The Gators open practice today with a new quarterback and a new (passing) system, courtesy of John Brantley. Gone is the dual threat of Tim Tebow and in his place is a cannon arm that will make more sorority girls swoon.
I am convinced, granted with no real evidence or insight on the man's thinking, that Brantley will be the best passing quarterback Florida has had. Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel might have the advantage of history and Tebow has the advantage of a fullback's body. But in terms of putting the ball in spots where only his guys can get it, Brantley will be the best. He will bounce screen passes and overthrow deep balls like Tebow. But he will grow out of that.
What I am not convinced of and what all of us should be looking for starting today, is how Brantley leads the team. Tebow was surely loved by his players. Yet his intensity also meant leading by force. It really doesn't matter how you lead the team. Just that you do it. If Brantley gets the team behind him by being a first class player and not calling out guys who screw up, then so be it.
As as excited I am about Brantley's time in the sun, I'm interested as a football fan. The second act isn't always good and maybe there is enough hangover from the exit of the best class in Florida history to impact this team. But you have to have faith in the new kid. He's been waiting a long time for this chance.