When Charlie Weis was hired to run the Florida offense this offseason, it was immediately assumed that the Gators would break with recent tradition and adopt a more pro style system. According to ESPN's Mark Schlabach, that new pro style system isn't likely to feature the three-quarterback system from last season's inconsistent Gators offense. Not ground breaking news by any standards, but the glimpse of the pre-spring depth chart indicates a changing in the winds nonetheless.
Weis told Schlabach that Trey Burton and Jordan Reed, who split time at the quarterback position with John Brantley last season, will be moving to other positions for which they are more naturally suited. Reed will play tight end, while Burton will play out of an 'F-back' position.
Florida's pre-spring depth chart lists Brantley as the starter with Tyler Murphy or Jeff Driskel as the backup. Burton is listed as the F-21 back, which means that Burton will be in a slot receiver/tight end spot when the Gators field two backs and one tight end (and two receivers). Similarly, the F-12 back position, which lists Michael McFarland as the starter, means that McFarland will be the slot receiver/tight end when the Gators field one back and two tight ends (and two receivers). Deonte Thompson is listed as the F-11 back, meaning he'll play the position when there is one back, one tight end and three receivers. Reed is listed as the starting tight end.
Of course, nothing on the pre-spring depth chart is set in stone and Weis will evaluate each player during spring practice to determine their best fit in his new offense. He mentioned that Burton could be used as an H-back, fullback, tight end or wide receiver, for instance. "It gives you a lot of flexibility with formations," Weis said according to Schlabach. "They're not going to wonder if he's going to be on the field. They're going to wonder what he's going to do." I wouldn't be too surprised to see Burton or Reed take the rare snap, either.
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The shift in offensive philosophy to one that better suits Brantley should help the senior's draft stock tremendously as he looks to rebound from a lackluster debut as the Gators starter in the footsteps of Tim Tebow. Brantley threw for 2,061 yards with nine touchdowns and ten interceptions on 60.8% passing in 2010. Florida finished 8-5 in Brantley's first season as the starter including an Outback Bowl win over Penn State. The Gators survived several close calls at the beginning of the season as they struggled to start games well, often relying on second half play to pull away for the win.
With Weis at the helm of the Gators offense, Branltey's numbers should creep up as he looks to bring his Gators back to the top of the SEC and secure a high-round pick for himself next April…if there's a draft. Stanford's Andrew Luck is the clear-cut head of the class heading into 2011 with Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and Arizona's Nick Foles also in the mix, but don't be surprised if we're looking at Brantley in the first round next April.
Danny Hobrock, is a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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