11/8: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…

By Adam Silverstein
November 8, 2010

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey and senior safety Ahmad Black answered questions for the media on Monday about a variety of topics concerning the Florida Gators and their win on Saturday over the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road in Nashville, TN. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

RAINEY MAKING MOST OF SECOND CHANCE

Ask an outsider about redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, and they will likely tell you head coach Urban Meyer’s concern about fielding a winning team was the reason he allowed the troubled athlete back on the field two weeks ago. Talk to his close friends, teammates and brothers and you will get a completely different story.

“It’s his attitude about the game,” said Pouncey on Monday when asked how Rainey has changed the second time around. “He appreciates it more just because it was almost taken from him. I’m glad to see that he’s doing well. We need him to play good every week. I’m just glad he’s back out there. All Chris has is football. He’s had a rough life. I think Florida has given him a second opportunity to do well at this sport.

“I was [worried about him]. Chris really doesn’t have any family outside of me and my family. It was tough on him because he obviously had a lot of time on his hands without being a part of the football team. He’s just glad to be back. He doesn’t say anything at practice. He just goes hard, and that’s how it should be.”

Meyer has been criticized for being “easy” on players who make mistakes with his detractors saying he has no control of behavior. However, to Meyer, giving a kid a second chance at a meaningful life has always been of primary importance. “Coach Meyer knew [about Rainey’s issues],” Pouncey added. “Him and coach Meyer have a special relationship. He knew Rainey’s past and his whole life story, so he understood the fact that this [is] all he has.”

BRANTLEY NOT BOTHERED BY REDUCED ROLE

With a lacking run game and struggling offense, Florida’s coaching staff has been utilizing freshman Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed along with Brantley behind center. According to the player, he’s perfectly fine with taking fewer snaps as long as it helps the team win. “We had to get our running game going and, no matter what it takes, we’ll do it. I’ll do it,” he said. It doesn’t matter to me as long as we win games and as long as we fight for that spot like we’re doing for the SEC Championship.”

Meyer and Pouncey both gave Brantley their vote of confidence on Monday, calling him “the” quarterback of the Gators. “I guess that means I’m the leader of the ship – that’s the role I’ve taken on this offseason and all summer, coming into camp and everything,” Brantley said. “That’s the way I look at it – that I still need to lead this team. Even though I’m not taking all the snaps, that’s fine with me, I just got to be able to lead the troops and keep this thing rolling.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Pouncey on Brantley: “Obviously John Brantley is our starting quarterback; he’s going to stay that way. Johnny’s been real good with it. We just want to keep him happy because he’s a great player.”

Pouncey on freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd: “He’s a good player. You usually don’t have freshmen come in like that. When he’s not rolling with the ones on defense, he gives the ones on offense a great look. He’s going to be a great player. He’s playing great; I’m just glad he’s a Gator.”

Pouncey on South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier: “Personally, I love coach Spurrier. He’s one of the only head coaches I wait for and I really like meeting after the games. I try to meet him after every game just because of his history here at Florida, and he’s a great coach and a great guy.”

Pouncey on Saturday’s game: “It’s a one-game season. Without this game, I guess our season will be a failure. It’s been one of the best times of my life, coming back to school, it’s just been a great run. I’m glad we got this opportunity – to go to the SEC Championship game.”

Brantley on if he feels comfortable in the pocket: “I do. I trust my linemen. No one can be perfect, that’s for sure. Things are going to happen, you got to deal with it and move on.”

Brantley on Reed: “He has a very strong arm. He’s a great thrower, he just hasn’t had too much work at quarterback this season because he’s been at the tight end position mainly. He still remembers his quarterback days from high school, and he can be a great quarterback and a great tight end. He’s just a great athlete and a great football player.”

Brantley on playing at Florida instead of playing for Spurrier: “Once you’re a Gator, you’re always a Gator. That’s what I’ve been my entire life. I couldn’t have seen myself going anywhere else.”

Black on Rainey: “I think he needed a wake-up call. He got that, God gave him a second chance, and he’s taking advantage of it.”

8 Comments

  1. SaraGator says:

    There is a rumor circulating that Brantley is transferring. Any truth to it, Adam?

    • I find it amazing that a person on one website posts a really long, well-thought out statement claiming inside information and an intimate knowledge of what someone is thinking and all of a sudden it becomes a big rumor. Could Brantley transfer after the season is over? Sure, anything is possible. I could certainly understand his frustration. Joe Flacco made it coming out of Delaware, for example. Will he? Doubt it.

  2. SaraGator says:

    I was surprised to hear the rumor after reading the quote today, “Once a Gator, always a Gator.”

    Glad to hear Brantley isn’t quitting the team.

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Like the view on Rainey, not allot of us are in the position he is where football is the only thing he has. Luckily I was blessed with a good mom, warm dinner daily as a kid and still through my adulthood being able to provide the same to my family. Not allot of kids on our squad had the type of childhood most of us had and without football they have nothing. I’m all for the second chances at a meaningful life, just would like to see that view not come as a result of an arrest but as a result of their childhood and not wanting to go back to that.

  4. montanagator says:

    the new look offense is a major improvement although theyre still running small guys up the middle way too often, just too many dives in general. i feel very bad for johnny b. and wish we had the team to click with a good dropback passer but we dont. hes got a great attitude about it in the media anyway. i think that even if he doesnt get a lot of stats and glory at uf he will still be a later round nfl pick and could become a great nfl qb, just needs to bulk up a little and work on his speed and keep tweaking his accuracy some. sure would like to have the last few minutes of the lsu game and the whole msu game back. go gators beat the gamehens…then auburn, then smoke tcu or the boysees in the sugar to shut espn up about how good that league is, at least til next year anyway.

  5. Escambia94 says:

    For the longest time I thought, “Poor Brantley. Waited three years behind Tebow and now his college stats suffer in this offense.” Then I realized something–Brantley just enjoys being a Florida Gator! He is okay with sacrificing statistics if he wins games and enjoys being a Florida Gator. Is this not what we ask of him? I doubt he will transfer.

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    montanagator : I don;t think UF or many other teams in America want to go against TCU right now. Their defense is out of this world good as almost that entire D is NFL caliber.

  7. John S says:

    Brantley would be fine with proper protection. Our offensive line, running backs and coaches need to account for everyone when they line up. If a blitz is coming the TE should not run a route. The RB should not run a route. If we stupidly line up five wide facing a blitz (like this coming Saturday) and we don’t have a quick route called, we need to use a timeout. At every level of football if someone comes clean you’re going to get sacked.

    Maybe in the off season we’ll figure that out. For now this is the best we got, hopefully John will be patient.

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