Florida Football Countdown 'Til Kickoff: 2) Brantley Disproves the Doubters

By Brett Kaplan

It’s 2 days until the Florida Gators open up play against the Florida Atlantic Owls. These are my top 20 reasons to be excited about this upcoming season.

This isn’t a joke and I may be one of the few, but I think Florida quarterback John Brantley will have a breakout season this year. Last year, he had to deal with replacing a legend in Tim Tebow, chasing bad snaps, an underachieving receiving corps and offensive line, and two of his proven playmakers (Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey) on the shelf for most of the season. Nothing could go right for Brantley in his first starting season. His confidence was low because of all of these reasons and effected him the entire season. He ended up throwing more INTs than TDs (11 to 10). Never a good season.

I’ve seen this kid play. His senior year in high school at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, I broadcasted about 8 of his games. And he was by far the best player on the field on a team that sent numerous players to BCS programs. He could flat out sling it. He came into Florida well deserving of his five star status. He has the talent.

Enter Charlie Weis. Weis is the best thing that could ever happen to John Brantley. His pro-style offense fits him perfectly. No more shotgun snaps sailing over his head or falling to his feet. Demps, Rainey, Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown are there to tote the rock. Trey Burton is still his playmaking x-factor. The WR corps is led by a much improved Deonte Thompson, Frankie Hammond, Jr., and Quinton Dunbar. And the offensive line, although new, has some experience and has played well when inserted. And his defensive front seven is nasty, with a talented, but unproven secondary. They shouldn’t give up many points. Everything is coming together for a great season for Brantley.

Brantley has the opportunity this season to resurrect his career and have a future in the NFL. If he shows his psyche is stable and puts up the numbers we all know he’s capable of, then he could be looking at going no later than the third round in the NFL Draft. My prediction for Brantley: 3,000+ passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He’ll do a great job managing the game and throwing the ball for big plays when he needs to. In fact, don’t be surprised if the first offensive play Saturday is a long passing play to give both Brantley and the WRs confidence. I’m really looking forward to big things out of Brantley this season. Let’s just hope he can live up to my expectations.

Like the column? Hate the column? Feel free to comment or hit me up on Twitter @GatorBK.

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