The benefit for John Brantley is that he has been learning for three seasons. He took a redshirt during his first season on campus and played over the past two seasons in mop up duty. In two seasons serving as the primary backup for Tim Tebow, Brantley went 54-76 (71%), throwing for 645 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.
The difference this season comes in being viewed as the man. Brantley becomes the face of Florida football in 2010. The media demands, time spent signing autographs and public speaking appearances now become part of his daily routine.
Brantley has been learning from one of the best at handling the extracurricular responsibilities of playing quarterback at Florida. Tebow set the bar high, being involved with local prison ministries and fulfilling countless speaking engagements. Playing quarterback for the Gators isn't only about what happens in The Swamp on Saturdays.
The offense will see some tweaks that better fit Brantley's skill set. The Gators will use him under center more often, using play action and straight drop backs to incorporate his pro-style quarterback talent.
The pure option is a staple of the spread offense Urban Meyer uses, but it should be scaled back for Brantley. Tebow could take the pounding that constant dose of run plays dished out. While there's no proof whether or not Brantley can handle it, the depth behind him doesn't warrant the risk.
Brantley has passed all the offseason leadership tests. He continues to spend time in the offseason throwing passes with the wide receivers. The challenge is for Brantley to become more of a vocal leader. He has always been the type who leads by example, but he has elevated his ability to take control of the huddle in the offseason.
There is a budding sense of optimism around the wide receivers about playing with Brantley. It isn't a slight to Tebow in any way, but the offense looks like it will see some twists that will benefit the receivers.
True freshman quarterback Trey Burton has drawn rave reviews. He has been called one of the hardest working freshmen on campus right now, and Burton has been doing it since the spring when he enrolled early.
He was one of the most improved players overall in the spring. Even with that improvement, he isn't ready to take the reigns of the Florida offense this fall, although he could see the field to provide a running threat at quarterback. Burton is a terror in the weight room and with that, coaches will find a way to get him on the field in the coming seasons. He is a powerful runner who showed he wasn't afraid to lower his helmet in spring practices, despite wearing a red, no-contact jersey.
His fellow freshman quarterback, Tyler Murphy, is further away from seeing the field. He is raw, but there is no doubting his athleticism. The coaches will find a place for him, regardless of the position.
Jordan Reed is the wild card at quarterback. He spent time as the wildcat quarterback for the Gators in the spring, but he isn't your typical wildcat player who struggles to throw the ball. He redshirted last season while taking snaps at quarterback before moving to the tight end position mid-season.
Reed threw the ball during spring practice and had success doing it. The passes were mostly on target and showed he can be a real threat there. That should give opposing defenses a nightmare situation trying to defend him
BREAKOUT PLAYER: To go away from the obvious selection of Brantley, I'll take Reed. I think this wildcat formation offers something unique. He is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, but he throws a pretty ball as well. He could be the perfect compliment to Brantley for a few plays each game.
On Point with Bob Redman: Anyone expecting to see a diminutive quarterback in Brantley will be badly mistaken. He is all of 6-3 and 225-plus pounds and has really made his body into a SEC prototype build.
Brantley will have to run in the offense, but as Cody said, he is out there to throw the ball and he will throw it as well as anyone has here. It is simply a matter of taking the offense by the reins and leading a relatively inexperienced receiving corps.
Trey Burton was a surprise to everyone in the spring and will get a good dose of playing time in the fall. He doesn't throw the prettiest ball, but he makes up for it by putting himself in great position to throw it, or running the ball very effectively. I will take Burton as my breakout player at quarterback and we saw a lot of what he can do in the spring game.
Jordan Reed won't scare defenses early, but when the staff decides to surprise someone and let him throw it as the wildcat quarterback, defenses will suddenly take note. Reed won't be asked to read defenses as the quarterback. But he will drop back and throw it deep when defenses try and stop him running the ball.
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