Brantley Ready for the New Era

He says he's not a "hoo-rah" kind of leader. He says he's just a "normal student" walking through campus. So, who is this guy that's been waiting patiently behind Tim Tebow? His name is John Brantley and today he went to the first practice of Fall 2010 as the starting quarterback at the University of Florida. Brantley says it's not surreal…yet.

"I'm really excited. Our team worked really hard in this offseason. We had a great spring and a great summer in the weight room and everything so I'm really excited with our team right now and the direction we're heading."

John Brantley acknowledged some of the question marks surrounding his offense and spent some time talking about the wide receiver position.

"I think Deonte Thompson is playing well. Some people question his hands but, from what I saw, he didn't drop a pass today. He's done a great job this summer working hard and being one of the leaders at wide receiver."

Another question: will Florida's offense be a situation dictated only by passing? Brantley said that's just a myth.

"We have too many playmakers on the field with Jeff Demps and Emmanuel Moody to just become a passing team. They're great players and we're expecting a lot out of them."

Brantley likes to keep it simple. He is a no-fuss kind of guy and didn't spend too much time defining the schemes of the Gator offense in 2010. Obviously, the signal caller doesn't want to give away strategies and smiled while telling us what it all boils down to.

"Throwing and running, I guess. That's all I really know right now. I guess we'll see as we go along."

Yes, John, I guess we will see.

One thing he said we won't see too much of is No. 12 toting the ball.

"As everyone knows, I'm not the running type quarterback but, other than that, I don't see too much changing. If I have to, I can run a little bit but not the short yardage, try to get in the hole kind of deal."

Brantley said his most recent 40-yard-dash time was 4.7 seconds.

The offseason has been a combination of building muscles, confidence and relationships. Brantley has put special emphasis on connecting with his team. From going to dinner with his receivers after throwing to inviting the O-Line to his house in Ocala for steaks, Brantley is gaining even more respect with genuine gestures. Brantley says reaching out is good for his leadership abilities.

"Just hanging out with them. That makes it easier. It makes it easier because they look up to you on and off the field…just that respect. I respect all of them and we've done a good job with our relationship so far."

He went on to talk about the Crimson Tide elephant in the room. He confirmed that the squad is annoyed with the way things turned out against Alabama in 2009's SEC Championship Game.

"We just try to work as hard as we can in the weight room. As long as we do what we're supposed to do, it should work out. That thought of that game and that clock at zero never leaves our mind."

Like Brantley said, it's not surreal yet. He did say it could get there.

"I think when I run out on that field for the first time, it's really going to sink in."

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