Florida Football: What's the Gators' Outlook if Brantley's out Long Term?
First-year head coach Will Muschamp has been given a tough challenge past the 38-10 thrashing the Alabama Crimson Tide gave to his Florida Gators in the Swamp. Starting quarterback John Brantley went down in the second half.
Brantley, a senior, has not necessarily been the biggest fan favorite in Florida, having had to come out under the shadow of Tim Tebow. Despite a bad first year in the spread, Brantley has fared better under the pro-style system of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
But, it is possible that Brantley will miss some time, meaning that true freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel will be the starter heading forward.
The big question is: how will Florida fare without Brantley?
Heavy Doses of Demps and Rainey
With a true freshman heading into hostile environments, you can be sure that this will mean an increased workload for running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, who were non-factors in their loss against Alabama.
These two backs are among the fastest and explosive in the nation. However, now that Driskel is the starter and is a huge unknown at this point, the first priority for teams will be to contain Rainey and Demps.
Teams will force Driskel to have to make plays on his own.
Jeff Driskel Is a Big Unknown
Quarterback Jeff Driskel will be thrown into the fire quickly, and many will question how long he can hold up.
Driskel is a big unknown factor at this point, with the only facts being that he was among the top quarterback prospects in the country, and many recruiting prospects, including Rivals, had him as one of the best in the nation.
But when he had to replace Brantley in the game, the offense could not move well with him under center, and while he had a few plays, he was a non-factor, and any hopes of a miracle comeback were dashed. Driskel is still not ready to take control of this offense, and it is clear that the offense would lose some edge if Driskel must replace Brantley for an extended period.
If Brantley is out and Driskel gets the start, Florida will have trouble trying to stay in the SEC East race. Despite his talent and potential, Driskel cannot run this offense the way Brantley has been able to.
The loss of Brantley has shown that despite his lack of flashiness and eye-popping numbers, he has been able to manage and run a productive offense that has Florida nationally ranked and in the race to win the division along with South Carolina and Georgia.
The outlook for Florida, if their game against Alabama was evident, does not look very bright, unless the Gator defense can step up and make more plays. The running game, as well as the short passing game, will be more important than ever. Weis may also have to scale down the playbook for the young freshman quarterback as well.