Brantley's arm, leg healing

Florida quarterback John Brantley. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:57 p.m.

Florida quarterback John Brantley missed practice Monday to rest his injured throwing arm, but he is scheduled to return today and his arm is expected to be 100 percent for Saturday's game at South Carolina.

“He's fine,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “He just got a funny hit on it. He probably could have gone back in (against Vanderbilt last Saturday). I told him just sit down and we'll let (true freshman) Jacoby (Brissett) finish it.

“It was one of those things, a funny injury, nothing serious at all.”

Brantley injured his arm midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday's game and did not return. After the game, Muschamp would not reveal what the injury was or how serious it might be.

On Monday, Brantley said he just took a hard shot on the upper part of his right arm and that it was bruised and sore.

“Right now, it's just bruised up, nothing really bad,” Brantley said. “It just didn't feel right. The trainers thought it would be best to hold me.

“I honestly think I could have (gone back in the game). The trainers feel a day of rest will be beneficial.”

Brantley is not the only Gator returning this week. Middle linebacker Jelani Jenkins (concussion) and outside linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder) practiced Monday. Tailback Chris Rainey (ankle), offensive tackle Chaz Green (ankle) and offensive guard Dan Wenger (ankle) are scheduled to practice today, Muschamp said.

Not only is Brantley's arm feeling better, so is his injured ankle that sidelined him for two games (LSU and Auburn) and limited him in some capacity in two others (Georgia and Vanderbilt).

“I'm close (to being able to take snaps under center),” he said. “It's feeling better and better each and every day and each week. When we feel I can do that at 100 percent, then we will (line up under center again).”

In the meantime, Brantley will continue to operate out of the pistol offense that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis installed the week before the Vanderbilt game. In the formation, Brantley lines up shallow in the shotgun with one or two running backs behind him.

Brantley said the formation allowed the Gators to run the same plays they were running earlier in the season before Brantley sustained a high ankle sprain in the first half of the Alabama game.

“It's the same offense, just from the gun,” Brantley said. “It's the same I-formation, we're just in the gun. It just changes (my) footwork because it's from the gun.”

In the pistol formation, the Gators were able to re-establish their running game in the 26-21 victory over Vanderbilt. UF also had success running inside the tackles for the first time since before the Alabama game.

“It gives you the downhill running game,” Muschamp said. “You can get out of the lateral run game. You can run the off-tackle power and the leads inside as opposed to sitting east and west. It's a downhill north and south (running game).

“We're a different offense when we're able to run the play-actions off of that. We were able to get some two-back, play-actions and create some throwing seams down the field (against Vanderbilt).

“It helps us in protection with our offensive line. When you're able to do those things it gets the defense off-kilter a little bit. That's where it's been good for us.”

Muschamp said there's a chance Brantley could go back under center against South Carolina.

“Possibly,” he said. “We'll continue to progress through the week. The issue we get into is if you don't do it on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, it's hard to start doing it on Thursday.

“It's hard to all of a sudden get your operation under center and the timing of the passing game. As we move into (today), we'll know more.”

The pistol worked well against Vanderbilt, but Muschamp said he prefers to have his quarterback taking snaps from under center.

“That's what you really want to be,” he said. “Being able to be effective running the ball, the play-actions off of it. I still think they're better from under center.”

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