Florida Gators WRs Dunkley, McRoy transferring

A pair of Florida Gators wide receivers have decided to transfer, the University of Florida announced on Friday. Redshirt freshman Chris Dunkley and freshman Javares McRoy will both continue their college careers at other institutions.

Dunkley, who was suspended from team activities this spring for academic reasons, has not announced where he will play.

“It’s been a great learning experience being here at the University of Florida,” he said in a release, “but I feel like it’s in my best interest to get a fresh start somewhere else.“

McRoy, who sat out the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut with what head coach Will Muschamp called a “medical procedure with his lung,” will join his brother on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a school he initially committed to before switching to Florida.

“I enjoyed my time at Florida, but I really want the chance to play with my brother Ben, who is at Texas Tech,” he said in the release. “Florida has been very understanding and is giving me that opportunity.”

The Gators will enter the 2011 season with only nine scholarship receivers on the roster: redshirt senior Deonte Thompson; redshirt juniors Frankie Hammond, Jr. and Omarius Hines; redshirt sophomores Andre Debose and Stephen Alli; sophomores Robert Clark, Quinton Dunbar and Solomon Patton; and freshman Ja’Juan Story.

The departures of Dunkley and McRoy open up two additional scholarships Florida can use for the 2012 recruiting cycle.

“We wish both of these guys the best of luck in their future endeavors, both on and off the field,” Muschamp said.

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Florida grants WR McRoy’s transfer to Texas Tech

The Florida Gators on Friday granted a transfer request from freshman wide receiver Javares McRoy, a four-star 2011 commitment who will leave the program immediately to join his brother with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, according to Rivals.

McRoy, who sat out the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut with what head coach Will Muschamp called a “medical procedure with his lung,” is a Lakeland, FL native who was originally committed to Texas Tech but switched allegiances on June 10. He was one of Florida’s seven early enrollees; the remaining commits enroll this summer.

Three-star commit Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville, FL) is the Gators’ only remaining receiver in their 2011 signing class. McRoy’s departure opens up an additional scholarship Florida can use for the 2012 recruiting cycle.

Photo Credit: Lakeland High School via ESPN

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Wrapping up the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut

With the Florida Gators spring game – the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut – now in the books, plenty will be written about what occurred during the game and how it will play a role in what happens the remainder of the season. However, what happens during spring practice and the spring game – outside of player evaluation – often has little to do in determining how a season will unfold in the long run. There are nevertheless some hot topics of conversation coming out of the game which you can read below.

EVALUATING THE SPRING ABOUT IDENTIFYING PLAYMAKERS

Head coach Will Muschamp and his coaching staff have a lot of work to do in order to get the Gators ready for the regular season beginning in September. The initial step to doing so, he said on Saturday, was using the spring to identify those players he can trust to make an impact for him on every unit, something he believes the team accomplished over the previous five weeks.

“The first thing you look [at] is the installation of schemes and see how far along [the team is] and identify playmakers. That dictates what you do. That’s really our philosophy as a coaching staff: Let’s evaluate our players, let’s see what they can do and put them in situations where they can be most successful,” he said. “We’ve done that. We’ve identified, on both sides of the ball, the guys we can rely on as far as offense, defense and special teams. You work through that scheme-wise and then you start implementing things you feel like can work in those situations. We’ve identified our playmakers.”

While a few of those playmakers were showcased on the defensive side of the ball Saturday, there was not much electricity when it came to the offensive output. Muschamp said the goal is to list the top 22 players overall (11 starters on each side) and expand from there. “We need that list to grow as far as guys we know we can count on and rely on in the fall in our league,” he said.

Now that the spring session is over, the coaches will concentrate on recruiting and planning ahead for the summer and fall. In the meantime, Muschamp told his players that it is up to them to show leadership, keep up with their physical fitness and stay out of trouble. “This is a critical time for us. We’ve had a five-week offseason program. We’ve had spring ball. Now the coaches will be on the road recruiting,” he said. “By NCAA rules, we’re very limited as much we can spend with the football team, and our leadership needs to take over. I challenged some guys in our locker room. It’s time for them to step up. It doesn’t need to be a senior. We don’t have many seniors. They need to understand it’s their football team, it’s not mine. We will only be as good as we are next year with the work ethic that takes place.”

BRANTLEY SHINED IN PRACTICE, STRUGGLED IN DEBUT

The only glimpse fans have had of redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley since last season is Saturday’s dismal performance where he only completed four passes and played just a half of football in a scrimmage. However, according to Muschamp, Brantley has been lights-out in practice and is the team’s starting quarterback going forward.

“I thought he had a really good spring. If we started the season today, John Brantley would be our starter. He’s experienced. He’s got talent. John’s had a very good spring,” he said. “He’s close to 70 percent completion percentage for the spring; we tally every throw. I’m very pleased with how he’s managing our football team. He’s picked up our offense; he does a great job at the line of scrimmage. We put a lot on the quarterback as far as running pass checks, protections, run game… I’m pleased with Johnny.”

Critics will be quick to jump on Brantley for throwing incompletions and having a few balls batted down (as was his tendency in 2010), but the Gators entered the game with only one running back, not a single fullback and a banged up offensive line that was neither experienced playing together nor able to handle the stout defensive front they encountered. “We went into scrimmage planning on just playing [Brantley] in the first half regardless. We didn’t change our plan there as far as what we wanted to do,” Muschamp said. “[I’ve been] pleased with his performance all spring. [He’s] been consistent, but he’s also got to have better people around him to help him. That starts with our offensive line.”

Brantley did not discuss his performance in particular but tried to show leadership by propping up the offensive line that let rushers through to all of the quarterbacks all day long. “They were running both ways. I respect the heck out of them for doing that. They played their hearts out,” he said. “It didn’t really limit us play calling or anything like that, it’s just tough for those guys to go back-and-forth, up-and-down the field all afternoon.”

He also discussed how offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has changed the team and him in particular. “We have a great offensive scheme here. Everybody’s getting real comfortable with it,” he said. “We’re going to keep building off it, work together with the receivers over summer, get in sync with everything, and we’ll be good for camp. I feel pretty comfortable [with the system]. There’s a lot more to learn, and Coach Weis and all the coaches will get us ready for all that. For right now, what we learned in the spring is a good basis of what we’re going to be doing in the fall. He’s always been telling me to be more of a leader I don’t have to be more vocal, just be able to lead the team by what my actions are. He wants me to be able to run this team, and he’s helped me out a lot with that this spring.”

A TALE OF TWO LINES

Florida had nearly 20 players sidelined and sitting out for the Orange & Blue Debut including a number of major playmakers and much of the starting offensive line. Muschamp, who has maintained from the beginning that football in the Southeastern Conference starts with the play of the men in the trenches, understands the injuries but is anxious for the players to get healthy as soon as possible.

“There’s been some spotty work up front with that because of injuries. Because we were thin to begin with [and] you take the laundry list [of players] out of that then it’s even worse,” he said. “There’s two units that have to be as tight-knit as any on the team and that’s the offensive line and the secondary. When you have a lot of moving parts on either one of those positions, then it creates problems for the rest of your team. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league and we’re only as good as we are upfront. […] We’ve had a lot of moving parts up front, which is good for our football team in that we’re building depth and we’ve had to cross-train guys at different positions. That will help us in the long run, but in the short run it has been a little frustrating.”

While the offensive line has been a point of concern, the defensive line – especially the play of sophomore defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley – has been a bright spot all spring and was once again on Saturday. “They’re good football players and they need to stay grounded with where they are. They’re disruptive players inside,” said Muschamp of the duo. “Dominique is extremely quick with his first step. He’s got great initial quickness, punch and power, good change of direction. Sharrif is a really good football player, starting to feel blocks inside. Instead of just playing the game, they need to start learning the game. They need to understand situations; they need to understand stances; they need to understand steps. Those are the things they need to do a great job in [learning] in the offseason.”

Floyd confirmed to ESPN that what he and Easley were able to do to the offensive line caused Brantley some problems. “I wouldn’t call John Brantley’s play today a struggle. I would call it, ‘Not enough room,’” he said. “Me and Dominique Easley collapsed the pocket, and that’s one of our main goals. We forced offensive linemen into his face, and he had to roll out.”

DUNBAR, WIDE RECEIVERS STEPPING UP

No pass catcher was raved about more on Saturday than sophomore wide receiver Quinton Dunbar, who only finished with two receptions for 21 yards but opened eyes during practice over the last five weeks. “You can’t take away from what Quinton Dunbar has done vertically down the field through the entire body of work of spring,” Muschamp said after the game. “Dunbar has made more big plays than anybody else.”

In fact, Brantley nearly hit Dunbar for a long pass on the first play of the game that he promptly dropped. “I wish I would have had that back. Cody Riggs made a good play on it and I came back, tried to make a play, and he knocked it out of my hands,” Dunbar told the Orlando Sentinel after the game. “I feel that I had a solid spring. I came out, worked hard, competed everyday and I felt great. I’m hoping to stretch the field, and I’m also hoping to just be a receiver in general.”

Muschamp had handed out superlatives to the other receivers, calling redshirt junior Frankie Hammond, Jr. the “most consistent,” redshirt junior Omarius Hines the most versatile (F position in the backfield, X receiver on the line), redshirt senior Deonte Thompson the most experienced, redshirt sophomore Andre Debose a threat anywhere on the field because of his speed and sophomore Solomon Patton the best out of the backfield on the reverse.

Photo Credit: Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun

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Blue tops Orange 13-10 at Gators spring game

Not all coming out parties are exciting and such was the case for the Florida Gators at the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Faced with a mountain of injuries and in the middle of a coaching transition, Blue defeated Orange 13-10 after each team scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The first half was a 3-3 stalemate with senior kicker Caleb Sturgis hitting a pair of field goals including a long of 43 yards for Blue.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley started for Blue but only played in the first half and finished 4/14 for 45 yards after throwing five-straight incomplete passes to begin the game. He was replaced by freshman QB Jeff Driskel (2/6 for 13 yards, 23 rushing yards) at halftime before walk-on sophomore QB Christian Provancha closed out the game with a 39-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Robert Clark.

Redshirt freshman QB Tyler Murphy drew the start for the Orange team and played most of the game, going 7/11 for 68 yards. He threw a TD to sophomore walk-on running back Ben Sams on a play that would have normally been ruled a sack and tossed an interception to sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs on a ball tipped by the receiver.

Other highlights from the game include a 55-yard punt by freshman punter Kyle Christy, dominant performances on the defensive line from sophomore defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley, some explosive plays from redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey, a solid day from sophomore WR Quinton Dunbar and two nice first-half receptions from freshman tight end A.C. Leonard.

The University of Florida announced that 53,000 fans were in attendance for the game and halftime ceremony that saw three statues being unveiled for the school’s trio of Heisman Trophy-winning QBs: Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Tim Tebow (2007). Spurrier sent in a pre-recorded message because South Carolina’s spring game was also played Saturday, while Wuerffel and Tebow stood at midfield and expressed their appreciation to the fans, administration and donors.

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2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

Event: 2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Florida Gators spring football
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: Sun Sports

Online Video: —–>

Live Updates: @OnlyGators Reference: Roster | Schedule 2010: Blue 27, Orange 24

Radio appearance: Adam Silverstein will be previewing the Florida Gators’ spring game Saturday on Sirius-122/XM-143 College Sports Nation at approximately 11 a.m. Tune in.

EVENT INFORMATION

» Gator Walk: North side of stadium, exterior, 9:30 a.m. start
» Parking: The following parking locations are available first-come, first-serve for fans wishing to attend the game – O’Connell Center garage, O’Connell Center lot (disabled), Commuter Lot (Lemerand Dr.) with shuttle
» Heisman Statue Ceremony: UF will unveil three statues of the school’s Heisman Trophy winners – Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Tim Tebow (2007) – on the westside of the stadium at halftime of the game near the skybox entrance. Those inside the stadium will not be allowed to exit for the ceremony but will be able to watch the unveiling live inside The Swamp after watching a brief video introduction. Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow will all provide remarks to the crowd after the unveiling, though only Wuerffel and Tebow are expected to be in attendance.
» Former Gators in attendance: QB Tebow, QB Wuerffel, LB Mike Peterson, RB Fred Taylor, C Maurkice & Mike Pouncey, WR Riley Cooper, WR David Nelson, LB Brandon Spikes, DE Carlos Dunlap, DB Dorian Munroe, DE Jarvis Moss, DT Joe Cohen, RB Kesthan Moore, etc.
» Recruits in attendance (List courtesy of InsideTheGators.com): LB Jeremi Powell (commit), RB Matt Jones (commit), LB Tyriq McCord, OT Patrick Miller, OT Avery Young, DE Jelani Hamilton, ATH Angelo Jean-Louis, ATH Amos Leggett, ATH Nelson Agholor, LB Noor Davis, OL Evan Goodman, ATH Marcus Maye, DT Korren Kirven, TE Kurt Freitag, DE Jhaustin Thomas, LB Tashon Whitehurst, S Ladarion Young, LB Trey Johnson (2013), RB Kelvin Taylor (2013), LB Leon McQuay III (2013), etc.

Additional information including the game format, injury report, team notes and who to keep an eye on all are available…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

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FOUR BITS: T. Burton, paintball, Beal, Lee

1 » Florida Gators sophomore athlete Trey Burton may be limited in the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday after suffering an undisclosed injury during practice recently, according to the Palm Beach Post. With coaches and players being unavailable to the media from Tuesday evening until the conclusion of the game this weekend, no further information is currently known. Burton, who is/was expected to see snaps in the backfield behind redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey due to Florida’s injury problems, may put the Gators in an even bigger hole offensively during the public scrimmage.

2 » Head coach Will Muschamp and his staff surprised the team on Thursday by cancelling scheduled team meetings and weight lifting to take the entire group on a paintball trip. In addition to squaring off in paintball action, the team played cornhole and tug-of-war in what Muschamp referred to as “team building exercise[s].” Joining in on the fun was Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who has been in Gainesville, FL all spring. The players all seemed to have a fantastic time at the event, and OGGOA has learned that the vibe was great on-site. Below is a team picture (courtesy of UF Sports Information’s Scott Carter) of the group after the festivities concluded.

3 » Though the difference is marginal, Gators incoming five-star guard Brad Beal was moved up from No. 7 to No. 4 on ESPNU‘s Top 100 rankings for basketball players in the 2011 recruiting cycle. Beal was named the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year this week and can next be seen participating in the Nike Hoops Summit on Saturday at 10 p.m. The game will air live on FOX Sports Network, so be sure to check your availability if planning to watch.

4 » Golden State Warriors center David Lee is on a bit of a hot streak right now, having scored 20 or more points in five of his last seven games with four double-doubles in that time. In six games since March 27, Lee is averaging 22.7 points and 13.5 board. Even more impressive is his last two performances, where he put up totals of 29 points/20 rebounds and 22 points/17 rebounds. Unfortunately for Lee, he won’t have much time to continue that streak as Golden State is 9.5 games out of playoff contention with only three more to play in the regular season.

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4/5: Dunkley suspended, consistency an issue

With the Florida Gators 2011 spring practice now in full swing, head coach Will Muschamp met with the media after the day’s activities were completed on Tuesday. Maintaining a serious and balanced demeanor, Muschamp discussed a number of topics including the team’s level of consistency in practice, who is shining in the secondary and what the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut will look like on Saturday.

DUNKLEY SUSPENDED FOR ACADEMICS

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley, who hobbled through most of 2010 with a hamstring injury and has been relatively silent so far this spring, has been suspended from the team for academic issues. Muschamp remained vague about the situation, saying that “academically he needs to handle some things,” but noted that he has not sat out the entire time and can earn his way back on the field if he gets his grades up.

TIME TO BE CONSISTENT

Muschamp wants to trust the guys he puts on the gridiron and has maintained that the best way for players to prove themselves is by showing consistency both on and off the field. “I really challenged the players after practice to [find] consistency in their performance. We’ve done some really nice things at all positions at times, but the consistency of it is not what it needs to be,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of improvements, but we have tremendous strides to make. […] The inconsistency is the frustrating thing, but there’s been bright spots at a lot of positions in what we’re trying to do.”

Asked to compare the base level of talent that Florida has with what he left at Texas, Muschamp noted that ability is not the issue. “We have talent. I’m excited about the players we have,” he said. “It’s what we have and we’re going to be fine. Depth is an issue, but that’s something that [can be fixed with time].”

He spent a lot of time talking about two position groups in particular, noting that once they become consistent and cohesive as individual units, the team’s overall performance will be more impressive. “The two tightest knit groups on the team need to be the offensive line and the secondary,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got to play together. They’ve got to have great communication. They’ve got to be on the same page in what they do and how they do it. We’ve got to be tied together well in those two areas. There’s been times we have been, and there’s been times we haven’t been.”

PLANS FOR ORANGE & BLUE DEBUT

The Gators will be in the hot Florida sun on Saturday for the team’s spring game, but due to lack of depth along both lines and injuries on both offense and defense, the format will be different than years past. Florida will split up into Blue and Orange teams with Blue groupings representing the first-team players and Orange groupings representing the second-team players. However, the offense will wear the color blue throughout the afternoon, while the defense will stick with white. All that really matters to Muschamp is that the team gets better when Saturday’s scrimmage comes to a close.

“What we want to do is go out and have a very functional scrimmage. We want to execute on both sides of the ball. We need to see guys play in front of people, I think that’s important to see how they respond in front of a good crowd,” he said. “It’s important for us to go out and play fast, play physical and play with toughness.”

He also cautioned that the game is “not gonna be real flashy” and joked that he may have to strap on the pads one more time to help out. “We’ve got who we got; I may line up at left tackle,” Muschamp quipped.

NOTES & QUOTES

» On how sophomore Gerald Christian is faring at tight end and linebacker: “He’s battling [at LB], but he’s playing on both sides. [His] head’s spinning a lot. He’s working awful hard. I’m very proud of his effort and what he’s trying to do. He’s done some nice things for us at tight end, and we continue to rep him in at linebacker. After spring is over, we need to sit down and make some decisions about where we go with this, but he’s done some good things on both sides of the ball.”

» On the standout play of sophomore safety Matt Elam: “We’ve done some really nice things at times. Matt Elam’s really made a lot of plays; I think he’s had a really solid spring. I want his leadership ability to step up; he’s a guy that can provide more of that and bring that more to our football team. He’s really made some nice plays on the ball in coverage and in run support.”

» Muschamp said that junior Josh Evans and sophomores Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins are all performing well at safety. Watkins is listed on the spring roster as a cornerback and played that position in 2010. He also noted that sophomore Cody Riggs has played nearly every defensive back position in the spring.

» Evaluating the CBs in particular, Muschamp said redshirt junior Jeremy Brown is consistent day-in and day-out and “has had a very solid spring” overall. However, redshirt senior Moses Jenkins has been just the opposite, “inconsistent in his performance” including at the point of attack and on the line of scrimmage.

» On the emergence of freshman CB De’Ante Saunders, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury: “He’s going to be a good football player for the Gators. This guy’s got a lot of ability. For a guy that hasn’t played a lot of corner in his life, he’s got some natural instincts on the back end. He’s got the critical factors of being a good defensive back: toughness, he can play the ball down the field, he can play with range, he can cover man, he’s got zone instincts. He’s got all the attributes you want at that position.”

» Muschamp repeated much of what has been said about the offensive line recently. Redshirt sophomore Jonotthan Harrison is doing well after being moved to center, redshirt sophomore Jon Halapio is impressing at guard and junior Xavier Nixon has looked good at tackle. He announced that sophomore Ian Silberman has permanently moved from tackle to guard, and that redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green has played on the left and right. “It’s a little bit of a luxury for him to be able to play both sides.”

» On if he’s coached players who don’t perform well in practice but do during games: “I don’t believe in that. You’re going to play like you practice. The guys that practice well play well. I think that carries over. I’m young, but I’m old fashioned in that regard.”

» On sophomore athlete Trey Burton’s importance with so many players being injured: “He’s a football player. He’s got natural instincts. He’s a guy that really gives a defense problems from the standpoint of, ‘What is he?’ Because he can play in the slot, he can play in the backfield, he can be in protection, he can free release. He does an awful lot of things, and Charlie [Weis] does a really nice job of putting him in those situations and really gives the defense some issues.”

» On if the Heisman Trophy winners on-site for the statue ceremony will speak to the team: “Anytime we have an opportunity to have some of the great Gators come through and speak, [we will]. Tim [Tebow] and Danny [Wuerffel] , we want them to be a part of that as well. Fred Taylor should be here on Friday, so we’re excited about Fred speaking to our football time. Anytime that you have guys that have been in this program and been a part of the great tradition and really built this place to what it is, that’s an exciting thing for our players to ask questions, to interact with them and find out what it was like to be a gator when they were here. I think that’s really important to our football team.”

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3/31: Brantley, Rainey discuss offense, leadership

With the Florida Gators 2011 spring practice now in full swing, the school made a number of the team’s players available to the media to conclude the third week of action on Thursday. There was a noticeable excitement in the air about the possibilities in Florida’s new offense under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, as evidenced by some of the notable news and quotes provided during the press sessions.

BRANTLEY FINDING HIS GROOVE

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley, as expected, is much more comfortable under Weis’s pro-style offense. His confidence was noticeable during his press availability on Thursday, when he was eager to answer questions and discuss his comfort level with the brand new coordinator. “He’s a great guy. I respect Coach Weis a bunch,” Brantley said. “I really appreciate him and what he’s doing for us right now. He’s a great guy, great coach. I’ll listen to everything he says […] He knows how to develop quarterbacks.”

Brantley also spoke about the competition for the starting quarterback job and if it is weird for him to be starting from scratch with both redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and true freshman Jeff Driskel. “[By] helping each other out, you learn even more,” he said. “If someone needs help, teaching them also helps you out, helps them out. We’re working as team; we’re a team. We’re fighting for a position, but we’re all buddies.”

Now that he is getting the playbook down, Brantley is anxious to compete in more scrimmages like the one held last Saturday and the upcoming 2011 Orange & Blue Debut on April 9. “The scrimmage aspect, that’s more game-like reps. Everything moves a little bit faster and that definitely helps you out,” he said. “With learning this new offense, the only way you get better is with more reps.”

RAINEY SEEKING REDEMPTION

Going into the 2010 season looking to make an impact, now-redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey took a while to reach his goal. Switched to wide receiver due to the need for someone to fill the “Percy Position” in the spread offense, Rainey never seemed completely comfortable early on. Then all hell broke loose and he was indefinitely suspended from the team until the Georgia game, when he came back primarily as a rusher and hit the ground hard for 89 yards and a touchdown.

With former head coach Urban Meyer out the door, Rainey has been moved back to a rushing role and is beaming about the opportunity he has in front of him for 2011. “I love it. I’m comfortable in the system. All the other years, it’s just been quarterback runs and stuff like that,” he said Thursday. “[I like lining up in the backfield] way better. When you see high school [games of] me, it’s just like that. […] I’m glad I’m just a running back.” He also explained why the new role makes him more dangerous. “When I get the ball [now], I can just read the whole field,” he said. “That gives me a chance to read the field, do whatever I want. [It’s] more freedom.”

Rainey added that Brantley is “made for this offense” and is noticeably “more comfortable,” feeling good and “doing everything right” behind center. Overall, he thinks fans will be very pleased with what the offense has in store for next season. “[It will have] a lot of excitement, a lot of big plays [and] a lot more people involved. Just a lot of fun. Fans are going to be happy again,” he said.

He also spoke briefly about turning his life around after last season’s off -the-field incident. “I grew up a lot, did a lot of thinking. I just look past it to look at the future,” he said. “I’m more focused, doing everything right, looking forward to being a leader.”

QUOTES

Brantley on how the wide receivers have played: “They’ve all done a great job. The young guys are stepping up. Quinton Dunbar and Omarius [Hines] and Deonte [Thompson] – they’ve always been the great players they are. Quinton Dunbar and [Stephen] Alli – they’ve been doing a great job this spring.”

Brantley on how Dunbar is doing: “He’s just making plays. Whenever his number’s called, he’s able to step in there and do his job.”

Brantley on the first scrimmage: “It felt pretty good. It wasn’t perfect. It’s tough to be perfect, especially learning a new offense, but it was really good. Everyone went out there and was very competitive. Everyone’s ready to get going.”

Brantley on if the offense is overly complicated: “No. Not once you get it down. Not once you get into it and get into the playbook and study it. It gets easier and easier every day.”

Rainey on Weis being at Florida: “He loves it. The first thing he said when he got here was that this was the most athletes he’s ever been around. So we felt good about that one.”

Rainey on working with track star and senior RB Jeff Demps: “We meet up sometimes, talk about motions. It’s basically easy – most of the plays are the same thing but different formations.”

Rainey on carrying the load during spring practice: “It’s hard, but I’m an athlete. I’m in shape. So I’m good.”

Rainey on what has changed: “New team. New me. New system.”

Rainey on losing Meyer, with whom he was close: “Anything can happen any given day, so you just got to be prepared and just ready for it.”

Rainey on Weis’s humor: “He’s a big joker, but he can be very serious, too. What he says goes.”

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