From the different running schemes, to the intricate pass patterns, to the verbiage that sounds almost gibberish to a normal person, Charlie Weis has developed a very complicated and complex offense to learn for a quarterback. Now imagine being in the following scenario.
You are the quarterback for Florida playing on the road in front of 100,000 screaming fans. You break the huddle with your teammates and approach the line of scrimmage.
The offensive line gets set and the wide receivers take their splits out wide. For blocking purposes you will identify and point out the Mike (middle) linebacker and the strong safety.
As you approach the line of scrimmage you can barely hear yourself think. You are just trying to remember the play and who your reads are going to be at the snap of the ball.
You glance over to the sidelines and notice that your coach wants you to change the play because of the way the defense has lined up.
Three different coaches start to signal in the new play, each coach signaling to a specific group, the quarterback, the receivers, offensive line and running backs.
Once everyone has the new play, you turn back and now have to identify and point out the Mike and the strong safety again so the running back or fullback knows who to block and slide protection if need be.
You’re finally ready to snap the ball. Oh yeah, and it all has to be done within 40 seconds.
How often did Florida fans see that scenario last season? How many delay of games or wasted timeouts where there?
In this new pro-style offense, Charlie Weis will finally allow his quarterback to be…well, the quarterback. The leader, the guy in charge, the guy who will make the final decision on what play is run.
Yes, there will still be delay-of-game penalties and senior quarterback John Brantley will make a wrong decision every now and then, but the fact is, he has a better view than anyone and should be the guy making that final decision.
Brantley said he welcomes the change, and it shows the coaches trust the players.
“There is definitely more changes of plays [I can make] depending on what the defense does in this offense,” Brantley said. “That makes it fun – it means the coaches have more trust in us. We can see things that they can’t sometimes, so it helps them out also.”
“From the get go you are looking at the line, you’re looking at the safeties, you’re looking all over the place to see where things are,” he continued. “I mean, some run plays can turn into pass plays. You are noticing every little detail of the defense.”
Brantley said keeping his eyes on the defense at all times should be the most important part for him.
“Whenever you can take your eyes off of the defense, you don’t want to,” he said. “Even in a drop-back, if you turn your back to the defense, you’ve lost a split second or two to see what they did. [Being] able to stay in there and see what’s going on definitely helps us out.”
For Brantley, his comfort level with the new offense and new responsibility grows each practice.
“I’m very comfortable with it,” Brantley said. “It will get even more comfortable when we start game-planning for games and figuring out what we are going to do against these teams, but for the most part I’m very comfortable.”
Weis is known as a perfectionist, but Brantley said that’s helped him improve.
“He’s very demanding,” Brantley said. “If a ball is a little high, he’ll tell us to get it down, even if it’s a completed pass. He expects perfection, that’s what great coaches do.”
“He’s a great coach, a real smart guy,” he continued. “I learn something new every day in that film room. It will be the same play, but he’ll pick out something new to teach us with. That’s what makes it interesting and fun to go in there and keep learning.”
Brantley said the hardest part for him has always been the terminology, but things are starting to come together for everyone on the offense.
”From the beginning it’s the verbiage, but right now its hard to say because it’s all coming together now, we’ve been doing well with it – it’s all coming.”
Gator Country Recruiting Coordinator Derek Tyson can be reached at Derek@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at DerekTysonGC.