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Urban Meyer Leaving Florida: Will Fans Blame John Brantley?

Drake OzSenior Writer IIDecember 9, 2010

Urban Meyer Leaving Florida: Will Fans Blame John Brantley?

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Urban Meyer leaving Florida has rocked the sports landscape. . .again.

    At just 46 years old, one of the most successful coaches in recent college football history has decided to step away from the game.

    Meyer's health and his desire to spend more time with his family seem to be at the forefront of his decision.

    But, even though Meyer likely made the best choice for himself personally, there will undoubtedly be questions about his departure.

    Why now? Why so abruptly?

    There is sure to be tons of blame in numerous directions as to why Meyer left Florida.

    But will some fans even put it on the shoulders of one particular Gator player?

    The man I'm talking about is John Brantley.

    Will he get the blame for Meyer's untimely departure?

    Let's debate.

5. No: They'll Blame The Entire Team

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Win as a team. Lose a team.

    It's basic sports philosophy.

    Are some people—or things—a bigger part of Florida's problems than others? Of course.

    But putting all of the blame on one individual doesn't solve anything.

    There are plenty of fans who will look at the entire picture and realize that the entire team has its flaws.

    Not everything revolves around John Brantley, and the criticism shouldn't either. 

5. Yes: Brantley's Overall Production Was Awful

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Gator fans will look at Florida's 7-5 record and scratch their heads in disbelief.

    "How the hell did that happen?" asks one guy,sporting his Danny Weurffel jersey.

    "Oh, John Brantley sucked," says the other, his Tim Tebow fathead plastered on the wall behind him.

    Well, Brantley's stats back that up.

    He rushed for -107 yards—yes, negative 107 yards—and threw for just 2,000 yards, while throwing the same amount of touchdowns as interceptions (nine) and completing just 61.4 percent of his passes.

    That's not exactly a way to endear yourself to fans. 

4. No: They'll Blame The System

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    If you're taking the time to read this, you know that John Brantley is the oil to the spread offense's water.

    The two just don't mix.

    Brantley's not built in the mold of guys like Cam Newton, who thrive because of their ability to throw and run the ball.

    You can't force something to work if it never will, and that's what Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio did with Brantley in the spread attack. 

4. Yes: Brantley Doesn't Fit The Spread Offense

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There are two sides of the "John Brantley doesn't fit the spread offense" theory.

    One, Brantley can only run a different type of offense.

    Two, Brantley should have adjusted his game to fit the spread offense.

    Well, the second one is next to impossible. Brantley just isn't a spread offense quarterback.

    But there will be some who will place the blame for Florida's struggles on Brantley because "he knew Florida runs the spread."

    That's true, but if he wanted to go to Florida, he was gonna go there no matter what.

    You can't blame the kid for trying.

3. No: They'll Blame Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio

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    Florida's offensive production didn't start to diminish when Tim Tebow left for the NFL—it began to suffer during Steve Addazio's first year as offensive coordinator in 2009.

    The offense just hasn't been the same since Adazzio was promoted from offensive line coach to the coordinator position.

    Of course one of the team's biggest weapons, Percy Harvin, departed early for the NFL in 2009, and some will point to that as the main reason why the team's offense took a little dip last year.

    But that won't fly with most fans.

    They'll point to Adazzio's tenure running the offense as the main reason why the team has slowly, but steadily, gotten worse over the course of the last year.

3. Yes: It's Easy To Blame Brantley

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There is a scapegoat in just about every situation that goes wrong, and this one is no different.

    Many fans will point their finger at John Brantley and say, "You're the reason Urban Meyer left us."

    Its certainly easier than taking an in-depth look at all the other variables out there, from the team's defensive struggles to the offensive system.

    Brantley will be the target of all kinds of negative criticism as long as he's at Florida; and probably even afterward.

    It's just human nature to zoom in on an easy target and relentlessly bombard him with immeasurable amounts of hate.

2. No: They'll Say It Was a Cop-out By Meyer

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Fair or not, true or not, some fans will see Urban Meyer's departure as a cop-out.

    Meyer has somewhat spoiled the fans from Gator Nation.

    Since Meyer arrived in Gainesville in 2005, all Florida knows is winning—the Gators have three 13-win seasons and two national championships.

    But Florida struggled to a 7-5 record in 2010, undoubtedly the worst season of the Meyer era, and now he'll be gone from the program following the team's bowl game.

    It's easy to look at Meyer and say that he left the second he faced any sort of obstacles or adversity.

    Whether it's fact or coincidence won't matter to some fans. 

    Just the fact that he's gone will. 

2. Yes: Brantley Disappeared In Big Games

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    John Brantley's overall lack of production speaks for itself, but digging a little deeper into the numbers will drive Florida fans crazy.

    In Florida's five losses, Brantley threw just one touchdown and six interceptions. 

    He also had negative rushing yards in every game and topped 200 yards of total offense only once.

    Needless to say, that's not the type of production any fan wants to see out of their team's quarterback. 

1. No: They'll Understand Why Meyer Left

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Florida fans are certainly upset, confused and even a little angry.

    But a good portion of them will understand why Meyer left the program.

    His health isn't where it needs to be, and he's been so consumed with gameplans and film studies that his family has taken a backseat.

    Meyer may need to work on his timing a little bit, but he needs to work on improving his health even more.

    Without it, he wouldn't even be capable of coaching in the first place.

1. Yes: Brantley's Not Tim Tebow

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    John Brantley was thrust into a lose-lose situation.

    Even if Florida succeeded and Brantley performed well, he would never be Tim Tebow.

    Following Florida's golden boy is like trying to get fans excited about a pee wee football game at halftime—even if they show enthusiasm at first, it'll fade fast and die with a whimper.

    Brantley has been, is and will forever be compared to Tebow, one of the greatest players in college football history.

    That's equivalent to arguing over the Internet: even if you win, you still lose.

The Verdict: Will Fans Blame John Brantley For Urban Meyer's Departure?

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Urban Meyer is officially out as the head football coach at Florida, and most Gator fans aren't too happy about it.

    But who's to blame for his departure: the team, the system, Meyer himself or even John Brantley?

    Look, it's painfully obvious that Brantley doesn't mesh well with the spread offense.

    But it's also clear that Brantley isn't the only problem in Gainesville.

    Yes, he's no Tim Tebow and his production was far from good. But there are too many extraneous reasons that contributed to why Meyer left Florida.

    Putting all the blame on Brantley's shoulders is absolutely ridiculous.

    He contributed to the problems in Gainesville, but citing him as the main reason Meyer left Florida lacks any merit whatsoever.

    The Verdict: Brantley will get some of the blame, but he's not the real reason why Meyer's gone.

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