Lots of work ahead for Brantley and Gators' Defensive Line

The Florida Gators escaped Nashville with a win over Vanderbilt on Saturday and with the narrow 13-6 win comes a lot of questions on both sides of the ball. Up front on defense, the Gators know they need to get some work done with the younger guys that were forced to play a lot.

To be fair, the Florida defense gave up just two field goals in a game that the offense wasn’t much help. It is the fourth time in five games that the defense has held the opponent to a touchdown or less this season.

Still, Florida head coach Jim McElwain was quite clear there were several things they need to work on.

“I’m just happy we got a ‘W’,” a relieved Caleb Brantley said after the game. “Whatever he says we have to work on, we’re going to work on during the week and get better at it. Obviously we were missing some guys, but I thought we played well. We came out with a ‘W’ and that is all that matters. Individual stuff doesn’t matter.”

Brantley isn’t overly pleased with the way things have gone personally for himself, something he vows to improve as the season progresses.

“I honestly feel like I’m playing alright, I don’t think I am playing to the best of my ability,” he said. “We still have a lot of football left. You’ll see. The best is yet to come.”

Brantley finished with two tackles in the game and has just eight in the five games the Gators played. He did miss part of the Vanderbilt contest with a hand/ wrist injury, but finished. He’s been close several times when it comes to adding to the stat sheet, but says he just has to improve so that close becomes successful. Getting the sacks is something he wants, and close isn’t good enough.

“It’s very frustrating because sacks are hard to come by, especially in the SEC,” he said. “I just have to keep working during the week so I won’t come up short any more.  (Quarterback) pressures are not a stat everyone looks at, but it counts. That causes interceptions, misreads, all of that.

There was a point in the contest Saturday when all four starters Brantley, Joey Ivie, Bryan Cox, and Jordan Sherit were not in. The staff had to rely on younger and less experienced players to fill in and you could see that as a group they aren’t exactly ready. However individually, when they have someone else on the field they can lean on, they have played pretty well.

“I think they’re doing a great job,” Brantley said of the young guys. “They’re picking up the plays and acting like veterans out there. They’re doing a good job of coming along and doing a good job of understanding the playbook. They’re staying ready.”


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