Brantley Still Managing the Games

Sometimes a quarterback is asked to win the game and sometimes it is just a matter of him turning around and handing the ball off. John Brantley got off to a quick start and looked to be headed for a big night and in charge, by the time the game ended, Brantley had turned around and handed the ball off to others for 405 rushing and 41 offensive points. I think he'll take it.

John Brantley finished his night in Lexington Kentucky on the right side of a 48-10 win going 8-14 for 113 yards and a touchdown. Brantley got the scoring going early for the Gators on the team's third possession. Florida took over on the Kentucky 45 yard line after a fumble recovery. The Gators went deep on the first play of the game unsuccessfully, but offensive coordinator Charlie Weis decided to use the sudden change in possession and try and catch the Wildcats off guard.

Brantley looked up and saw the defensive alignment he wanted and then followed through with the play action hand off to his running back before dropping back to pass and completing a 45 yard touchdown strike to tight end Gerald Christian.

"We had an all ‘Go'," Brantley said of the term for all streak routes by his receivers. "I looked to take the shot like the first play of the game. They over-played that and that left Gerald wide open. He made a heck of a catch.

Kentucky's man coverage meant that the Gators went away from their underneath passes to the backs like we had seen from this offense through the first three games. At the end of the day the Jeff Demps caught one pass and Trey Burton caught a pass, the other six catches were made by receivers and tight ends.

"We had that game plan absolutely," Brantley said of throwing to receivers. "Kentucky gave us what we needed. They played a lot more man and didn't sit back as much. They covered the flats and allowed us to throw down field. Just take what the defense gives us and that is what we do each week."

Near the end of the first quarter, Brantley took a shot from a Kentucky defender. It was a legal hit that surprised the senior quarterback and was enough to put a scare in him and those watching the game. Brantley still likes the play of his line, who has only allowed one sack all season.

"I have all the confidence in the world in my line," he said. "Even though someone got through and made a hit, that's going to happen. We strive for perfection and that is tough to really do. I have all the trust in my line and think they did really well tonight."

The shot forced Brantley to miss the last two series of the first half, a period of time that saw the Wildcats gather in an interception from back up Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel and score their only touchdown of the night shortly after. Brantley was able to return to start the second half, still hanging on to a 21 point lead (31-10).

"It was right in the mid-section, just knocked the breath out of me," Brantley said of the shot. "Just hit me in the right spot. I am alright and was able to go out there in the second half."

Brantley said he was not surprised by the success of the running game, which racked up 405 yards and had two players go over 100 yards each on the day.

"Those guys are fast and make teams pay," Brantley said. "Coach talks about the receivers blocking down field and staying on their blocks. That even comes back to me."

Senior running back Chris Rainey continues his magical act and had another one of those ‘shake your head in disbelief' runs in the game. Starting left, Rainey ran out of room on the sideline, before cutting back right and all the way across the field and eventually landed just a yard shy of the end zone.

"That was a heck of a run and we have two of the best running backs in the country," Brantley said. "It makes your job a lot easier when you know you can hand the ball of to them and they can do special things."

The Gators also had their longest touchdown run since a guy named Emmitt Smith roamed the field for the orange and blue. Senior Jeff Demps put on his ridiculous jets and scampered 84 yards on a toss to the left.

"I kind of watched on the monitor a little bit because he was down there so fast," Brantley said. "I watched him break that last tackle from the safety and then he was going. I knew there was a really good chance of him scoring."

Brantley said it was a good week of practice and that he and his teammates seemed to be really tuned in as witnessed by the 31-3 quick lead before halftime. For such a young team in its first road game of the season, that was a big deal.

"Everyone was locked in," he said. "There was energy throughout the week, but you could tell that everyone was focused on what they had to do and treated it just like a business trip.

"We have a group of very mature young guys here and I think that is good for now and will be great for the future," he said.

Now the focus turns to the number two team in the country who comes to Gainesville in a week. Alabama finished off Arkansas rather easily on Saturday and will be a monumental task for this young Gator squad. Brantley believes his team is heading in the right direction for this matchup.

"We have just gotten progressively better each week and really starting to glue together," he said. "We are just looking forward to getting ready for next week and looking forward to Saturday night."

He expects things to be much different than a year ago.

"It was tough going to Tuscaloosa, I think for them coming to (The Swamp) think that helps us out a lot," he said. "I think we are mature enough that we will handle our business during the week and try and go out Saturday night and execute our plays.

"We have to go out and treat them like every opponent so far. We have to game plan hard and prepare really good this week. We've gotten better each week and need to continue doing that. They are definitely one of the teams we need to beat, we need to beat every team we face, but they are definitely up there."

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