Brantley could find comfort zone in Weis' offense
Published: Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.
After spending four years in the spread-option offense, everything is new now, and it all seems a little complicated at the moment.
But John Brantley sees where this is going.
Straight to the comfort zone.
“I think (I'm going to be) pretty comfortable,” the senior Florida quarterback said Thursday. “This is more my style. This is what I do, drop back and throw it.
“We have some great running backs to take the pressure off everything else. All around, I think it's going to be a great thing.”
As everyone knows, the way the Florida Gators played offense under Urban Meyer was not Brantley's style. A true drop-back passer, he never really fit into the concept of running the option and executing a short, relatively unsophisticated passing game.
With the coaching change came a big change in Brantley's football career. And his name is Charlie Weis, the former Notre Dame coach and longtime NFL offensive coordinator/quarterback developer who was hired by Will Muschamp to install a new pro-style offense at Florida.
“Coach Weis is a genius with offense,” Brantley said. “He's going to do great things here. This whole new coaching staff is going to do great things here.”
Some of his offensive teammates say they can already see a change in Brantley.
“I feel like Brantley is loving this offense,” sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose said. “He's enjoying every second of it. Him and Coach Weis, those two are enjoying each other a lot. I can tell, they're bonding a lot.”
Said senior wide receiver Deonte Thompson: “The offense will be a great fit for (Brantley), a great fit.”
The spread was an awkward fit for Brantley, and it showed once he took over as the starter last season. He struggled from the start, lost some of his playing time to true freshman Trey Burton and redshirt freshman Jordan Reed, and eventually seemed to lose his confidence.
It was such a rough year that when it was over, there was speculation the lifelong Gator considered going somewhere else for his senior season.
But once Muschamp hired Weis, Brantley wasn't going anywhere.
“There was never a day when I wasn't coming back,” Brantley said. “I never left, I never decided to leave, because I want to be a Gator. I just decided this is still the place I want to be and this is where I am.”
It's a different offense and a different outlook for Brantley now.
He will never come out and say it, but it was obvious his confidence eroded over the course of last season. And a quarterback has no chance when his confidence leaves.
“That's the past,” Brantley said. “I've moved on. What's good about this coaching staff is you start anew, you start from scratch and build from there.”
In Weis, Brantley will be working one-on-one with one of the best and most respected quarterback coaches in football. He has a tremendous track record for developing quarterbacks, including Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, and most recently, Matt Cassel with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cassel was pretty much a broken quarterback when Weis arrived in Kansas City a year ago, and he ended up going to the Pro Bowl this season in place of the injured Brady.
“It's real exciting,” Brantley said of the opportunity to be coached by Weis. “He's got a great track record. You can put a lot of trust in his hands because he knows what he's doing. He's got a track record to show it.”
Brantley and Weis have already started bonding
“(Our relationship) is pretty good right now,” Brantley said. “We haven't had too much time together. But the time spent has been good. He's a real cool guy.
“He loves to coach us hard. He understands how we are. He's going to do great things here.”
There's a chance for Brantley to do the same.