Brantley, Gator Offense Coming Together

The grind of fall camp couldn't have ended sooner for John Brantley. The physical toll it takes on each player's body is one thing. The mental hurdles are what make it near impossible to think about anything other than football. The transition back to one practice a day added speed and strength to each player, and it's easy for the Florida quarterback to notice.

"In two-a-days, all you see is your teammates for two weeks," Brantley said. "To be able to get back out into class and into the real world a little bit, we feel a little less pressure and stress. Attitudes get brighter and you start to get your legs back under you. The attitude has definitely changed."

The Gators need wide receivers to continue to step up throughout the season. With changes coming to the offense since last season, Florida will need more receivers capable of being playmakers.

John Brantley hasn't used any straight quarterback runs because of the wildcat aspect Trey Burton and Jordan Reed bring to the offense. It took longer than expected, but the quarterback likes the way his offense is coming together.

"We're starting to figure things out as an offense," Brantley said. "We're trying to figure out who's playing and who's not playing."

The area of worry most prevalent in the Florida offense recently became the offensive line. Coming into fall practice, it looked like the position that had the most depth. That is now being challenged as left tackles Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan continue to miss full contact drills at practice.

"We did lose a couple good players, but with the trust I've built with (the second team) from being a backup, I trust those guys," Brantley said. "Now being with the ones, I trust those guys also. Whoever's there, and as long as Mike (Pouncey) is up there leading the charge, I feel pretty good."

Pouncey may not be leading the charge from center. The injuries may force him to move out to right tackle and Marcus Gilbert to switch to left tackle for the first few weeks of the season.

If Pouncey does make the switch outside, Sam Robey is next in line to play center. The chemistry between Brantley and both centers is nothing to worry about.

"It's a little bit different," Brantley said. "Mike's a little bit wider. Other than that, they're fine. I'm used to Sam because I've been taking snaps from Sam for two years. Over the summer, I took a lot of snaps from Mike. I'm used to both."

Brantley has also spent time working with the backup quarterbacks. His health will be a key issue for the Gators this fall, but if he goes down for any period of time, the team needs to prepare one of two freshmen to see playing time.

Tyler Murphy came to campus as an unheralded recruit that most thought would switch to wide receiver at some point in his career. Instead, he used fall camp to make noise at quarterback.

"He's learning every day," Brantley said. "He's a young guy who is definitely coming along. He comes to me with questions, and I don't mind helping him at all. He's proving it on the field. He has a real strong arm."

Trey Burton continues to impress regardless of what position he lines up at. He makes plays whether he is the wildcat quarterback, tight end or fullback.

"I've seen him down in a three-point stance, playing fullback in the I," Brantley said. "He's playing tight end, attached tight end, and detached tight end. He's doing a great job, and he loves it. He's a team guy. He tells me all the time, "whatever I can do to help this team, I will." I respect him a lot for that. He's doing a great job catching the ball and running."

This Sunday will be Brantley's final off-day before his first start as the Florida quarterback. There will be no elaborate plan or celebration on that final day. Instead, there are two objects Brantley plans to spend plenty of time with.

"My bed and pillow," Brantley said with a grin. "Just relax. Maybe some golf, you never know."

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