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Gators still searching for best option at quarterback

Florida
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QB John Brantley's struggles were part of the reason the Gators mustered just 226 yards of offense vs. South Carolina. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Faced with a direct question about who is the best option for Florida at quarterback, coach Urban Meyer gave the most telling non-answer he could have.

“I can’t answer that right now,” he said. Then, rather muffled, he added, “Obviously Johnny Brantley with an option quarterback.”

Obviously? Is it obvious to anyone not on the coaching staff that Brantley might not be the best option?

Already, we have seen a two-quarterback system with freshman Trey Burton. Brantley’s not a runner, but Burton can run the option part of the offense that has made Florida successful.

Last week, Florida showed us a three-quarterback system, with Brantley, Burton and redshirt freshman Jordan Reed rotating at the position. A hybrid of the two, Reed is able to throw and run.

But Meyer said Thursday that Reed’s future is at tight end, where he has played since coming to Florida. On Saturday, he gave a hint of why when the Gators were struggling as a whole, and Brantley was struggling mightily on his own, Meyer did not put Reed in the game.

“Jordan’s not functional in everything yet as a quarterback,” Meyer said. “We were going to be in the throwing game trying to come back. We were trying to win that game.”

Brantley was not the best option to do that. Several of his passes were batted down at the line of scrimmage, a few other times he overthrew receivers and he was picked off once. Perhaps most indicative of his struggles was a pass batted behind the line of scrimmage that Brantley caught, giving the Gators a 10-yard loss rather than an incompletion.

To be sure, whoever came next at quarterback was going to have it rough. Tim Tebow was the Florida offense, and filling in for that is a tall order for anyone. But that it has taken three quarterbacks to do attempt it says a lot about the state of that position.

Meyer doesn’t know who the best option is, even though he has stuck by Brantley after the QB waited three years for the starting spot.

Not only does that leave the remaining three games of this season in question, but it makes for an interesting question next season. With four-star recruit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo/Hagerty High) coming in next season, will he challenge Brantley for the starting spot? Driskel can run and throw, something the Gators are currently using three players to accomplish.

Maybe he’s not the cure all for the quarterbacking woes now. But maybe he can answer a question the Gators are still struggling with – who is the best option at quarterback?


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