- Associated Press - Sunday, September 5, 2010

John Brantley was no Tim Tebow, though Auburn’s Cameron Newton, who was once a Gator, did a pretty good imitation of the former Florida star.

Texas didn’t want Garrett Gilbert to have to carry the offense the way Colt McCoy used to, but the Longhorns’ new starting quarterback might have to.

Taking into account the opposition, Michigan’s Denard Robinson was probably the best of the first-time starting quarterbacks this weekend.

But before anyone declares Newton or Robinson a Heisman Trophy candidate or Brantley a bust, remember that two games into last season it was Tate Forcier who looked like the future of Michigan football. Now he’s a third-stringer.


The unveiling of a new starting quarterback is a lot bringing home a new puppy. Everybody is excited about the new addition and then you realize how much work it takes to get the little fella to do what you want.

Florida and its fans seemed confident that while Brantley might not become an all-time great like Tebow, he would be a more than adequate replacement for the Gators’ Golden Boy.

Instead, Brantley made a mess of the Swamp in his first start. Florida’s lousy offensive performance in a 34-12 victory against Miami (Ohio) was in no way all his fault. Brantley had a tough time just getting a clean shotgun snap from center Mike Pouncey.

Still, he couldn’t get the ball down the field and settled for dinks and dunks that amounted to a totally unacceptable 4.5 yards per attempt.

“I’m not embarrassed at all,” Brantley said. “It was one those days, I guess you could say.”

While it’s too early to panic, the junior will need to take a big step forward next week when Florida faces South Florida at the Swamp.

If not, well the backups are freshmen, so let’s just say Florida needs Brantley to come through to make another SEC title run.

You can bet that there were at least a few Florida fans watching Newton’s spectacular Auburn debut and wondering, ‘Can we get that kid back?’

Newton began his college career in Florida, but was kicked off the team after he was arrested and charged with stealing another student’s laptop. The charges were dropped after he completed a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders.

After a year in junior college, Newton transferred to Auburn to run Gus Malzahn’s spread offense. Against Arkansas State, Newton looked like the perfect fit. He ran for 171 yards and threw for 196 on only nine completions in the Tigers’ 52-26 victory.

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