Tripling up today.
John Brantley could sort of be Brady Quinn under Charlie Weis, we keep hearing. The Alligator brought it up last week, the Gainesville Sun wrote about Charlie Weis tailoring his offense to Brantley a few days ago, and ESPN's Mark Schlabach was drinking the Flavor-Aid on Weis and Brantley being a great tandem back in March. This hope isn't new.
But people seem to forget that Brady Quinn, even under Tyrone Willingham, was not bad — though he was, originally, worse than John Brantley under Urban Meyer. Here, let's do the statistical comparison.
- Quinn, 2003 (Willingham, freshman): 157-for-332 (47.3%), 1831 yards, 5.5 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns, 15 interceptions.
- Quinn, 2004 (Willingham, sophomore): 191-for-353 (54.1%), 2,586 yards, 7.3 yards per attempt, 17 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
- Quinn, 2005 (Weis, junior): 292-for-450, (64.9%), 3,919 yards, 8.7 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns, seven interceptions.
- Quinn, 2006 (Weis, senior): 289-for-467, (61.9%), 3,426 yards, 7.3 yards per attempt, 37 touchdowns, seven interceptions.
- Brantley, 2010 (Meyer, junior): 200-for-329, (60.8%), 2,061 yards, 6.3 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
Quinn did and likely will always throw a better deep ball than Brantley does, but Brantley's got skills in the underneath and medium-range passing games that Quinn still struggles with at the NFL level. And Brantley was far more accurate than Quinn under Willingham, despite being less comfortable in Meyer's offense than Quinn was in Willingham's — really, offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick's — West Coast scheme and playing in the SEC. (Notre Dame's 2003 schedule was daunting, though.)
Furthermore, while Quinn had Jeff Samardzija, Darius Walker, and John Carlson, it's not like Brantley's arsenal is chopped liver: We know that there are three potentially game-breaking running backs on this roster, and that there's too much talent at wide receiver for someone to not emerge, despite attrition.
Weis is smart. He knows that Brantley is playing not just for Florida, but for the resuscitation of his pro potential. And Brantley's certainly smart (and classy) enough to have bided his time, waiting for a chance like Weis to come along. For what it's worth, Mocking the Draft seems to think Brantley can rebuild his NFL Draft stock with a fine season. Let's hope he does.