Defenses beating up Brantley


There’s good news and bad news for Florida quarterback John Brantley.

The good news is his ribs are feeling much better and he’s practicing at full speed this week.

The bad news is those tender ribs might be taking some more shots in Saturday night’s game against Mississippi State.

With the threat of the big play missing in the UF offense the past two games, opposing defenses have put a bunch of players close to the line of scrimmage and sent all kinds of blitzes at Brantley looking for sacks and big (defensive) plays. Brantley was pressured into throwing a pick-six against Alabama two weeks ago. Last Saturday, he was sacked three times by LSU and pressured and hit more times than he wasn’t went he dropped back to pass.

Brantley likely will face a similar onslaught from the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Mississippi State has produced only 10 sacks this season, but the Bulldogs are one of those crazy blitzing teams that will blitz and blitz and blitz, sending all sorts of different players firing into the backfield from all sorts of different directions.

“Oh, yeah, (they’re a heavy blitzing team from every angle),” UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said. “They bring it from everywhere. You’ve got to adjust to all that.”

One way to slow down a blitzing defense is to hit some big plays on it. The Gators haven’t had much luck doing that, especially with tailback and home-run threat Jeff Demps out for most of the past three games with a sprained foot.

Demps is practicing this week and could be close to 100 percent, which certainly would take some of the heat off Brantley. Another player who could help is redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose, who showed the coaches he’s a playmaker with his 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The coaches have said this week they hope to get Debose more involved in the offense in this game (and for the rest of the season).

The Gators will be looking to bust someone loose on offense Saturday night. If it doesn’t happen, Brantley might be getting busted in the ribs (and elsewhere) once again.


  1. Coming up with big plays to counter blitzes and to use surprise to its advantage is what top Offensive Coordinators do. It has not been demonstrated that UF has that kind of capability on its coaching staff. Rather, we still seem to be running a very predictable offense designed for talent different than we have. Even with the injuries, we have the playmakers to implement a good plan, but we aren’t using them effectively. Case in point, Carl Moore. He doesn’t have 20 recptions yet this season but he catches everything thrown to him. Can’t we design more than one play to utilize his talents? Perhaps throw occassionally on first down ? (gasp). I’m weary of “it’s all going well but we just have to work harder to get better.”

  2. I do remember when charlie strong was in his first years as D C & how bad the defense was & how there were calls to sack him as DC–Same with Dan Mullen in his first few years…

    I am hoping Addazio & Austin can get things together as well-and that UMeyer can step up a gear or two & get this team rolling again– It is NOT like he doesn’t have the players…

  3. It’s been six games already SA is just now going to find big plays??? The same coach that coaches the OL that had problems blocking the mighty Miami of Ohio who says he likes what he sees in the OL, the experienced OL that was to be the strength of the O, that guy he has a plan? I hope JB has good healt insurance because SA not only is not coaching the OL he is bubbling the O as weel. RA how bout asking him how well he did while at Indiana? I thought i would never ever see a zook clone but dad gumm if we aren’t seeing one. Once again a fine uf team will be hurt by a zook clone and I’m afraid it’s going to take more embarrasing loses before CM or Foley has the guts to do something about it.

  4. The solution to beating the blitz isn’t the “big play” but rather the quick release. Case in point was the shoulda-been safety LSU had from our end zone. That’s a combination of Brantley’s internal clock not ringing and a need for better coaching. I’m okay with Brantley being a work in progress as long as he’s learning and improving (time will tell). Addazio, on the other hand, I’m not okay with him being a work in progress. He’s a veteran coach, and if he’s going to ignore the boos he perhaps should pay attention to the fact that his offense is ranked 11th of 12 in the SEC. That’s awful.

  5. Has Addazio every responded to a question about Robey? I know he says Pouncey is a champion every week (which I don’t see, even if I love him as a player), but has he said Robey is bad or not practicing well? Our line play up the middle is the worst part, and even if they think Pouncey is excelling at his position (they’d be wrong), then someone in the middle is doing very poorly. Inserting Robey at center would put Pouncey back at guard and strengthen the line, right? I don’t buy the injury excuse. They talk about rotating them all through several line positions in the spring and fall practices to create versatility. And we’ve recruited some good prospects the last couple of years, so we should have the depth to overcome the injuries. Just man up and say you’re doing a poor job of coaching them. If it’s the players fault, then you should be pulling them, not leaving them in the game to continue to fail.
    Save Brantley!!! And coach them up!

  6. Read Adazios comments about how great he feels, how great he feels about the players, and how great the players feel. What a bunch of blarney! Why does he feel great? It sure can’t be based on his results. Do the players really feel “great” or is he just speaking for them, in case they might slip up and speak honestly. I suspect that most of us who read and write into this column actually work for a living, I know I sure do, and when my results are poor, I don’t feel great. (I know my boss doesn’t). I take no issue with the players; I am sure those kids are busting their hump. Here’s a thought for Adazio: why not improve your results and give those guys something to really feel great about. Until then, please, no more blathering nonsense interviews.

  7. I have some limited coaching experience with high school offensive line play. I know Coach Addazio has a much better resume than I could ever dream of. I’m sure he has been around for all of the offensive fads such as the wishbone, broken bone, veer, pro-set,
    power “I,” etc. Maybe, just maybe, defenses are learning how to adjust to the spread as they did the wishbone. With all of Addazio’s experience and Coach Meyer’s credentials I’d say encourage all the coaches to be creative, unpredictable to defenses, and let loose.
    This might be the year to concentrate on growing, getting better, and all of the players and coaches having fun. The pressure they are under seems to be counterproductive and maybe makes some hesitant to try new strategies. Wouldn’t hurt at this point…And Go Gators!

  8. I agree with you, Paul. And I wish everyone maintained perspective about our team and coaches. These coahces have delivered a pair of national titles to our school that had only one in our history prior to Urban Meyer’s arrival. He brought along Steve Addazio because Addazio’s a heck of a coach. As far as praising his players, what do you think Addazio should do? Maybe turn against them, diminish them further in your eyes and the eyes of others eager to add fuel to a fire? The sky hasn’t fallen; our team is 4-2 the year after losing umpteen guys to the NFL and a bunch of key back-ups. They’re still in good position to make it to Atlanta. Get behind ’em, Gators.

  9. I think we should not give up on the Gators because we have a young team again and are rebuilding this year. We lost a lot of talent that went to the NFL last year. I think Urban Meyer should wait till the end of this season and if we lose more games to teams we should beat than make some changes on his coaching staff. I never thought that South Carolina would be leading the East division but Steve Spurrier has found the right players to win with. GO GATORS and beat Missippi State!!

  10. We have the players to win now but SA is a sorry excuse for an O. Coordinator. Steve knows it but just like any struggling employee you keep working until you are fired. Our play calling is laughable and our O.line is horrible but yet SA will continue to smile and say its all good.

    Go Gators! Fire SA!

  11. Paul’s got it right (see above). Let’s call this a rebuilding season, and try some new stuff. Let’s put players in (like Debose) and try them in new roles in game situations. Spurrier knew some players are gamers– I know that sticks in Urban’s craw. But maybe conservatism isn’t the way to go this year. I know everyone is concerned about holding on to their jobs. That’s not the way progress happens. You don’t advance by doing the same stuff over and over.

  12. Sometimes you say just the opposite of what you really feel, sometimes the pressure to perform makes you tense, cautious, and non-productive. Sometimes a team with this kind of talent is overcoached. It’s time to just relax, don’t worry about expectations, and go out and play like we know you can play, and don’t worry about x’s and o’s, just go out and play football like it’s meant to be played. Knock someone on their rear ends OL. In the end, this game is about blocking, tackling, and making sure you are in the right position to do one of those two. This team can be great, and they can be great this year. Just go do those things you know, and that will make your great. Don’t think about it, just go do it. Go Gators!!!!!

  13. wileymac,

    He might be a heck of a coach but he certainly sucks at multi-tasking. We either have lousy talent on offense or Addazio struggles with the O-line Coach/Offensive Coord/Play caller because he isnt getting any of those three done effectively.

  14. Hey, Charlie Weiss found out that you can’t “out-scheme” everyone in major college football. If your team has better athletes, does not make mistakes, scores in the red-zone and plays great defense, you usually win. The offensive “scheme” is more important in the NFL because all the players are superior athletes. If you think about it, this is Urban’s plan to win. Now days, more schools have superior athletes, especially in the SEC. When equally matched, you do need to have better creativity and exploiting the weaknesses of the other defense. What play you call needs to be about taking advantage of the match-ups you have. Just ask Spurrier. SS was not successful in the NFL for the same reason Weiss was not successful in major college football. Go Gators!

  15. I get so tired of hearing “giving up on the Gators” when people offer fair, intelligent critique when it’s due. MSU’s a heavy blitzing team? So was LSU, and Addazio did nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to scheme protect Brantley from their blitzes. Why? because he’s incapable of doing so because he’s a rigidly predictable OC with no instinct for the job. Murmering from recruits at the LSU game about the horrible offense, TE Leonard suddenly de-committing yesterday… it’s all a culmative effect. What’s scary is that Mullen, our former OC, helped write our playbook and is going to read Addazio like a book this weekend. Even Meyer said before the LSU game “we’re no longer a young team”. Six games into the year and you’re regressing at such a terrible decline? This OL is almost the entire one that dominated everyone in our 2008 NC run. There is NO EXCUSE for their poor performance now. Hopefully Meyer has involved QB’s coach Scot Loeffler much more into the offense to help Addazio because if the poor game-planning, poor playcalling, and poor OL coaching continues, this entire program is going to suffer for it.

  16. Something is surely rotten in Denmark, and it is a multi faceted funk. Each year we here UM on the mic stating that there is “No System” but the “System” is fitted to the players talent. UF has a pro-style QB that oozes talent, yet we cannot score in any non-wildcat formation in the redzone. Sidebar: I get physically ill every time I see Johnny B. getting crushed while poorly running an option play that ultimately nets -4 yards. It is stated by SA that you cannot win in the SEC without a power running game, agreed.. however there hasn’t been a power running back on this team since Earnest Graham (TT exempt). I have failed yet to put these disjointed issues together into a holistic problem statement, again it all just seems rotten. Now for the next 2 weeks I have to endure Andreu’s and Dooley’s headlines, that UM and SA are gods and us poor pathetic Gator fans have no right to question their judgement, suck it you media tools.

  17. If you think about our first six games, the only time we have looked like the University of Florida was against Kentucky. When teams like Marshall and Miami of Ohio and even USF expose our offense weaknesses, our chances to defeat good SEC teams are nil. Six little points against Alabama? Humiliating! We will be fortunate to win this Saturday. But Heaven help us when we play South Carolina and even Georgia. Guess this is not our year.

  18. Bottom-line the Gator’s O-Line needs to protect Brantley much better. He doesn’t have nearly enough time to throw downfield, which is where Brantley excels. Work on the pass blocking in the second half. This will open up the air game to ten to fifteen 20- 30+ yard pass plays/game to Moore, Thompson, DeBose and Hammond and Demps out of the backfield. This will make us less predictable and will also open up the run game. We can win in Atlanta with this approach. We do have the beef up front and the talented receivers. We just need to coach-up and use our talent more wisely.
    Lakeland GatorNaught

  19. I loved it when the players executed all that bad play calling during the late drive in the LSU game. instead of booing maybe you whiners should try out as walk ons. you wouldnt last a day. Why dont you try cheering FOR your team. If they can execute during the opportunities they have had, we’d be 6-0, bad play calling or not. We have a lot of new guys whether you believe it or not and they will learn how to succeed. Just hope our fans learn how to contribute to that.

  20. TNGatorman, are you really SA in disguise? The fans pay the salaries of the coaches with their ticket purchases, merchandise, tuition and contributions (and sales taxes). I think Florida fans especially contribute plenty, since they were selling out Florida field back when we were 0 and 11. They have a right to complain if the product on the field is not what they are paying for. I did walk-on and play and I am saying SA is a terrible OC. I think you are the one that is whining!

  21. No. I’m not SA, I’m just right. you of all people should know if players dont execute, there is no play that will produce any positive results. When they do, they get positive results. Ask the players, they’ll tell you, they are not executing enough plays to win. And they have had opportunities.
    So you as a player like it when the fans boo because you didnt execute your assignment? Just saying, try cheering even when the chips are down, and leave the negativity to the dweebs on ESPN.

  22. I am a gator fan. However, I hate to say we have been out coached the last two years. If you have really been looking at the games you can see it. We are a young team but to me I don’t think the coaches are putting the players in the best position to succeed. Before we played Tenn. last year “Lame” Kiffin stated that we being out coached but just had better players and I thought he was silly. After two years of terrible offense I hate to say he was right. It’s just not on offense either. Was Ithe only one who knew the fake field goal was coming against LSU. The coaches have to look themselves in the face and say they “not only the players” need step up their game.

  23. I believe we all expected a slight drop off but never in our wildest nightmares did we expect it to be so bad…with three solid recruiting classes it never should have gotten to this point…no excuses.

  24. Why did Myer take Brantley of Cam Newton? Everyone can see Newton is a lot better then Brantley and for our system!I hope it did have anything to do with skin color? we here at Florida only had one man of color at QB and he was left behind by another coach. We did win the big one with him.

  25. I just can’t see that coaches that get paid a lot money, did not see Cam Newton is a way better QB then Brantlet! If we are having problem on the ‘o’ line which we are very bad problem why not have a QB then can move?

  26. *****************************************************************************************Addazio must go or there are going to be a lot more days like this********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

  27. Just some info for class of 86. I will grant you that UF has not had many black QB’s over the years, but Chris Leak was not the only one. Don Gaffney was the starting QB back in the late 70’s when the Gators ran the wishbone. Late in the 80’s, just before Spurrier came in, Donald Douglas was the starting QB for one year. I’m sure there are others I am missing, but I trust you see the point.
    I believe that this coaching staff has some issues, but suggesting racism is one of them
    is rediculous. They recruited 2 QB’s for the current freshman class, and both are black, so to even suggest that race had someting to do with Newton’s decison to transfer, in my opinion, is an insult to the staff, and undeserved by any of them.

  28. you wanna spice up the offense? Bring someone in who actually knows something about throwing the ball down field. Shane Matthews is only a phone call away folks. He could incorporate enough of the fun n gun to make Brantley lethal. If Urban et al would swallow their foolish pride and admit they need help, there’s still time.