Filling Tim Tebow’s shoes at Florida would be an impossible task any which way you look at it. Regardless of how you feel about Tebow’s NFL chances, the man was a collegiate marvel. Watching him operate in a system tailor made for him at Florida gave me the same feeling I got, when I watched Montana carve up NFL secondaries in the 80′s. It was art, poetry in motion, a thing to behold. Florida fans and enemies alike can look back and agree, the man’s collegiate game was nearly flawless.
John Brantley isn’t Tim Tebow. Nor should he aspire to be. Like many men who have had to replace legends, Young replacing Montana, Rodgers replacing Favre, etc; Brantley should strive to carve out his own place, and make the fans remember him, instead of trying to “forget” his predecessor.
Florida’s game against Miami Ohio on Saturday was an ugly affair, no doubt. The defense was good, but the precision that typifies an Urban Meyer offense certainly was not. Is the bulk of the criticism that is being heaped on Brantley in the wake of the post Tebow era, and the Miami-Ohio debacle, warranted?
I certainly don’t think so.
Brantley completed 68% of his passes, and threw for two touchdowns, and didn’t turn the ball over once. He really didn’t look too bad out there, despite his receivers and backs dropping passes and fumbling the ball, his center snapping the ball everywhere but the vicinity of his hands, and his line blocking with all the intensity of a Friday night high school football pep banner. He seemed to command the huddle well, was poised, and kept the offense trying, despite the many miscues.
When a quarterback has to deal with bad snaps, it throws off the entire offense. From the timing of a quarterback’s reads, to the amount of time he has to scan the field for an open receiver, and most importantly it gives him less time to get set and get the ball out.
I see a lot of Brantley “bashing” rolling like a tidal wave over the internet and across my television, and I wonder if the people posting the critiques even bothered to watch the game. John Brantley actually looked pretty decent out there. He had his first game (as a starter) issues, but overall his performance was pretty solid. The defense kept the team in the long enough for Brantley to settle the team down, and for Florida to take charge of the game late.
No, Brantley isn’t to blame. Florida’s offensive line and skill position players certainly have a lot of explaining to do though. Given just ho poorly they looked on my re-watch of the game, the coaching staff will have plenty of questions, and drills to put those players through this week. I’m curious to see what the result is against South Florida. Though I suspect most of Gator nation will have forgotten all about Miami Ohio by then.