Loeffler making a difference
Published: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 5:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 5:03 p.m.
While Tim Tebow was rehabbing his surgically repaired right shoulder this winter, No. 2 quarterback John Brantley was working with the Florida receivers almost every day. Throwing, throwing, throwing.
This spring, with Tebow and Brantley being the only quarterbacks taking reps in practice, it's been more of the same for Brantley. His right arm never rests.
In the past, all this passing would have taken a punishing toll on Brantley's shoulder and elbow. But now, he's zipping the ball all over the practice field with no strain, no pain.
"I've always had elbow and should problems, since high school," said the former Ocala Trinity Catholic star. "Lately, I've been throwing a lot, but my elbow and shoulder are feeling good. I can barely tell I'm using my arm now."
He credits his live arm to new quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who has changed the footwork and mechanics of Brantley and Tebow, and has the two throwing more with their legs and bodies than they have in the past.
"He's teaching us mechanics that Tim and I didn't know about at all," Brantley said. "It's helped us out so much. I'm throwing the ball hard, throwing the ball more accurately. Everything. He's helped us out a lot. It's much more natural.
"We're just throwing more with our entire body instead of just our arm. It's making a big difference."
Loeffler came to UF with a reputation for developing quarterbacks. He helped mentor three quarterbacks at Michigan who are now in the NFL - Tom Brady, Brian Griese and Chad Henne.
Now, Loeffler is teaching and tweaking and working to unlock the full potential of Tebow and Brantley.
Tebow won the Heisman in 2007. Brantley was considered one of the best pure passers coming out of high school two years ago. But a little change apparently has been good for both.
Tebow and Brantley have been extremely sharp throwing the ball this spring, and Tebow's release appears much smoother (and less side-armed).
"Regardless what quarterback I have, whether I have Tim, John or the other quarterbacks I've worked with, you're constantly trying to work on fundamentals," Loeffler said. "There have been a few things we've been working on with our footwork, with our motion, and we're going to continue to clean those things up and get us in a position to go compete for the SEC championship."
One of the priorities this spring is getting Tebow and Brantley to throw more with their bodies and legs.
"Throwing a football is exactly like hitting a golf ball - it's all body," Loeffler said. "What we're trying to do is incorporate the lower half into the throwing mechanics, so that's what we're working on."
Loeffler also has adjusted Tebow's throwing motion. In the past, Tebow tended to have a release point that was low and somewhat flat. This spring, his delivery has been noticeably more overhand. He seems to be throwing more spirals, and his accuracy has been good.
"We're working on all kinds of fundamental things," Loeffler said. "I can sit here and be as technical as you want to be. We're trying to get him at a 10 o'clock release point, and he's doing a good job with it.
"He throws the ball well enough. We're just trying to improve him a little bit more."
Brantley said he's seen big difference in Tebow's passing this spring.
"He's improved a ton," Brantley said. "Being with him for two years, and now watching him with Coach Loeffler, he's improved greatly. Tim is cleaning up the little stuff he wasn't working on before. It's coming together real nice for him. Coach Loeffler knows his stuff, and he's teaching us. It's been a lot of fun working with him."
With only two quarterbacks taking snaps this spring, Tebow and Brantley are getting a lot of personal attention from their position coach.
"He's coaching us up every single play, which is unbelievable," Brantley said. "He's teaching us so much."
Contact Robbie Andreu at 374-5022 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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