Muschamp Unsure of Brantley's Injury Severity

After an ideal start to the game, the Gators watched as it slowly slipped out of their hands. The more frustrating part came at the end of the first half, when quarterback John Brantley went down with an injury. The severity of it is unknown, but it dampened any hopes of a Florida comeback in the second half. The Gators could now be forced to hand the reigns of the offense to a freshman.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp said after the game there was no update "at this time" and wouldn't specify exactly if it was a knee or ankle injury, saying only that it was the "lower leg." Muschamp said Brantley didn't go to the hospital during the game, instead staying in the training room of the football facility.

Outside of that, the staff will wait until Sunday when they know more.

Brantley opened the game with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Andre Debose, who got behind the Alabama secondary and burnt cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

"John played really well," Muschamp said. "He had a big third down conversion and the deep ball to Andre to start the game. John played extremely well and converted third downs against a good defense."

The emergence of Debose didn't end there. He also caught a crossing pattern for 25 yards from Brantley to convert a 3rd-and-7 on the first play of the second quarter. Debose was injured against Tennessee and sat out against Kentucky to assure his health, but his play in practice secured that he would be a big part of the game plan.

"Andre has done a good job in practiced and presented those opportunities to be where he is right now," Muschamp siad. "I'm very pleased with where he is right now."

When Brantley went down, freshman Jeff Driskel was forced into action. After turning the ball over twice at Kentucky last week, the freshman struggled against one of the best defenses in America on Saturday night.

Muschamp didn't put that on his freshman, though.

"You've got to play well around him," he said. "We didn't protect very well. They got pressure with four guys rushing, so Jeff didn't have much of a chance. Generally, when you have a guy hitting you in the throat, sometimes you do overthrow (the receiver).

"You've got to give him a chance in the pocket. He didn't have much of a chance. He created the first down on third down there with a nice run, but he didn't have many opportunities with what we were doing."

Brantley was unable to put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the field. Without speculating on the severity of the injury, Muschamp knows his team will need to make some tweaks to the offense next week if Driskel is forced into action in a hostile environment like Baton Rouge.

"We'll go through that and make the best decisions for our football team," Muschamp said.

INJURY REPORT: Jeff Demps left with an ankle injury on a kickoff, but he returned later and said after the game that he was fine.

Starting safety Pop Saunders was "suspended for team rules" and wasn't dressed for the game. Muschamp said he will be back next week at LSU.

Despite reports of an injury during the week, Muschamp said that defensive end Sharrif Floyd and defensive tackle Dominique Easley weren't banged up during practice this week and that they were completely healthy for the game.

INABILITY TO RUN: Florida came into Saturday leading the SEC in rushing at 259 yards per game and coming off a 405-yard performance on the ground at Kentucky. The ground game wasn't existent against Alabama.

The Crimson Tide defense held Florida to 15 yards rushing. Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps each had four yards. The longest run of the night was Driskel's 31-yard scamper to convert a first down. In the first half, it was even worse. Brantley's four-yard scramble was Florida's longest run play before halftime.

"In the first half, we were able to move the ball pretty effectively through the air." Muschamp said. "You need to stay balanced against that team though."

When Brantley went down, it changed Florida's game plan for the second half. Instead of being comfortable with the downfield passing game that had so much success in the first half, the freshman was thrust into the fire against the dominant Alabama defense.

"When we lost John, that took the wind out of our sails as far as things we were doing in the run game," Muschamp said. "We've got to find different ways to run the ball and stay balanced in what we do, but we moved the ball effectively in the first half."

SLOWING DOWN THE TIDE: Making Trent Richardson pick up tough yards was the theme of the night, but the junior did just that. He bounced off Florida defenders and carried the pile of players that sometimes consisted of as many as five players.

He ended the game with 181 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Richardson also had 27 yards on two receptions.

"We were inconsistent stopping the run in the first half," Muschamp said. "Richardson is a good back, and we knew that going in. We've got to clean up some tackling."

The Florida pass rush was also inconsistent in getting to Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. The Gators didn't record a sack and had just two credited quarterback hurries. Muschamp didn't think that was completely his defense's fault.

"Off some of the play actions in six and seven-man protections, it's hard to get pressure," Muschamp said. "We did pressure and weren't very effective. He held the ball a lot. We've got to do a better job when we're rushing four. When we pressured, it was not effective. It really wasn't."

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