9/6: Brantley, players talk about FAU, UAB

By Adam Silverstein
September 6, 2011

With the Florida Gators beginning weekly preparations for their second game on Sept. 10 at home against UAB, a number of prominent players were made available to the media on Tuesday to discuss how the team is progressing.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley may have played well on Saturday against Florida Atlantic (21/30 for 229 yards, touchdown) but there are also plenty of ways he can get better going forward (two interceptions). Discussing how he can do just that, Brantley said his in-game mechanics could use some adjusting. “I need to work on some footwork a little bit more – just a little different footwork in this offense,” he said. “I need to carry that over from practice to the game. It’s always a different setting in the game. You don’t really think about that as much as you should, and I just need to work on that a little bit more.”

Helping him achieve that goal is offensive coordinator (and quarterbacks coach) Charlie Weis, who Brantley is starting to get on the same wavelength as. “Some of the stuff he describes [in the film room] I can see right there with him,” Brantley said, “and even if I don’t he is able to make it easy for me to understand.” Should he need further help during the game, he can count on Weis being seated right on the bench rather than up in a box overlooking the field, something Brantley appreciates. “It’s nice [to have him on the field]. He has the people upstairs telling him what’s going on,” he said. “Having him right there and just getting the feedback from him helps me out a lot throughout the game.”

FRONT FIVE GELLING AT RIGHT TIME

A potential weakness heading into the season, it is looking more and more like the Gators’ offensive line could be a strength for the team even it is does face depth issues. Redshirt sophomore right guard Jon Halapio explained Tuesday that having redshirt senior transfer left guard Dan Wenger in as a starter is a big-time help. “He’s the wise man of the offensive line – a sixth-year senior. He knows every call there is, and we feel really comfortable with him out there calling all the calls and just running to the ball and being a leader out there,” Halapio said. He added that Wenger made many of the line’s calls in the season opener but that the entire unit communicated and others made calls as well.

One of the reasons the offensive line has been so successful early on is the versatility of redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green. Though he started at right tackle on Saturday, Green can play on both sides of the line and does not have much of a preference either way. He made his first career start on Saturday, a fact he learned the evening before the game. “It was good to finally get my first game in and see how I felt,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous because I was prepared. I was a little nervous but I knew after that first play I would be all right.”

SHINING AT HIS NEW OLD POSITION
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Perhaps one of the most impressive players during Saturday’s game, redshirt junior sam linebacker Lerentee McCray is someone who has stood out all offseason. After moving from linebacker to defensive end upon arriving at Florida, McCray got the opportunity to move back to his old position and ensured that he won the job outright. “I’ve always been a well-conditioned guy, so running has never been a big hard task for me. Running is what I like to do. I like to run all over the field,” he said. “I just feel comfortable when I get the chance to run and tackle and hit people.”

The defense may have allowed only three points on Saturday, but McCray knows improvements can be made. “It’s always a big issue when we don’t get any turnovers. As a defense, that’s what we try to do, keep the ball in our offense’s hand,” he explained. “That’s going to be a big thing we’re going to do this week – stress turnovers, rips, picks, fumbles, stuff like that.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Brantley on getting the wide receivers more involved: “Absolutely. They did a great job Saturday night. We have all the confidence in the world in them and we’re just going to keep giving them the ball.”

» Brantley on not having to run the option: “It was cool. It was fun just giving the ball to our playmakers and seeing what they can do with it.”

» Brantley on redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose: “Andre Debose definitely grew up and matured a lot in the past year. He had a great camp, worked really hard, and it showed on Saturday night. Hopefully he just keeps producing like he has each week. Just working hard – he goes out there every day with a great attitude and just tries to get better each day.”

» Brantley on the seniors picking orange jerseys for the season opener: “Us seniors kind of decided on it. We’re big fans of the orange jerseys I guess. We just like them. We just think they look good.”

» Sophomore tight end Gerald Christian on Brantley’s confidence: “He seems confident to me, way [more] confident than he was last year. I feel like all this worked out a lot better for him.”

» Christian on working with redshirt sophomore TE Jordan Reed: “We both can learn from each other I think, really two different type of tight ends. He’s real athletic, I’m a bigger guy, more stronger than him, and I think we feed off each other.”

» Halapio on playing “easier” opponents at home to start the season: “I like it a lot. We like it a lot as a team. It helps us to start fast and…just get all the wrinkles out of the mistakes that we had.”

» Halapio on his jersey color preference: “Personally I don’t like the orange. I like all blue.”

» Green on the offensive line’s starters being in flux: “It’s good competition. It keeps us right in practice every week. It’s also a good thing – we got three tackles that can rotate.”[/EXPAND]

5 Comments

  1. cline says:

    Who wins this weeks hard hat award?

  2. Timmy T says:

    I wonder how Sharrif’s hearing went today?

Top