2010. Not a pure fit for what the Florida offense was used to doing under Urban Meyer's staff, Brantley believes the staff change will be good for him and the Gators in 2011. He's looking forward to his senior season.

John Brantley would like a ‘Mulligan' for 2010, but that isn't happening. Instead, he will just look to the future and believes that future is bright for him and the Gators under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

"That is the past, I have moved on," Brantley said of his junior year. "That is what is good about this new coaching staff. We start anew, start from scratch, and go from there."

It got so bad that Brantley was shaky about his return to Florida, but he was very clear on Thursday that he never decided to walk away from the school and program he loves.

"I never decided to leave, I want to be a Gator," he said. "I just decided that this is the place I wanted to be and this is where I am."

Brantley will be competing against three freshmen at quarterback this year. All of them are new to the playbook and all are learning as they go. He is just thankful to get started learning after having to wait till practice to have instruction from the coaching staff.

"Looking at the playbook and stuff, you get confused because it is tough to teach yourself," he said. "Getting out there and seeing everything develop (on day one of spring), it got easier for us. We are a long way from where we want to be but it was a good start."

Having Charlie Weis teach the offense and what Brantley and the other quarterbacks are supposed to do is a huge plus and Brantley is looking forward to working under his tutelage.

"That definitely helps," Brantley said of Weis' expertise. "Coach Weis is a genius with offense and he is going to do great things here and this whole new staff is going to do great things.

"(Weis) has a great track record. You can put a lot of trust in his hands because he knows what he is doing. He has a track record to show it. It's pretty good right now. We haven't had too much time together, but the time spent has been good. He is a real cool guy. He loves to coach us hard, but he understands how we are. I think he‘s going to great things here.

Brantley is starting to become at ease again. When he was recruited to play quarterback out of Ocala's Trinity Catholic High School, he was a hot shot as a pro-style, drop back quarterback. In his time at Florida it was the plan to continue the same path, but there were also times when he was asked to do things physically he was never asked to do before.

Now, he is back in a comfort zone in terms of style of play.

"I think pretty comfortable," he said when asked how he feels at practice in the new offense. "This is more my style. This is what I do… drop back and throw it. We have some great running backs to take some pressure off of everything. All around I think it will be a great thing.

"I know in high school we did a lot of underneath (center) stuff and a lot of play action, and that is what we are going to do here."

There was a little worry that the staff might throw the entire book at him and the other quarterbacks and it might be a lot to handle early on this spring.

"I thought they were going to a little bit, but yesterday was a pretty good day," Brantley said. "I am not saying I know everything right now, but I am getting more comfortable with it. Getting reps with everyone it is much easier to see it. I knew it would be tough, but it is coming along just fine."

He's also part of a group of quarterbacks that are working together to get better.

"We are all new to this so we are all helping each other out," he said. "There are a lot of confusing things going on in the offense because it is new to us."

It won't be easy for John Brantley, but the senior has already had his share of tough times to deal with. Call it par for the course or whatever you want, but he is going to work to make things work well in 2011.

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