You Asked For It, Gator Fans…

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Florida Gators, Florida Gators
Tags: , , ,

Johnny B. cocking the gun

Admit it, Gator fans, many of you have wanted Jeff Driskel to be your starting quarterback since February. You have no faith in John Brantley. Even during the 4-0 start against Larry, Curley, Moe and Smoky, you whined about the Gators not throwing the ball down field. Yeah, Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps were great, running around those patsies. All Brantley did was dump off short passes and let the Dynamic Duo do their thing.

Sure, most of you had some sympathy for Brantley. He clearly was the square peg trying to fit into a round hole in Urban Meyer’s spread offense. But the bottom line is he didn’t look anything like you expected when he signed with Florida in 2006 as the top rated high school passing quarterback in the nation. Hell, he broke Tim Tebow’s state prep record for touchdown passes while playing at Ocala Trinity Catholic High. He was the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

A year earlier you were angry, confused or both when he gave a verbal commitment to play at Texas. John IV was considered a traitor because he and his family were lifelong Gators. Daddy, John III, even quarterbacked Florida (1977-78). Uncle Scot was an All-American linebacker for the Gators (1976-79). You were thrilled when he changed his mind. Urban wanted him and, therefore, he obviously would fit in just fine in Urban’s offense.

The last five years haven’t been kind to John IV the football player. He had to wait behind Tebow for three years. He thought he might not start even as a redshirt junior because of a guy named Cam Newton, but Newton gave him clear sailing by leaving school (not by his choosing). When he was finally a starter, Michael Pouncey couldn’t execute the shotgun center snap and Urban stubbornly wouldn’t modify the spread. He wound up sharing the quarterback duties with two other guys, usually being inserted on third-and-long when everyone knew a pass play was coming. Hell, Johnny Unitas would have struggled under such circumstances.

Finally, this season, John IV was the man. A new coach was installing a pro-style offense. It was going to be “bombs away” in Gator Nation. But along the way the Gators forgot to recruit wide receivers. They have athletes galore, but no polished wide receivers.

Then Alabama comes to town and the Tide won’t allow the Gators to run the ball. John IV responds by having his best half as a passing Gator QB. Then, in the second quarter, the Tide rush gets to John IV. He’s slammed to the ground. His right ankle is badly twisted.

He’s out for at least two weeks, maybe longer. He could be done for the season, which means a career as a Gator.

Enter Driskel. He didn’t have a chance, of course, against ‘Bama. Now mighty LSU awaits. But this time Driskel has a week to prepare. Your hearts are fluttering. Don’t be embarrassed. The newest, hottest, can’t-miss QB gets his opportunity.

Warning: Be careful what you wish for.

Quik pix: LSU’s defense too much for visiting Gators, but it’ll be closer than last week; Georgia can’t stop host Tennessee’s passing attack, loses and the fire gets hotter for Coach Mark Richt; Miami struggled for a half against Bethune-Cookman and gets spanked at Virginia Tech; Texas shocks Oklahoma in Dallas; Arkansas celebrates again, visiting Auburn doesn’t. Last week: 4-1 (13-7).

 

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