The decision on how Florida's offense will be run is reliant on John Brantley's relationship with his receivers. If Brantley is comfortable with his targets, Florida can lean on their established running game but open up the passing game.
One of the running subplots of last season was Tim Tebow's inability to pass to someone not named Cooper or Hernandez. If Brantley wants to be successful, he cannot rely on two targets for nearly 50 percent of the catches as happened in 2009. In the spring, much was made about Deonte Thompson's comment that Brantley was a real quarterback, but it exposed a line of thinking that will benefit Florida in 2010; Brantley will throw first, then throw it away. He is not going to look for wide open passing windows then get sacked or scramble. Brantley will look for the windows to throw to, then play another down.
Who will benefit from this change in thinking at quarterback is the new question. It is easy to say Thompson since there was not excuse for him to have only 24 catches last season. Plus, Brantley will not have the advantage of a top-tier tight end that Tebow had to lean on. That means more balls to Thompson and new slot receiver Chris Rainey. Perhaps Carl Moore will finally be healthy enough to become a solid third option.
Much is expected of Andre Debose, but his success is dependent upon his own doing, not Brantley's. Debose is a freshman with a surgically repaired hamstring, not a five-start high school recruit. Brantley and the Gators have to be careful about feeding him the ball and making him Percy Harvin 2.0. That also means dialing down the expectations for Debose.
I continue to believe that Brantley will be a better passing quarterback than Tebow and a Heisman contender next season. But that will depend on who his targets end up being. If Debose steps up or someone comes out of the mess that is the tight end position, Florida will throw it plenty in 2010.