About those Florida quarterbacks…

[Editor’s Note:  This week, we’re all going to have to indulge in a collective case of selective amnesia about a certain pesky 3-18 trend, or else there’s little purpose to my posting over the next few days.]

As of this morning, Vegas hasn’t set a line on the Georgia-Florida game, presumably because of John Brantley’s status.  Mark Richt expects that situation to stay in limbo right up until the last minute.

“My guess is we’re not going to know who’s going to start that game until, it might be until they warm-up before we really know,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

So Todd Grantham will be left preparing for everybody.

“I’m sure we’re not going to know anything out of that until later on,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “It’s kind of the philosophy down there.”

Said Richt: “We really don’t know who’s going to play. We don’t know who’s going to start. So we’re just going to have a plan for when each man is in there and then try to get as much information as we can going into the game.”

The kitchen sink approach is nothing new for the Gators.  It’s what they did at last year’s Cocktail Party, although that was a decision driven more by strategy than by injury.  Statistically, though, Florida finds itself in much the same place as it did last season.  During the bye week in 2010, UF was 91st nationally with 329.00 yards of total offense per game. This year, it’s 89th with 353.71.  By any standard, that’s anemic, but by Mullen-Tebow-Harvin metrics, that’s downright awful.

When you look at what Charlie Weis has to work with, you’d have to think he’d rather not screw around with a quarterback by committee approach.  Brantley is Florida’s only quarterback with a passer rating over 100.  Even if you factor in Trey Burton’s running threat, Florida’s best option is Brantley, by a significant margin.  But you have to wonder how Brantley’s gimpy ankle factors into this.  Florida’s given up nine sacks (out of eleven total for the season) in its last three games, and Cornelius Washington is back.

What do I expect?  If Brantley can stand up on his own, he’s playing.  While he’s in, look for Weis to call for safe, quick passes that protect his quarterback from the rush and don’t test Georgia’s secondary.  (Boise State made a game out of that.)  And expect Burton to get tossed in on occasion to run the Wildcat.  Don’t think Weis hasn’t taken note of what Vanderbilt did with a running quarterback against Georgia’s defense, not to mention that Burton killed the Dawgs with his running last season.

… That includes Trey Burton as a Wildcat quarterback. Burton rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries last year in a 34-31 overtime win over Georgia.

“The biggest difference is when a lot of that Wildcat stuff gets in there,” Richt said. “You’ve got to be aware which quarterback is in the game. You’ve got to be aware if there’s a back in the backfield and what are the tendencies for each guy. That’s really all you can do. It’s kind of a pain in the rear, but that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”

And if Brantley can’t play?  Florida had better hope it can get Demps and Rainey untracked.

… The skill position players have provided little help. Chris Rainey, UF’s biggest playmaker, has 238 all-purpose yards with no touchdowns and four fumbles, including one he lost, in the streak. By contrast, he had five TDs and 681 all-purpose yards in Florida’s wins. RB Jeff Demps sprained his ankle vs. Alabama and has been limited.

Now you know why there’s no line on the game yet.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

45 responses to “About those Florida quarterbacks…

  1. The Lone Stranger

    And there, in a nutshell, is the central theme as I see it — bottle up the scrambling QB threat and the Dawgs are in a position to key in more on snagging a few picks. Never a sure thing in this one, but I believe Boykin/Commings/Smith can play these receivers tightly enough to allow the front 7 to strangle Gators run attempts.

  2. We have had two weeks to prepare for this game. That is more than enough time to go over every QB scenario they can throw at us. Everyone is going to talk about the FL QB situation all week. I am more concerned about the UGA QB situation.

    Murray was 18-37, 313 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT, 1 FUMBLE in the game last year. The INT in OT was a back breaker. If Murray comes out controlled and patient, then I feel much better about our chances. He has played better the last few games and I hope that signals a change in him.

    • I agree with you that Murray needs to play with his emotions under control, especially early.

      But I don’t think it’s fair to blame him for the OT interception, at least not totally. Sturdivant and Charles deserve their share of the blame, too.

      • JaxDawg

        Indeed, Charles ran his route too deep and our OL forgot to block on the play. Nightmare.

      • Krautdawg

        His second interception wasn’t entirely his fault, either. His pass over the middle hit White in the hands, but White didn’t squeeze it.

  3. JaxDawg

    Play fundamentally sound ball and we win. Obvious right? Well we haven’t done that very often against these guys. My concern is our OL vs their DL and having Crowell avg 5 yrds a carry. If he does that then we’ll win. If we ‘re one dimensional, or have to rely on Samuel, then all bets are off.

    For me, I’d much rather see Brantley behind center, all gimped up and shit, with our ends foaming at the mouth. And the FL OL isn’t anything to write home about.

    We need this win in a BIG way b/c with what we have returning and with what FL loses, I like us again next year.

  4. charlottedawg

    Echo the thoughts on murray playing calm and jax dawgs thoughts. as a broader theme i think this game for georgia will come down to the things that have plagued us this yr: turnovers and spec. teams, especially turnovers. in each of the last 5 uf games tos have directly led to us losing and/or getting blown out even in 07 when we won stafford threw a pick they literally walked in for 6.uf isn’t as bad as their oct suggests but even against these bad teams uga has shown they have the ingredients to be good. Uga can win saturday if they just don’t beat themselves.

    • Keese

      My prediction for the game:

      Murray is hyped throws 2 picks, and passes for under 60% comp. Will see a little of Hutson Mason if Murray gets dinging.

      Crowell rushes for 120 yards. Carlton contributes well.

      Brantley IS NOT going to go into the game, but WILL dress and warm up.

      Trey Burton is used heavily in the game. They attack the perimeter in the run game. Florida rushes around 225 yards and passes for above 100.

      Low scoring game, GA wins 20-17

  5. Saint Johns Dawg

    Careful … we’ve seen this movie too many times before. UGA prepares well for a certain Gator tendency (or all of them), only to have the Gators use the off week to develop something completely different. And this year Murray doesn’t have AJ Green to lean on in the 4th quarter. We don’t make it to OT last year without No. 8.

    Whoever mentioned the Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown analogy recently was spot on.

    • Merk

      Murray also threw a pick or two trying to hit 8. The problem with a star receiver is that everyone knows he is target #1. This year we got Mitchell, but Murray is just about as likely to throw to him as King, Bennett, or Brown. Last year it was throw to AJ or Durham.

      • Saint Johns Dawg

        Agreed … but I put the first pick last year on Bobo, not Murray necessarily. The whole Red & Black side of the stadium knew we were running that quick out to AJ on the first play because, well, we did that the four games prior (in the first series for sure if not the first play) … turns out the Gators watched film, too.
        Bobo better not F this year’s game plan up.

  6. zdub

    It’s a tall order to prepare for all of the QB looks we’ll get. We haven’t performed well against the running threat in the past, but our D looks to be a bit more disciplined this year (please take that with a grain of salt).

    Murray may be the key early on (ie, don’t fumble or throw INTs) but Crowell/Thomas will be the key later. The running game could win us this game if we play good D. I don’t want it turning into another shootout because then we get gassed and UF’s athletes like Demps and Rainey will run wild.

    For some reason I’m actually confident we can win, but I’ve been that way before. 3-18 says a whole lot. If I were the bookmakers I would leave this game Off the whole week. If you favor UGA you get burned by giving points to UF who, quite simply, just win this game every year.

    • If it’s Driskel or Brissett the “look” is going to be deer caught in the headlights.

      Those two didn’t exactly tear Ted Roof’s defense a new one.

      • Merk

        Also Weis is not known for his awesome ability to call spread/running QB type plays and WM is a Def guy. IE they do not have Meyer and the old OC, who at least knew how to run the spread.

        Weis will mix it up, but I do not expect to see much razzle-dazzle from Weis.

        • The Lone Stranger

          I thought the Cheeseburglar imparted a certain “decided tactical advantage” to the less-than-mighty Gators? I think CTG has the scheme and, quite honestly, fortune of a train-wreck of a QB situation to strangle this team (not unlike UF’s past three SEC opponents).

    • Russ

      We handled Relf with no problem. Vandy surprised us because who would’ve thought Rogers was such a runner, and he wasn’t even supposed to play. We’ve seen all the QBs at FU, so there shouldn’t be any surprises. We’ll just have to pay attention to who’s in there.

      Oh, and run Carlton Thomas outside, and Crowell inside. Throw the ball to Samuel and Figgins. Rinse and repeat.

  7. Macallanlover

    “Throwing the kitchen sink” against UGA is what every coach should do against us. We have fallen for every sucker play known to man for years….regardless of coordinators. Reverses, half-back passes, fake punts, on-side kicks, etc. we have never been very disciplined as a defense. We simply react to the first move, and it doesn’t matter if you are a defensive end, LB, or DB. Play your responsibility and we will shut Florida down whether Brantley, Burton, or Demps lines up atr QB.

    You don’t have to be Florida to have success, Old Miss and Vandy made us look foolish and found ways to score. I feel this is the key to beating both UF and Auburn this season, and it is always the way to beat the Triple Option. Our offense will score enough to win every game remaining on our schedule if the defense can eliminate the big plays caused by leaving their assignment.

    • James Stephenson

      And if Rambo does not slip on that halfback pass, he bats it down or intercepts or it does not even get thrown.

      • Macallanlover

        You may be right about that one play, but I don’t think you can argue how susceptible we have been to any fakes, misdirections, or deviations from the norm. And that isn’t just this year, I have always marveled at how we bite on everything thrown at us.

  8. Dawg Vent

    We would beat Florida year after year if we would only FIRE MARK RICHT!!!!!!!1!

    Richt is the ONLY coach in the history of football that has struggled against Floriday. Everyone with a BRAIN knows it.

  9. db

    One thought I can’t get away from is two of UF’s losses were against the two best in the country. The AU loss was on the road without Brantley and Demps. Jordan Hare is a tough place to play. My second thought is I was feeling good about UGA’s defense until Vandy. A beat up UF is alot better than Vandy. I just don’t know what to expect.

    • Nate Dawg

      All very good points and believe me, I’m just as skeptical as anyone. I didn’t see the barner game but in reference to the other two – at least they were blow-out losses. I mean it’s not like fla hung in until the end and missed a last sec fg or something…and also the bammer loss was at home.

      • Biggus Rickus

        They gained 194 yards on a defense who has stopped almost nobody (including Utah State). I doubt Brantley will play, but even if he does, his 75% is not going to be a whole lot better than the freshmen. Of course, Georgia finds new and exciting ways to lose this game, so I’m taking nothing for granted.

    • Russ

      Agreed about Florida. A lot of teams (pretty much every one) would struggle against LSU and Bama. Auburn, not so much. I have no doubt UF is a lot better than Vandy, but we’re a lot better than Vandy, too. It took having several players out and less than our full attention for Vandy to even steal a chance at that game. There won’t be any lack of focus against Florida. In fact, we’ll need to dial it back a touch and play within ourselves. I still feel good about it. I think we’re a better overall team.

    • The Lone Stranger

      UF CAN’T throw the pigskin consistently / Dawgs have a proven ability to cover in man situations / & the lizards OLine is scaring no one — with a few critically placed TOs UGa ought to be in good shape.

  10. Cousin Eddie

    I have a question, if uf decides to run Burton in the wildcat and runs Brantley out of the huddle to a WR position why doesn’t Grantham have the DB knock Brantley on his can? As long as the DB can get to him within 5 yds of the line shouldn’t this be legal? With a hurt ankle, why shouldn’t the defense be physical every chance they get? I noticed last year they would send him out and nobody would touch him and I couldn’t figure out why.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Dawgs should do just that. I think the Dawg D can play physically against this offense and reap the rewards with turnovers. Hell, it the blueprint UF has used for what seems a decade now. Time to turn the worm.

  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    Florida wasn’t exactly lighting it up with Brantley in there, were they?

    On another subject, in considering Georgia’s defense against running quarterbacks this year, Vandy may have been the exception. Check with Chris Relf.

    • Merk


      Do we really know if we were not already looking ahead to UF? I mean damn Vandy had just scored 3 pts in 2 games. I can see coaches and players looking past them at the UF game that means more then just a SEC win. Winning this game is a season maker for Richt and Grantham…losing it and losing the SEC East may be too much to overcome.

      I put Vandy in the category of they went all in. Do we know if they completely looked past Bama trying to beat us? I mean when you play on a crappy team that has to try its hardest to get 6 wins it is stupid to prepare for the known losses. Going all in on Bama would have maybe got them a 30 something to teens loss, maybe slightly closer is Bama pissed around too much. All in on us knowing that we have a lot more holes then Bama is a hell of a lot smarter.

      The point is we got no idea where we stand based off the Vandy game. It was an outlier. The other games show that we are pretty solid, but can be beaten by stupid mistakes and quick, accurate throws.

  12. Mike

    In the humble opinion of this Gator, I think Florida’s chances of winning this game approaches zero..without Brantley. Brantley at least gives the defense the threat of a pass, the threat of a check off and the threat of a balanced, intricate offense. With Drisket/Brisset back there, the offense is really hamstrung. As the good Senator points out, the Auburn defense is pretty poor, yet the Brisset/Driskel offense only managed just under 200 yards.

    I also do not think all this uncertainty around the starting QB helps Florida. The biggest problem with the two new QBs right now is experience. Not giving them the majority of snaps in practice does not help them along very much. All this said, this assumes the Florida coaching staff does not know the entirety of the situation. Practices have been closed for over a year now, so there is not much info that leaks out.

    In any case, I will be at the game in my lot “Z” spot, under the north west oak tree. We will have tents, corn hole, a TV and grill all set up. And copious amount of adult beverages of all shapes sizes and tastes. Any UGA fan that wants to come by for a drink, feel free. Just mention Mike invited you.

    • JaxDawg

      Mike, it’s hard not to appreciate your good-natured attitude. I have several good gator friends here in Jax, however they all went to places like Sewanee, W&L, etc. Are you sure you didn’t?

    • BeerMoney

      Yes Mike, but you forget one thing…If UF gets off the bus, that’s good for a couple touchdowns right there in this game. Until the monkey is off the back, the monkey is not off the back.

      • Mike

        -It is played in the Gator Bowl
        -It is played in Florida
        -It is warmer in Florida than Georgia
        -Florida gets to take a bus. Georgia has to fly in a plane
        -Even though the Georgia students get the Friday before the game off, it is harder for UGA students to get to the game than Florida students.
        -And if all else fails, JORTS AND MULLETS!

        • Gravidy

          Your point is well-taken. Some of the excuses offered up by Georgia fans and coaches over the last couple of decades have been rather far-fetched.

          But I’ll offer you this opportunity. How about we play the game in the Georgia Dome from now on? You know…Georgia Dome…played in Georgia…Georgia players bus and Florida players fly…etc, etc, etc. Would you take that deal? Would most Florida fans take that deal?

          • BeerMoney

            Since the home field advantage worked out so well for us against Boise, right?

            • Gravidy

              Following your logic, I guess there will be a wrecking ball tearing down Sanford Stadium after the season, right? After all, there’s no sense in playing any more home games after they lost to USC, right?

              Look…I know the location of the Cocktail Party is one of those issues where one’s mind won’t be changed by a blog comment. But please do try to keep up. If you’re going to comment, at least make your comment be a little more on point.

              I asked Mike a narrow question about a narrow slice of the subject at hand. I’m genuinely interested in his response. If he answers honestly, I suspect he will start off by saying “No, but…”

          • Mike

            Why did Georgia dominate this series during the Dooley years? The answer to that is a lot more germane than whether the game is played in Jacksonville or Atlanta.

            • Gravidy

              I agree with you on that point, but I wanted your specific answer to my specific question – which I now assume is “no”.

              I’m not trying to pick a fight. I don’t even necessarily want to move the game. Personally, I think it is a mental thing. If the game had been played elsewhere over the last 21 years, I don’t think the results would have been wildly different. However, I go get my boxers in a bunch when fans of both schools act as if the location makes absolutely no difference. One can logically argue that the location isn’t a huge factor, but to say it has no effect at all is not, well, logical.

  13. Spike

    Orson Charles. Orson Charles. Orson Charles.

    • I like the way you’re thinking Spike. He hasn’t had his break out game this year, He’s from Fla, and you know he will/wants to go Pro next year, so I’m thinking he scores as many TD’s as you’ve mentioned his name. …Wishful thinking and all that!