Brantley ready to take on QB job, father’s cancer

By Adam Silverstein
February 26, 2010

Watching former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow while on the sidelines for three years, John Brantley was chomping at the bit to get some playing time. Hearing head coach Urban Meyer say he would be worked into the offense in 2009 was exciting for Brantley; unfortunately, Meyer’s statement never came to fruition.

Now, with Tebow at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine preparing for a career in professional football, Brantley has finally taken his place as the Gators’ primary signal-caller. And while he may not be as boisterous as Tebow, the redshirt sophomore plans to lead Florida to glory just like his predecessor.

“I’m not like that,” Brantley told Rivals. “I’ve learned to be a little bit more vocal. Not all the jumping around stuff, just be behind the scenes more of a leader and be more vocal.”

Read what Brantley and his father have to say about football and cancer…

Being the Gators’ starting quarterback is not just about leadership and talent, it is also about handling immense pressure whether playing with the lead in the friendly confines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, or having to come from behind on the road at places like Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA.

Brantley is learning to deal with pressure and anxiety early after finding out that his father, John Brantley III, was diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

While the father hopes to keep his son’s mind on football, citing that his condition is curable and Ocala Munroe Regional (where he is having the surgery performed) boasts a 95 percent success rate, he knows Brantley will still be concerned about his condition.

“This is what we’ve waited for,” former Florida quarterback and Ocala Trinity High School head coach Brantley III told the Orlando Sentinel. “His life is getting ready to change, and it already has. He needs to know how important that is. He’s been probably a lot more patient than I would have been. That’s why I’d admire him so much.”

No matter what his father says, his condition will certainly remain on Brantley’s mind until he is given a clean bill of health.

“When I heard the news [via text message], it hit me,” Brantley said. “Once I got out of class I called him and talked to him for a little while. He made me feel comfortable about it. We keep praying for him. He should be all right. […] We’ve got a very close relationship, so it’s been tough. I don’t talk about it too much, I try to keep it off my mind as much as I can. It’s going to be a tough day. A really tough day. But stuff happens.”

A four-star quarterback coming out of high school who was also named Gatorade National Player of the Year, Brantley will also be all right – once he gets the ball in his hands when spring practice starts on March 17 and takes control of the Gators’ offense.

Brantley will be the third member of his family to play football at Florida, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, two-time All-SEC linebacker Scot Brantley.

Photo Credits: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images, Orlando Sentinel

2 Comments

  1. ReptilesRule says:

    My best to Mr Brantley. I’m sure he will get excellent medical care and our hopes are for his full recovery. What Johnny Brantley needs to understand is that yes, his life will change being the starting QB, but it’s not all on him. He will be but just 1 of 11 out there and will have the full support of his team mates and coaches. I don’t think he will be “leaned on” nearly like Tim was, his primary job obviously will be to get the ball to the playmakers as opposed to having to be THE playmaker. I believe the coaches will take the pressure off as opposed to putting it on his shoulders like they did with #15.

  2. Greg says:

    I think one of the most underrated topics for Florida is this offense. Not in a production sense, but in the way it evolves and changes. One of Urban Meyer’s best qualities is understanding his personnel, and working them in where needed. This offense has the potential to be big, the only thing we need is the wide receivers to step up which I think will happen due to Brantley’s pure passer style.

    The SEC now has to game plan a bit differently for the 2010 Florida Gators.

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