"I felt real comfortable," John Brantley said. "We had great preparation through camp and the past week, so it just felt great to go out and be able to execute. It was a good start. We've got some things to clean up and just keep improving."
The game plan for Florida was geared toward getting Brantley off to a good start. Most of his early throws came on swing passes to running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps out of the backfield. He threw them with confidence, hitting the two in stride and allowing for yards after the catch.
The offense didn't punt once all night, giving them confidence in the scheme put in this offseason.
"My confidence is pretty high right now," Brantley said. "The team played well, the offensive line blocked amazing, the running backs ran hard and receivers got open, so right now, confidence is high. It's not just with me, (confidence) is high with this team."
There isn't a dominant, go-to wide receiver that has stepped up yet. The Gators would like for that to happen, but if it doesn't, Brantley doesn't see it as a negative. Ten different players caught a pass on Saturday night, giving the quarterback confidence throwing the ball to whoever is open.
"We were able to spread it out and give it to a bunch of guys," Brantley said. "I have confidence in everyone out on the field. My philosophy is just to throw it to the open guy, and that's what I did."
The swing passes weren't called plays. They came from Brantley looking to throw the ball deep, but the Florida Atlantic offense didn't allow it. He had the option for the swing passes if nothing down field was open, and he took it because of the way the defense looked.
"Just looking down field, that's what they were giving us," Brantley said. The defense dropped into zone and with those two fast backs, you can always rely on them. They're good with the ball in their hands."
Despite throwing two interceptions, including one that came in red zone, Brantley used what he learned from last season to move past it. He admitted in the past that the mistakes snowballed on him in 2010 and would stick in his mind and effect the next play.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis pounded the importance of forgetting into Brantley's mind this offseason.
"(The interceptions) were tough, but from what happened last year and what Coach Weis has been telling me, you've just got to forget about it," Brantley said. "I was even preaching that stuff to Jeff to move on (after his interception)."
Freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel threw an interception as well, with his coming on the first throw of his college career. Brantley's message for Driskel was the same one he has been hearing over the offseason.
"He got it out of the way," Brantley said. "It's always tough for that to happen on your first pass, but he's a great quarterback, and he knows to forget about it and move on. He knew he was going to come back in the game, so I just told him to forget about it and make up for it.
"Once he got the first couple plays under his belt, his confidence started growing and he did a great job."