UF Odds and Ends: Brantley Turning Heads

Florida fans hope they won't see John Brantley need to start a game before 2010, but the redshirt sophomore's already making waves on the college football scene. In a recent interview with WSPZ radio in Birmingham, CBS's SEC color analyst Gary Danielson was asked which conference quarterback he'd feel most confident about other than UF's Tim Tebow and Jevan Snead of Ole Miss.

"If I had to have a third quarterback in this league, you know who I would want? John Brantley, the backup at Florida." said Danielson. "I think he has the potential to be better than any other quarterback in this league. He is a very gifted football player."

Brantley's not letting the accolades go to his head, but he does expect to be an improved player this season.

"I think I've grown up and matured as a person and as a quarterback. I've learned so much more about this offense now than I knew a year ago."

MEET THE GATOR DOUBTERS

Two of the 60 voters in the Associated Press poll opted to put Florida in the second spot behind Texas: Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, but these guys are definitely out of the mainstream.

Gorman's ballot contained several head scratchers that make you wonder if he's seen SEC football lately. He left Georgia off his ballot altogether, the only voter to do so, while putting Tennessee 16th. The Vols turned up on just two other ballots, at 23 and 24. Gorman also had Ohio State fourth, higher than all but two voters. He didn't publish anything explaining his decision making process.

Giglio has a history of intentionally going against the conventional wisdom. He chose Louisville as his preseason No. 1 team back in 2005, for example. Unlike Gorman, Giglio has Georgia a surprising sixth in his rankings. In a column for his paper, Giglio expressed his belief that Texas will win because the game is in Pasadena. That's where the Longhorns won their 2005 title against a defending champ, which UF would be in this scenario. No, seriously, that was his reason.

LEAK FINALLY SEES ACTION

Chris Leak, who led Florida to the 2006 national title, has been trying to get his pro career going since then after going undrafted. He went to training camp with the Chicago Bears in 2007, but didn't survive the cut to the final roster. The next career move was supposed to be returning to The Swamp to be QB for the Florida team in the All American Football League, but then that venture folded before it was able to play a game.

After the AAFL fell apart, Leak made his way north of the border. He's been the third string quarterback of the Montreal Alouettes this season in the CFL, but this past weekend Leak finally got to hit the field. His first official play as a pro came on a third and goal situation in the third quarter. Leak rolled out and threw a touchdown pass for what turned out be the game's winning points. His chance came because of an injury to another player who Gator fans will remember - ex-FSU quarterback Adrian McPherson.


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