Brantley era, life after Tebow begin for Florida

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The latest Brantley could be the best of the bunch.

“I think the way John Brantley plays is going to surprise a lot of people,” guard Carl Johnson said.

Meyer and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio tweaked the spread offense to tailor Brantley’s strengths, putting him under center more and eliminating many designed quarterback runs.

It’s not that Brantley is slow, though. He’s fairly mobile, but with freshmen behind him, the Gators don’t want to expose their starter to extra hits.

Plus, Brantley’s best attributes are arm strength, accuracy and anticipation.

Appearing mostly in mop-up duty as Tebow’s backup, Brantley completed 75 percent of his passes for 410 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

This certainly will be different.

No one really knows what to expect, either. Larry Rentz replaced 1966 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier and lost four games. Doug Johnson replaced 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel and lost two games.

Brantley’s teammates have been overly positive about the transition. Why?

“It’s kind of like going into a battle with a general that you really don’t like and you really don’t trust,” Carl Johnson said. “If you do that, then everyone’s going to die. No one will have great success. We have to be behind him 100 percent, up or down. He’s ready to go.”

Brantley has gotten tips from several former Florida quarterbacks, including his father, Tebow, Chris Leak, Doug Johnson, Shane Matthews and Kerwin Bell. They all told him the same thing.

“I keep reiterating to him to be yourself,” said Bell, Brantley’s high school coach who’s now the head coach at Jacksonville University. “Understand your strengths, understand what will make you successful and play to those. Don’t try to be like Tebow. Don’t try to run over people. Don’t try to do some of the stuff that Tebow was so good at because there’s not many like Tim Tebow. Right off the bat, he said, ‘Coach, believe me, I know.’

“If he continues that mindset, he’s going to have a fantastic year.”

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