Just as soon as it began, spring practice for the Florida Gators is all wrapped up. Injuries seemed to be the theme of the spring but, fortunately for Florida, the quarterbacks were able to stay healthy.
Considering Tim Tebow and John Brantley are the only QBs on scholarship for the Gators, keeping them healthy was assuredly the number one priority.
What else do I need to say?
Tebow, who passed up the NFL Draft to return to the University of Florida for his senior year, is clearly going to be the best football player to take the field for any team this fall. Already being anointed as one of, if not the greatest college football players in history, Tebow is expected to be much improved in 2009.
The addition of Scot Loeffler to the coaching staff is huge for Tebow's development as a passer. The Gators' new QB Coach has been working with Tebow throughout the spring on tinkering here and there.
The one glaring knock on Tebow has been his throwing motion. Considering all the QBs Loeffler has sent to the NFL, most notably Tom Brady, he should have a good idea of what skills are needed to be successful on Sundays.
Loeffler has already said that Tebow has the skills necessary to become a successful quarterback in the NFL, but his minor adjustments can make enough of a difference to change the minds of the Mel Kiper, Jr.'s of the world (not that what they think matters anyways).
New England Patriots Head Coach and offensive genius, Bill Belichick, really likes what he sees in Tebow. I'll trust him over Kiper or Todd McShay.
We all know about Tim Tebow and his exploits, but lets take a look at the depth chart for the fall.
John Brantley III was a highly touted recruit out of Trinity Prep in Ocala, FL. Coached by former Florida quarterback, Kerwin Bell, he is the son of John Brantley Jr. and nephew of Scot Brantley, who both also played for the Gators. Last season, Brantley beat out dismissed, Cam Newton, for the backup role.
During several blowouts in 2008, Brantley took hold of the offense, but had trouble moving the ball. This spring has been a completely different story.
Whether it was the addition of Loeffler, finally being injury-free, or just growing after two seasons in the offense, Brantley is looking like the stud that Urban Meyer had expected when he recruited "Johnnie Brantley," as he likes to call him.
Brantley has impressed the crowds and coaches while performing at a very high level during spring practices and was particularly impressive during the Gators' Orange and Blue Game.
Brantley led the Orange team to a 31-21 victory over Tebow's Blue team and completed 12 of 18 passes for 214 yards with three touchdowns.
Now I know, its just a spring game.
The starting defense was split up. Key starters did not play and Brantley had the better receivers. That does not diminish all that he has done this spring. In the fall, when he takes over in the second half of blowouts, look for the Gators to keep the ball moving and keep piling on the points.
Now, to the third-string.
He's not even on campus yet, but Jordan Reed of New London, CT is a monster.
He's been described as a hybrid of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Perriloux. I don't know how much stock I can really put into those claims, but I do know that he has a rocket arm and at 6'3'', 230 lbs., he will be tough to take down.
Oh yeah, he runs a 4.5 forty.
So with Reed, the potential is there. Especially in Urban Meyer's offense. But, then again, he could just be a faster Cam Newton.
Each week I'll be taking a look at the 2009 Gators.
Next week: The Linebackers