Florida Gators: Can They Survive a Horror Story Without Their Hero?

Jay HendryCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 26:   Quarterback John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators carries the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky.  The Gators won 41-7. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The bar is dark, but not that quiet. In fact, it's a relatively normal, albeit out of the way, hole in the wall. Suddenly, the door bursts open and he steps through. Our hero, covered in some sort of blood and carrying a very large gun tells everyone to shut up and listen if they want to live. 

Ahh, the action hero; here to save us from whatever nasties are lurking just outside the barricaded door...except this isn't an action movie, this is The Feast and the door's not barricaded yet, and...crap, did the hero just get eaten? What the hell are we supposed to do now?

The third quarter of the UF–Kentucky game felt a lot like the opening scene from The Feast. We had our hero, and he had the credentials to get us safely through another SEC schedule. Everything was looking good, but somebody failed to barricade the bar, and our hero got eaten by Taylor Wyndham. His bone crushing hit on Tebow left Superman motionless and Gators fans everywhere in shock, asking what the hell are we supposed to do now?

Almost every horror movie has another hero, an unlikely, unwilling person who, after a few of his/her friends get turned into dinner, steps up and leads the survivors to, well, survive. Luckily for the Gators, the new hero is neither unlikely nor unwilling, and the plot may not need many sacrifices before he accepts his role as savior of the Gator nation.

Our backup hero, John Brantley, started his rise by breaking Tebow's high school touchdown passes record. Since arriving at Gainesville he has completed 69 percent of his passes with seven TDs and one INT in mop up duty. Compared to Tebow, Brantley is a prototypical pocket passer, but he is still kind of athletic, Chris Leakish really.

Brantley has the arm to throw the deep ball, and while he missed one of his few opportunities this season, slightly overthrowing Riley Cooper on what would have been a touchdown, it was still a well thrown ball. After the play, I remember thinking "Tebow would have made that pass", but looking back, with two weeks of practice with the first team offense, Brantley will make that pass as well.

After thinking about it for a full week, that is exactly the conclusion I have reached.  With two weeks of practice, the Gators' offense, at least through the air, will be fine. On the ground nobody can replace Tebow's sure thing 2–4 yards on third and fourth down, certainly not John Brantley. Granted, Demps, Rainey, and Moody are not slouches racking up about one million yards per game between the three. 

The big play ability will not suffer one bit with Brantley the backup hero, and if the Tigers' monsters don't have the fangs of their championship winning 2007 squad, the backup hero might save the day, and the season after all.