Brantley Stepping Up According to Loeffler

There may be more of an unknown at a couple of other positions on the Florida roster, but the biggest question that has to be answered for this 2010 Gator squad to be a good one is at quarterback. Junior John Brantley takes over for superhero Tim Tebow and Brantley's coach thinks he is on pace to do just that and do it at a high level. However, here is still work to be done.

The Florida Gators scrimmaged on Saturday and were able to throw the ball around a little bit. Quarterback coach Scot Loeffler liked the progression of Saturday's practice.

"We are coming along," Loeffler told the media Saturday after the Gator's first full contact scrimmage of the fall. "Every day we are trying to get a little bit better. I thought we did that today. We look forward to the next couple of weeks leading up to the season...It was a typical early scrimmage. There is a lot of good things and things that need to improve."

John Brantley has always been able to throw the ball. He has an NFL arm with accuracy and all the physical intangibles. The mental part of being a quarterback is the remaining mystery with the junior from nearby Ocala, and Loeffler believes he is handling that part of the job nicely.

"He is doing a much better job of leadership and taking command of the offense," Loeffler said of Brantley. "It's his time to step up and be the leader and he has taken that challenge on and is doing a much better job with it."

That isn't to say there isn't some work to do in terms of staying sharp with the physical aspects of the position.

"Every day we are working on mechanical issues and he is improving," Loeffler said. "That will be an everyday deal the rest of his career...that's how it goes at the quarterback position."

For the scrimmage, Brantley threw three touchdowns without an interception, but holding onto the ball seems to be a worry for Loeffler.

"Johnny did a fairly good job today of going to the right place with the football," Loeffler said. "We have to make plays when plays present themselves and when the play isn't there, protect the football. That is our 'plan to win' around here. We need to protect the football and help our team continue to win."

Two young true freshmen reside on the depth chart behind Brantley. Trey Burton arrived on campus early and in January allowing him to have a spring under his belt before the season starts. Tyler Murphy arrived in late June and is going through a great deal of transition as he learns the system and everything else that goes with being a college quarterback.

Loeffler says the two are on even ground right now until one really separates themselves from the other.

"Trey and Tyler, I look at them the same way, they are in the same boat," Loeffler said. "They are true freshmen trying to learn an offense and trying to improve."

Burton should be the favorite having performed well over the spring and with all that extra time in the system.

"He is a typical young freshman learning every day," Loeffler said of Burton. "He did some really good things and did some things we need to correct the next couple of weeks."

"Being a young guy it is an every day process. There is a lot of things going through a young guys mind. We are trying to slow the game down for him, get his assignments down, and try and improve, if that makes any sense."

Loeffler is left with a pretty big task this season. He needs to prepare his starting quarterback to follow maybe the best college quarterback in the history of the game. At the same time, he has to get two freshmen ready to play behind Brantley and both were in high school a year ago.

The progression seems to be going along nicely.
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