John Brantley to Return For Senior Season: What The Gators Need to Do to Be Successful Under Will Muschamp

According to the Orlando Sentinel, John Brantley will return to Gainesville for his senior season.

This is good news for Florida, despite Brantley’s shaky (and that’s generous) 2010. Now, at least they don’t have to break in a first year starter. Even better, Brantley’s high school offense at Trinity was nearly identical to the one that Charlie Weis plans to use, and Brantley rode that pass happy offense to a National Player of the Year Award in 2006.

So we know that Brantley will be the man come that Florida Atlantic game.

What else do the Gators have to do in order to be successful under Will Muschamp?

1) Red Zone defense must be lights out

Obviously, we hope that no opponent ever gets inside the Forida 20, but face it, it’s going to happen. This is where the really good defenses and the fantastic defenses are separated- in the red zone.

The Gators cannot allow walk in touchdowns like they did during 2010. Because let’s face it, as awful as Steve Addazio’s offense was, the defense wasn’t exactly fantastic. Oh, it was decent, sure, but we Gator fans don’t like decency, do we? 8-5 is decent, and we’re all pissed off because we lost those 5  games. I’m not saying we should change; that’s just who we are.

Anyway, four plays in particular from last year stand out. The first two was Marcus Lattimore shooting through huge holes for TD’s, the third was Mark Ingram walking to the end zone via a gigantic gap on the right sideline, and the fourth- and probably most embarrassing- was the entire team either overpursuing Jordan Jefferson or getting pancaked allowing him to walk in for a TD on a play-action pass- right up the middle.

That’s just disgraceful. Watch for yourself if you can take it. The three plays I mentioned are at :46/2:54, 1:35, and 4:14

The red zone, for a defense as talented as the Gators, is where a team should be at its best. For also-ran teams like Rutgers, Penn State, Vanderbilt, etc. that’s not the case. But for the Gators- and especially for a defensive guru like Will Muschamp- the defense grows more comfortable.


Mainly because when a defense of this level of talent has its back to the wall, the opposing offense has less room to take deep shots. So now there are only two types of passes to defend: short passes that Muschamp’s defenses have been known to eat up, and the medium pass has limits because the safeties don’t have to worry about anything going over their heads. This is also why a deep pass isn’t an option.

2) Muschamp Has to Reestablish the Swamp

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing about 2010 was that Florida lost three night games in the Swamp, boom boom boom, to Mississippi State, South Carolina, and LSU, three historically mediocre teams (although in the last decade LSU has risen above mediocre).

Until last year, however, Urban Meyer was 32-2 at home. That’s got to resume with Muschamp. I can live with losing one game at home next year- Alabama. And I do believe that Florida should win that game at home. If it was a road game, I’d say that we have about a 2% chance.

But this is… the SWAMP. Home of the… FLORIDA GATORS. There are… EXPECTATIONS. And those expectations include winning about 95% of our home games.

If the Gators want a shot at the national championship, they’ve got to run the table at home, (including Georgia), they have to steal two of the three road games (South Carolina, Auburn and LSU) and avoid too many close calls against cupcakes like Kentucky, Vanderbilt, FAU, Furman, etc.

Which do you think is the easiest: going 7-0 at home, going 3-1 in SEC road games (the Gators also travel to Kentucky) and blasting 2 out of every 3 teams on the schedule?

Well, Florida must take the first step. I mean, if they go undefeated in the Swamp, the absolute worst they can do is 7-5. Then they have to take the next two steps.

But Urban Meyer couldn’t take the first step last year. Let’s see if he can make the Swamp a place where only Gators get out alive once again.

3) Muschamp has to develop his “thing”

I know, that’s kind of vague. Let me give yall examples. Charlie Pell first came up with the Gator Chomp. Steve Spurrier created the motto “The Swamp: Where Only Gators Get Out Alive”. Ron Zook invented, well, teasing Gator fans by hauling in great recruits and then underperforming like no other. Urban Meyer instituted the blue out against big opponents (which only failed once in 13 tries).

What’s Muschamp’s deal going to be?

Wouldn’t you think that a guy like Muschamp would have some exciting new things in store?

This is vital to recruiting, and Muschamp probably knows that. Recruits would love to hear “Come along to Florida, and join me as we set out to restore Gator football to what it was and more!” The recruit will probably ask what he means by “and more” because Florida won won 3 National Championships, and unless a playoff is instituted, there’s nowhere higher to go. So this is where Muschamp tells his recruits about his “thing”.

4) Florida has to snap the ball right

I know, I know, it’s over. Or is it? This may be obvious, but since we had an All-American guard not being able to snap it right last year, it’s worth a mention here. This shouldn’t be a problem, I really don’t think it will be at all, but you’ve got to be wary of it.

5) Florida’s ground game must hit the home run at least once a game

The threat has to be there. Demps, Rainey, Debose, Gillislee, Brown, Blakeley, the talent is here, Charlie Weis just has to use it.

The only problem I have with Charlie Weis- and it’s a major one- is that when he’s in a tight situation, his play-calling can be as predictable as Addazio’s (oh, no, it can’t be!!!) But Weis gets pass happy in crunch time, and stays with it every time.

As predictable as his game on the line play-calling might be, it’s still a major upgrade from Steve Addazio. So obviously I’d like to keep him here.

This is where the running game comes in. The Gators have to break off a big play early, so that smart defensive coordinators- especially Kirby- know that he risks a 70 yard TD run by blitzing, and the dumb ones, well, their defenses can’t be too good if they’re stupid because they’re probably at Furman.

6) Brantley must take a deep shot every first quarter

Again, this threat must be existent in order for the Gators offense to survive and thrive. Last year, the box was loaded with more explosives than the Enola Gay.

Obviously, Weis will probably be happy to do this so that every time the opposing DC calls a play, he’ll have to accept the risk of blitzing- again.

7) Offensive line must give Brantley/Driskel at least 4 seconds to throw 90% of his passes

The o-line was awful last year, even with 4 returning starters. For that, we can all blame Steve Addazio. But talent wasn’t the issue. Rather, it was scheming and knowing what to do and where to block. I’m not even sure Addazio knows what an a-gap is.

This year, it’s got to give Brantley ample time to make the type of plays that won him the Player of the Year Award in High School.

8) Brantley must make good decisions

Has anybody noticed how the last few topics have segued into this one? There’s a reason for that. I’ve tried defending Brantley, because he’s dealt with being a backup to Tim Tebow for three years only months after he was voted Player of the Year. Obviously, Florida wasn’t about to bench Tebow, but think about that for a minute. You blow everybody away in the National Player of the Year Award voting, you’re the top QB recruit in the nation, and suddenly, BAM!!! You’re sitting as the #3 QB behind Tim Tebow and Cameron Newton.

That would damage the confidence of pretty much everybody.

So I was patient with him, because he is pretty talented and grew up a UF fan.

But in all honesty, he was very inaccurate in crunch time. He made some terrible decisions, none worse than catching the deflected pass against South Carolina for a 15 yard loss. He’s got to learn to think better in big time situations.

9) Tim Tebow must be erased from the memories

You think it’s going to help Brantley’s confidence to see a big fat sign “TIM TEBOW, 2007 HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER”? Some say it might inspire him, but the guy’s self esteem is clearly as frail as the crystal ball that Florida dropped as a prank (well… there are all sorts of rumors about what really happened). Talking to Tebow on the phone to receive the news that Tebow believes in him is one thing, but being slapped across the face with a reminder of Tebow’s success is quite another.

Look. Tim Tebow was hands down the best player in the history of college football. But unfortunately, he no longer plays for the Florida Gators. Those days are over. Florida needs to concentrate on the HERE and NOW instead of remembering the glory of THEN. Because reliving past National Championships is not going to produce more in the future.

10) Special Teams must remain special

It’s no coincidence that Urban Meyer’s teams won all 16 games where they blocked a punt.

It’s no coincidence that Brandon James, the most dynamic kick/punt returner in the history of the game (well, he might share that distinction with Billy Cannon and Devin Hester) was a member of the most successful senior class of all time, either.

And it’s no coincidence that Chas Henry won the Ray Guy Award in Urban Meyer’s final season.

Looks to me Meyer had something going there.

Now it’s Muschamp’s turn to carry the torch that burns opposing special teams. He will run the defense and the special teams as well in 2011. The key is utilizing speed by putting the fastest guys on the edges to get the block, and Chris Rainey should return kicks and punts. At least, he’s the favorite for 2011 as of now.


Before I sign off, I want to publically blast any Florida fan who wants John Brantley’s head. You need to support him if you expect anything good in 2011. Remember in 2008 and 2009, when Tennessee fans started a site, and he started to really suck? And remember how he sucked any more once he received actual death threats?

You guys are classier than that. It’s different from Addazio, because he’s a professional who had called plays for 4 years prior to 2010 and had plenty of time to learn and correct himself. Rip on him all you please. But even with him, I don’t want to kill him.

So to the jerkoff who thinks he is being cute by putting up, take it down, if you haven’t already.

Support him, at least until it’s proven that he really does suck and that it wasn’t Addazio’s fault.

20 thoughts on “John Brantley to Return For Senior Season: What The Gators Need to Do to Be Successful Under Will Muschamp

  1. I agree with everything but #9. Tebow is our golden child he will never be forgotten. I agree with you on blasting Brantley, I will support the guy for now. If he stinks it up I will go right back to my old ways. Go Gators let’s shoot for taking back the East.

  2. Neil as always you had me and then you lost me. 1. There is no way you compare a high school offense with NFL pro-sets and call them identical.
    2. The Swamp is fine we don’t need to reestablish it, yes we did not get out alive but really when did we ever get out alive this season no matter where we played. Even in the games we won I felt like we lost.
    3. If your gonna blast anybody it should be yourself. You already stated that John is terribly inaccurate in crunch time and does not read defenses well. Maybe there’s a reason he sat behind Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. Its funny how Cam was able to transfer to Auburn learn the offense and win a national title( 1 year) while John can’t even manage his timeouts or call an audible in an offense he’s been in for 4 years. Watch Brantley when he sees the blitz coming, you’ll see the reincarnation of Brody Croyle; stop drop and go to feeble position. If Brantley gets better great but don’t feed me this crap about not blasting Brantley. He blasted himself already, not with his play but with his lack of leadership. Matt Sims( TN QB) had a similar season to Brantley but you don’t see him on the sidelines auditioning for the Blair Witch Project 3

  3. I’m glad that John is staying. The guy had one hell of a crappy season last year but I think he can do well in Weis’s Offense next year. Of course this isn’t a certainty at all because of his confidence issues but I’m hoping for the best.
    Let’s go John!

  4. Nearly identical does not mean identical… they were similar… but there were differences.

    The Swamp is fine??? We just lost THREE NIGHT GAMES IN A ROW… but even when we weren’t this good we didn’t lose back to back to back night games at home.

    I’m just saying that you have to give Brantley a chance and that people shouldn’t publically post websites threatening to kill him. My point was that it killed his confidence, not that he should have started over them.

  5. Tebow is our golden child but he doesn’t play for us anymore. Staring at his name on the wall in the Swamp is not going to bring home any more championships.

    Obviously, we will always wish him the best but come preparation time and game time he has to be erased from memory. Again, I love Tebow and what he did for UF but he’s gone and if we keep letting his memory haunt us, we’re going to be in deep trouble.

    Of course, we have Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis now, but still….

  6. I understand what you mean in regards to Tebow. What I’m saying is Tebow will not be forgotten. I understand he isn’t walking through that door anymore but he legacy will be something our current players strive for. Even at the Underarmor practices they were calling Driskel, Tebow every time he mad a big play.

  7. Like I said earlier Brantley’s leash is very short. If Weis can turn him around he’s the best QB coach on this earth.

  8. Ok I agree he should get a chance and will get a chance and so will Driskell.

    The Swamp is not in the same condition that the Zooker left it. When Meyer said that we barely had an above 500 record in the swamp over the past 4 years. Its not like that now, it was one bad season. We got thrashed by every decent team we played except LSU and I’m not counting Miss st. cause I don’t think there that good. All I’m saying is let’s not over react it’s one bad year, if the Swamp still has glitches next year then we might have something.

  9. I know that I’m just saying that during preparation for gameday and on gameday itself Florida has to forget about Tebow. After the game, during the pregame meal, whatever, yes, Tebow has a legacy in the UF program. But it cannot be in the minds of the players as they play.

  10. Remembering the here and now would mean sitting Brantley.

    Erase Tim Tebow because it might hurt JBs confidence ? To hell with JB. If it wasn’t Tebow it would be Spurrier and Wuerffel. Playing QB at Florida will always have ridiculous expectations, and if Brantley can’t handle it, the answer isn’t to throw a shroud over the legends.

    Brantley is a disaster, plain and simple. A lot of his sacks were his OWN fault because he’s an imbecile.

    Oh, and why is nobody else mentioning this – his FATHER said he’s coming back. His FATHER does his important talking for him. Yes, I know, his father is Florida legacy. However, who the hell would trust someone to lead their team to victory who has to get his daddy to speak for him.

    I still think there’s more to Meyer’s departure than we’re told and it centers around the Brantleys. Why did Meyer more or less stop recruiting QBS when the “Florida legacy” arrived?

    Brantley’s father seems to be a very “present” presence. That’s a polite way of saying intrusive and meddlesome.

    F8ck John Brantley, the paper mache milqtoast so called QB – I’d rather take my chances sticking sticking Jeremy Brown at QB than to rely on that indecisive folding crybaby for one more snap.

    I won’t support Brantley because it wasn’t all Adazzio’s fault. Adazzio was bad, no doubt, but he was also limited because his QB was USELESS.

    Adazzio can call plays – we all saw the Sugar Bowl.

    Yeah, the line had some lapses this year, but a LOT of Brantley’s sacks were not just from holding it for too long, but a lot of pressure came simple from his complete inability to make the hot, and people kept coming until he could make the hot.

    As far as the snaps, yes, there was that opening game disaster, but overall Mike Pouncey’s snaps weren’t that much worse than his brother’s – the main difference was, Maurkice had a very athletic human destroyer who’d just scoop the ball and look for someone to plow into, whereas Mike had a timid little boy who needs his daddy to speak for him.

    Sorry, this entry is based on the announcement of Brantley returning to Florida – an announcement made by his daddy.

  11. thebone first of all I’m not even sure that was Addazio. That may have been Scott Loeffler. But even if it was Addazio, fantastic, he was calling plays against a Big East team, the worst conference in football. Plus he had Tim Tebow, Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernandez, and the most successful senior class in history. The Gators should have put up 51 points every time. By you defending Addazio you have either not paid attention to the past two years or you’re being paid to defend him.

    Of course, it’s not ALL on Addazio- but at least 85-90% of it is. 7 points against Mississippi State, South Carolina, Florida State, basically 7 against LSU and Miami Ohio (UF’s scores came off a pick 6, a 10 yard drive, a 4 yard drive, a 73 yard run by Demps and a ball that bounced off someone’s shoulder and luckily right into Chris Rainey’s hands), -1 against Alabama-

    How the hell can you defend this moron?

    As far as the bad snaps, there was also one against Tennessee, one against Alabama, one against LSU, two against Mississippi State, one against Vanderbilt, two against South Carolina, one against Florida State and even one in the bowl game.

    I will say that Brantley time as UF’s starter is ticking away. I’d say he has three games to impress people before Florida turns to Driskel or Reed.

  12. Oops sorry guys the video showing the walk in TD’s in called Florida Gators 2010: Train Wreck

  13. @ THE BONE

    Man you deserve a medal for that message! People often say now Brantley will thrive because this new offense fits his skill set, the guy doesn’t have a skill set. The offense was modified for Leak and Brantley can’t hold that man’s jock strap. The alumni would rather lose games with sorry azz Brantley than to play someone better. Why do you think Newton left, it wasn’t that laptop scam and it wasn’t his grades I promise that! We all know Jordan reed should have been a QB in that offense not a freaking TE. Brantley’s play has to get better Weis will help, but until the guy is benched we can’t compete in the SEC. I wish my daddy could just call up the higher ups and have Driskel start from day 1.

  14. Neil, your reply lacks anything close to resembling logic.

    1. Scott Loeffler called the plays ? Are you f’ing kidding me ? A QB coach, who was a token hire specifically to attract recruits (since JB was all that was left) because his resume can claim he coached Tom Brady. Yeah, and Jeremy Foley called the D.

    2. I am not defending Adazzio so much as I am rightfully placing some of the blame on JB. Although, I did take great amusement in watching you say I defended Adazzio, simply because I put some blame on JB then you turned around and said it’s not all Adazzio. Good work.

    3. I am not sure you know what a bad snap is. Maurkice uncorked plenty. The difference was Tebow was an elite athletie who’d scoop it and haul ass, making it look like a designed run.

    4. The Big East argument. The weakness of the Big East explains the 31 completions; it doesn’t explain the 35 attempts.

    Now for everyone, enough of the “had to follow Tebow” nonsense.

    This wasn’t a case of him paling in comparison.

    This wasn’t Doug Johnson/Noah Brindise/Jesse Palmer following Danny Wuerffel.

    It wasn’t Ingle Martin or Chris Leak following Rex Grossman.

    It wasn’t even 2009 Tebow vs 2008 vs 2007.

    It was not a case of someone not living up to standards. I was a case of someone not being cut out for the big time, where they don’t let you wear red jerseys and play touch football against you.

    Answer this honestly – is there anyone here who’d take Brantley over Johnson, Brindise, Palmer or Leak ?

    I wouldn’t take him over Terry Dean. Hell, I’d take Brock Berlin over Brantley.

    Brantley is terrible because he’s terrible, NOT because of expectations. Terrible because of expectations would be 2500 yards, 25 tds, and a int + strip sack costing them the SEC title game.

    What Brantley did was a kind of suckage not seen since the pre Spurriera

    If anyone thinks I am defending Adazzio, I invite you to read my website

    More specifically, the preseason >

    After weekend 1 >

    October swoon >

  15. OK the Loeffler thing was a rumor as I said that I was not SURE if he called those plays… I did not say that it WAS Loeffler that’s just a rumor going around.

    JB had a horrible season, but like Ryan said, the offense ran did not help him a bit.

    As for the bad snaps, you cannot say that was Brantley’s fault. Especially in the opening game. I know Maurkice wasn’t perfect either, but at least they were in the ballpark. But your argument doesn’t explain the bad snap to Jordan Reed in the Outback Bowl. I mean, according to you, shouldn’t Reed have been able to scoop it up and made a big play with it?

    I’m done arguing, because there’s no debate that the snaps need to get better next year I don’t care if Tebow receives a 5th year of eligibility and returns to the college game, the center still has to snap the ball to him. Ignore it if you want, but we’ll see who’s more shocked if Jeff Driskel needs a soccer net to haul in snaps.

  16. I didn’t say the snaps were Brantley’s fault. I said bad snaps were nothing new, thus it’s not an excuse for why he was so much worse than Tebow.

    Also, when did I say Tebow made big plays with bad snaps ?

    Neil, if you are going to present something on a blog where there’s a possibility you may be be challenged/argued with, for the love of god, learn how to read replies properly.

    I said he’d haul ass like a designed run – that in no way even comes close to implying he made big plays out of bad snaps.

  17. All the arguments and counter arguments in the world really are superfluous.

    All we need to answer is this –

    Do you want your team being “led” by a guy who needs his daddy to speak on his behalf ?

  18. I agree to on not blasting Brantley, hes got talent just needs the coaches to care to bring it out of him, instead of be selfish and run their own style. I laughed, but addazio was even asked once about the Oline not giving enough time to brantley to throw, and he said its not apart of the game plan, hes gotta get it out faster???? Like seriously?

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