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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Big season looming for Gators' Brantley?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks quarterback John Brantley received too much of the blame for Florida's offensive struggles last season.

What's that old saying about the quarterbacks always getting too much of the credit when things are going good and too much of the blame when things are going bad?

In Florida's case, Joyner thinks it had more to do with the receivers and pass protection a year ago, and he also thinks that new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will be able to help the situation.

There's no question the Gators' receivers need to be more consistent next season. They need to run better routes, drop fewer passes and make more plays down the field. The receivers on that Florida roster were all highly rated guys and recruited nationally. Remember how much Urban Meyer talked up Andre Debose?

Well, we know by now that Debose is not the second coming of Percy Harvin (who is?), but that doesn't mean he can't be an effective playmaker in the Gators' new pro-style system under Weis.

The 2011 season is equally big for Frankie Hammond Jr. and Chris Dunkley. Hammond has a chance to be one of the breakout players in the league next season. Deonte Thompson led the team in receptions with 38 last season, and he's back. His problem has been too many drops. Omarius Hines will be a junior, and he fits in as that bigger receiver in the Gators' offense.

Something tells me Brantley will simply be more comfortable in Weis' system. Granted, he still has to win the job, but he was never a fit for Meyer's spread offense.

The other thing that will help the entire Florida offense is having a healthy Jeff Demps and a focused Chris Rainey for the entire season. Demps was plagued by a foot injury all last season, and Rainey was suspended for five games after sending a threatening text message to a woman he had dated.

Both players are versatile enough that Weis will find ways to get them the ball, especially given the kind of speed they bring to the table.