Brantley Ready to Prove His Resurgence

The offseason has been important for John Brantley. His confidence has been rebuilt after a shaky 2010 season, but on Saturday, he begins to transition the confidence from the practice field to the games. Brantley worked all offseason with new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and the two feel like he is the right man for the job. Even the quarterback knows it's time to prove it on the field.

"It's very important," John Brantley said about a quick start for the offense. "We've got to start fast, keep going and don't let off the pedal at all. We've got to keep growing on that confidence."

Last year, the start to the season had the offense questioning itself immediately. The opening game against Miami (OH) was a nail biter for a majority of it. Bad snaps and a sputtering offense had the team in a game that was much closer than it should have been.

That start to the season can't happen again.

"It just killed the momentum, really," Brantley said. "It sucked the wind out of us. It's important to step on that pedal from the first play and just keep going."

This season, that fast start depends on Brantley. He has two running backs in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps that should carry the offense, but if the passing game struggles as much as it did in 2010, the offense will be one-dimensional and struggle for a second straight season.

Step one to get the offense to where it should be was work with Brantley's mental state after last season. He couldn't be tentative in practice this season. Instead, they focused on rebuilding his confidence.

"When you have some sort of change, you grow with that change, and that's what John has done," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "I've been very pleased in his work ethic and approach. He feels more confident in the things that we're doing. John has built his confidence himself."

Weis still talks to Brantley about the roller coaster ride that was the 2010 season. He doesn't mention it much, as the offensive coordinator is trying to get Brantley to focus on the future.

However, there's no doubt that struggles will come at some point this season. Whether it comes late or early in the season, Brantley has to be capable of handling it. Brantley admits that he didn't do a great job of that last season.

"He mentions (last year) to me, not too often, but often enough," Brantley said. "He just reminds me to forget about last year and keep moving forward. Even this year, if a bad play happens, you've got to move on from it. You can't beat yourself up about it."

The new confidence for Brantley is partly because of the confidence from his coaching staff.

"Charlie has confidence in John, and that ought to bring confidence to John," Muschamp said. "That's what has happened. We're very comfortable with where we are now."

With the confidence no longer an issue, the team is excited about displaying its new offense in front of Florida fans Saturday night. It will be the public and media's second look at Florida football since the end of the Outback Bowl on January 1.

"I think they're going to be very pleased," Brantley said. "We've had a great camp, and we're excited to play someone besides ourselves. We're excited to show the fans what new Gator football is doing."

Fightin Gators Top Stories