As the No. 17/18 Florida Gators prepare for their biggest road test of the 2011 season on Oct. 8 against the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s loss and the upcoming contest.
BRANTLEY WAS PLAYING THE GAME OF HIS CAREER ON SATURDAY
All week leading up to Saturday’s contest against the Alabama Crimson Tide, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley‘s teammates kept saying how impressed they were with their leader’s confidence and poise. Brantley showcased just that during the game, opening the contest with a 65-yard touchdown pass and completing 69 percent of his passes for 190 yards through just two quarters before being injured. Weis said Tuesday that he was as impressed as he has ever been with Brantley during the game.
“With the exception of the interception where he didn’t ever see the guy – he was trying to throw the check-down to Trey [Burton] and should not have thrown it because he couldn’t really see Trey either. Think about it, he throws 16 passes, he completes 11 and he has three dropped balls,” he said. “You think about it: 14/16 against that defense? He’s stepping up in the pocket. That’s what real quarterbacks look like. Stepping up in the pocket, shuffling a little to the left, shuffling a little to the right. Making the big throw down the field that everyone said he couldn’t make. Stepping up and making the crossing route to Deonte [Thompson]denote which was his fourth read of the play. He goes boom – boom – boom and hits them out the back door.
“He would like to have that interception back, but you notice the one thing I liked the most about him was when that happened, I said three words to him when he came off the field: “Short term memory.” He came back, we went on that two-minute drive right at the end and got the ball down to the 14-yard-line before we got back-to-back sacks. It never fazed him. [He] never lost his cool. I look into peoples eyes. It was pretty easy to see that he expected to play a good game. That’s why it was unfortunate that he got injured.”
BACK-UPS TO THE BACK-UP
Redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy: “His biggest asset over those other guys is just a year of experience. Having been involved in the college football program for a year, be it a different offense, gives him a little bit of an upper hand.”
Freshman Jacoby Brissett: “Jacoby probably, the only reason why Jacoby hasn’t been a factor at this point is only because he came here in the summertime. He had to play catch-up over the other guys. The other guys were here in the spring when we put everything in. That’s the only thing that kept Jacoby from possibly being the second guy in. I don’t know how it would have played out if he was here in the springtime with the other guys, but he wasn’t.”
He also addressed whether or not specific thought has been given to redshirting Brissett (or even Driskel before the season began). “Although the thought is in the background, it’s too early in the year to do that. Once Jeff played, you don’t want to put Jacoby in just to hand off. But if Jacoby gives us a chance to win this week, Jacoby will gladly play. He would be more than happy to trot out there for the first time.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On if he thinks Brantley will play again this season: “Yeah, I do. You already were told by the head coach that he’ll let you know on Monday. He’s going to let you know on Monday, right? Isn’t that what he said/ He said, “I’ll let you know on Monday,” so the head coach will let you know on Monday.”
» On if he has had to rebuild the offense’s confidence this week: “Our coaching staff, at least the veteran coaches on our staff, have all been through experiences like this before, and we got a good idea how to handle it. It’s not like panic sets in, pandemonium sets in, it’s very matter-of-fact evaluation of what we do and what they do. It’s not a finger-point situation. Let’s be objective about the things that we could have done better and then here’s what we’re going to do to fix it and let’s move on. I don’t think there was any panic or any loss of confidence or all those things. I think that when you have a bunch of experienced guys who have been through the highs and lows, it becomes much more matter-of-fact.”
» On losing to Alabama: “They coached better than I did and they played better than we did. Not ever would I ever not start with the fact that I have to do a better job. When John goes down, I have to do a better job to put us in a better position to make plays.”
» On his evaluation of LSU: “We know it’s a formidable opponent. They’re ranked first in the country. They’ve got a great defense. You’re playing them on the road. It’s loud and you’re playing without your starting quarterback. What that does is, that gives you all the, “us against the world” mentality where you sit there and say, “Yeah, I guess we should just not go. We should just stay home this week.’”
» On if all three quarterbacks could play Saturday: “I would doubt that.”
» On if Driskel did indeed sprain his ankle on Saturday: “All three guys practiced today. What more do you want me to tell you? I’m not going there. It’s just not my territory. I feel I’m overstepping my bounds when I address that subject. I should always follow protocol and I just don’t think that’s my place.”
» On redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose stepping up recently: “The arrow has been pointing up on Andre for about a month. He’s been a very, very slow start – didn’t have a great training camp. He’s got tons of ability, an ability to be a front-line, top-line wide receiver. But he’s got to show you evidence of that. You don’t just go by reputation. They have to show you evidence. That’s part of the good thing that Will’s done since he’s been here. People don’t play based off of reputation; they have to give you evidence. For about the last four weeks…for him, the arrow’s clearly pointing up.”
» On if any changes will be made to the offensive line: “They have to get pressed more and not feel comfortable. With guys that play better or worse, they need to know that they’re not just handed a position. It’s still the same cast of characters that is involved in the mix. […] It’s not a question of who the people are, it’s just a question of how you intend to utilize them.”