In June, I wrote an article titled "John Brantley is your quarterback, Tim Tebow is Denver's quarterback." The point of the article was to basically throw out the Tebow-only fans (which I also do here) and to appeal for support for Brantley. It bothers me when I see comparisons to Tebow with current players because Tebow also played with a great defense and backs and receivers who are productive pros. Florida has a good to very good defense, but nothing matching the offensive talent Tebow had to work with. It is unfair to Brantley to assume he will be a Golden Child, because he has a different body, different style and different personality. Of course, I violated my own rule and called Brantley a 2011 Heisman contender, which could still happen.
There is a problem, however. Either because of Brantley or Urban Meyer or Steve Addazio or Scot Loeffler, No. 12 is continuing to make the same mistakes in each game. Too many balls sail on Brantley and he is underthrowing his deep targets. When he hits a guy in stride, it is a thing of beauty. But he should be hitting a guy in stride every play. If it wasn't for Carl Moore having the hands of a jai-alai cesta, Brantley might be worse than 62 percent completions.
There are a number of factors that may have contributed to Brantley's ineffectiveness; bad coaching, forcing him to be an option quarterback, injuries, getting blitzed on every down. But that doesn't explain consistently throwing over receiver's heads. We also could be expecting too much (for instance, Tebow did not have a 4th quarter game winning drive until the 2008 SEC Championship Game). That final part is why Brantley is and will remain the starting quarterback. Florida can be patient with him and he still is the best option as quarterback.
The idea that Brantley is the best option as quarterback probably does not sit well with some of you. After watching Jordan Reed throw a perfect ball to Stone Hands Thompson on Saturday, it is hard to accept Reed as a backup. In addition, Trey Burton can run the ball like Reed, but lacks the arm of both Brantley and Reed. As fans, we just want to move the ball down the field and we don't care who does it. We also don't care if Meyer and Addazio can't coach a pro-style quarterback, because unless that pro-style QB can move the ball, we don't want a pro-style QB.
As for the remainder of the season, Brantley is still The Guy, with Reed as The Alternate Guy and Burton as The Run-only Guy. You don't have to accept that, but I hope you understand that it isn't easy to remove one quarterback for another. Most of us have been in locker rooms as athletes, even if it wasn't at the level of SEC football. A team's personality changes when the goalie is demoted, the leadoff man is moved lower in the order or when the quarterback is pulled. With three games left, and a possible fourth, Florida is not going to make that move. Maybe the 2011 quarterback competition is wide open, but Brantley is still your 2010 quarterback.