10/31-11/1: Brantley’s obstacles, penalties, more

By Adam Silverstein
November 1, 2011

With the Florida Gators trying to get off the schneid of a four-game losing streak this Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores, a number of players were made available to the media early in the week to discuss how the team is progressing heading into this weekend’s game in The Swamp.

BRANTLEY OVERCOMING OBSTACLES, PLANS TO BE FULLY HEALTHY

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley return from a serious ankle injury was not an easy one. Every moment he was not outside watching practice, in class or studying film, Brantley was in the training room doing as much rehabilitation as he could. Because of his work ethic and desire to get better, he met the timetable that was agreed upon by the training staff – having his ankle healthy enough to return against Georgia.

“I wanted to be back out there with the guys. I missed that. As a Gator fan growing up, this is the one game you always want each year,” Brantley said after Saturday’s loss. He also spoke about how he felt immediately after the game. “[The pain was] not too bad actually. I was feeling pretty good. I had the occasional pain but nothing serious at all. When that adrenaline is pumping you don’t feel it.”

Brantley’s teammates agreed that one of the team’s elder statesmen showed fantastic poise during the contest. “He’s a great leader and he leads the team with his heart,” redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed said. “That’s how he played today – with his heart. I appreciate him and I love him.”

Senior running back Jeff Demps shared his thoughts as well. “He showed a lot of toughness. I’d say he was about 75 percent today. That shows how tough he really is and how he battles through adversity,” he added. “He just cares a lot about this team and this family. Hats off to John, man.”

Brantley believes the injury is now behind him, saying Monday that it was not swollen and just “looked like a foot.” Though he could not play under center last week because “some of the twists and stuff were kind of bothering me in practice,” Brantley plans to be a full go this week against Vanderbilt.

“I’ll feel a lot better,” he said. Being able to line up under center will be much better. I’m not planning on being limited at all. I’m planning on doing everything, and we’re just going to do the best we can to put ourselves in a position to beat Vanderbilt.”

PENALTIES STILL AN ISSUE
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]The Gators committed 14 more penalties on Saturday and gave up over 100 yards to Georgia – something that simply cannot happen and can turn the tide in a very close game. Asked about Florida’s inability to learn from their mistakes, junior linebacker Jon Bostic refused to admit it was a discipline issue.

“I’m not going to say it’s an undisciplined team at all,” he said. “We’re very intelligent. You can see it when you walk in the meeting rooms. Just the type of guys [we have], they can draw up different things for you and really know the game of football.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio noted Tuesday that offensive line coach Frank Verducci makes players in his position group run a lap every time someone false starts. A big culprit of that on Saturday was junior tackle Xavier Nixon, who was down in the dumps big-time after the game.

“I just told him to keep his head up. I tried to encourage him,” Halapio said. “He was very discouraged after the game, so I’ve just been trying to encourage him. He’s doing real good right now.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Brantley on how the team will make something of this season: “We got to stick together. We got to forget about these past four games and move forward and stick together. There’s no pointing fingers. We’re a family. We just got to stick together and keep moving forward.”

» Brantley on why the wide receivers aren’t getting much work in the games: “it’s tough to say. That’s what we keep discussing each week. I have all the trust in the world with my receivers. We’re real close together and we have each other’s backs. When the opportunity comes, I’m going to keep throwing them the ball.”

» Brantley on the homecoming game: “Of course we want to get off the losing streak, but homecoming is always a big week around campus. We just want to come back here, play in The Swamp in front of our fans and give a good showing.”

» Reed on his touchdown catch: “It was a great play by Brantley. He threw me the ball after I got open on the play, but all credit is to Brantley. It was a great play by him.”

» Bostic on getting over four-straight losses: “We just got to take care of Florida right now. We got to get back to practice and do the little things right. The little things were what killed us in that game. We can’t point any fingers at anyone because everybody has something to work on.”

» Bostic said he dislocated his finger when he missed a sack on Georgia QB Aaron Murray on Saturday. He jammed his finger in Murray’s jersey, but it is OK now and he will not miss any practice.

» Bostic on what motivations are left for the team: “Everybody just wants to play. Everybody wants to go out and win. There’s not one certain motivation factor. We want to go out to play and win.”

» Bostic on how Florida would benefit by having a big running back: “It definitely wears down a defense. It’s somebody that can control the clock game in and game out. When you can sit back and rely on that running game, that just helps the offense out so much. It helps the defense out, too, because it keeps the defense off the field.”

» Bostic on how the backup inside linebackers played: “[Darrin] Kitchens and Mike Taylor are two guys that are improving week in and week out. Mike Taylor is a guy that is physical, he’s going to come downhill every play. Kitch, we all know he’s real fast and stuff, but he plays physical. That was his first shot with a lot of game experience, and he came and played real well.”

» Halapio on losing four in a row: “There’s definitely a bad taste in our mouth. It was a long month, ic an tell you that. It’s been a long, long month.”

» Halapio on how they can get the running game going: “We just got to execute better. Like I said last time I was talking, I know I can do a lot better in the run game. I just got to keep pushing forward.”

» Halapio on if he expected Vanderbilt to be a must-win game: “I don’t think anybody would have expected it to be like this but this is football.”

» Halapio on the demeanor of the coaches: “They’re not down about it – it just makes them more fired up to get us better, help the team unite together, especially during this hard time right now.”[/EXPAND]

9 Comments

  1. Ken (CA) says:

    haha, i am fat and old and I can run a lap on the field, it is only about 1/4 mile…..these guys couldn’t care less about something as trivial as that…

    And if Bostic thinks it isn’t about discipline and the team is incredibly intelligent, then he should explain how the team continues to make 10+ mental mistakes EVERY game for such disciplined and intelligent players…

  2. ncgator says:

    I can only assume by these comments that Brantley is scheduled to start. Can someone explain to me why?

    • g8ter27 says:

      Well I think it goes back to when JB was set and ready to head off to Austin back in his senior year of high school and a guy named Urban Meyer for some reason had a hard time with that. Now Urban liked to run the spread and have his qb run the ball, and JB was certainly not cut out for that…but how could we let a guy with all those passing numbers get away and go to Texas? Besides, we had two “average” qbs, one already there and one on the way. Their names were Tebow and Newton…but they were not that good and we had to get JB. Plus he was related to Scott Brantley…so we had to get him.AND he was coached by Kerwin Bell, so how could we not get him? So we promised him playing time and this and that and now we are still trying to make it work, even with a new coach.JB was probably a great player at one time but his confidence was shattered last year and he has never been the same. At least I like to think that anyway, I mean, surely this wasn’t going on in practice the 3 years he sat behind Tebow…..was it?

    • Gator John says:

      Because the Gators are not going to win with Brissett or Driskell this year. In order to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible and get the money whatever bowl will take us pays out, Brantley has to play at least this next game. If we win, they can put whoever in against Furman for the 6th win, then go from there. Right now it’s about winning THIS year to get that bowl money.

      • ncgator says:

        Thanks for clarifying that. I forgot how desparately Florida needs the 200k from the Poulan Weedeater bowl in beautiful downtown Shreveport. Better to let Driskel and Brissett sit on the bench next to Charlie and learn how to get sacked with a little dignity.

        • Gator John says:

          I never said it was a GOOD plan, just what I thought. It also helps with recruiting to attend a bowl I suppose, no matter what bowl it is. Yes, I am reaching, but…you asked a question that has no really good answer.

  3. Gator John says:

    Penalties have not cost this team as much as people want to believe. Sure they are a concern, but of the 4 losses, two of those have been because of turnovers, not penalties. We were never going to beat Bama or LSU, no matter how few penalties we had. The last two games were winnable but as we all saw, turnovers cost us heavily. We had 14 penalties last game, but if not for the two fumbles, we still win. Against Auburn, if not for the muffed punts, we win. Thats far more concerning to me than anything. Why we can’t hold onto the ball.

  4. aziatic41 says:

    The last two games we’ve loss, as Gator John stated has been because of turnovers. Alabama and LSU were games that we weren’t going to win no matter what. If you take away the turnovers we had against Auburn and UGA we would be bowl eligible right now. Those 4th down touchdown plays by UGA were all because of turnovers. If Rainey doesn’t fumble then we go into halftime with a 14 point lead and a lot of momentum going into the 2nd half against a down and offensively struggling UGA team. Oh how quickly does turnovers change the outcome of games..

    Vandy will be a feisty confident bunch coming into the swamp Saturday. If I’m Vandy’s coach, my game plan would be load the box up and blitz a non-mobile John Brantley all game and force him to make throws with pressure in his face. Franklin is a very intelligent coach and my guess is he’ll probably do something like that. If I’m any team playing UF I would make John Brantley beat me, and blitz the crap out of him the entire game. He hasn’t proven that he can beat blitzes and complete pressure throws during his tenure at UF.

    With that being said we should beat Vandy solely because we have more overall talent than them. But hey guys, if this a close game going into the 4th and we have to throw the ball to win, this could be another terrible loss. But I really think we will win this game, and probably win big.

  5. g8ter27 says:

    I know this sounds crazy at this point but I am not so sure we could not win Bama and LSU. If I remember correctly, we dominated the first 4 games of the year, came out on the first play with bama and scored at TD. Then, we held them to 3 points and and if Reed (or whoever it was) holds on to that pass it the endzone it is 14-3. But instead it is 10-3. We then allow them to score, throw a pick 6, then at the 13 yard line of Bama, take 2 consecutive sacks (thanks John), out goes the starting qb and then the ball of snow started rolling down the mountain. I wonder if a couple of plays go differently what might have happened……probably the same but…

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