Terry Dean, the quarterbacks coach for First Baptist Academy, watches the Lions play Marco Island Academy on Friday night. RON HARTMAN/SPECIAL TO CSI
Now that Tom Brady is 41, the end of his magical career is nearing its conclusion … or so we are led to believe. He can’t keep playing in Super Bowls every year … can he?
While the Old Master keeps fooling Father Time, there’s another Brady here in town who wouldn’t mind making a name for himself — First Baptist Academy sophomore quarterback Brady Dean. He threw three touchdowns in Friday night’s 41-0 home win over Marco Island Academy.
If the Dean name sounds familiar, it should. Brady’s oldest brother, Tyler, also played quarterback at FBA, while his other brother, Mason, was a wide receiver for the Lions. Both are now at the University of Florida — Tyler’s a junior; Mason’s a freshman.
And of course, their father, Terry Dean, played quarterback for Steve Spurrier and the Gators from 1990-94 after starring at Barron Collier High School. Terry will be back in Gainesville for tonight’s game against Kentucky (7:30, SEC Network) as new head coach Dan Mullen is bringing back the Gators’ 1993 SEC Championship team for a 25-year reunion.
“My all-time highlight game was beating Alabama and being named MVP in that ’93 SEC title game,” Dean said of the Gators’ 28-13 victory. “It was in Birmingham, I was from Alabama, my whole family hated Alabama. I almost went to Auburn before Spurrier talked me out of it.”
Terry Dean is now in his eighth year as Lions QB coach and assistant to head coach Billy Sparacio, who appreciates the way Dean always keeps the game enjoyable for the kids.
“He provides a lot of joy with the way he coaches,” said Sparacio, whose 2-0 Lions will host Bishop Verot (2-1) next week. “He’s a highly competitive guy, so it’s great when you can mix that with a fun-loving attitude, too.”
Working every day with Brady has been a treat for all the FBA coaches — but for his dad, it’s been something special.
“My older son Tyler was a really good high school quarterback,” Dean said. “He’s an excellent athlete, but just has an average arm. Brady can really sling it.”
Brady Dean has completed 54 percent of his passes through the Lions’ first two games this season, averaging 23 yards per completion. He’s thrown for 320 yards with five touchdowns against no interceptions.
For a sophomore, the younger Dean has an amazing understanding of the nuances of the game. The lanky lefty has an insatiable yearning for learning.
“He’s my hunting buddy, we go on trips together, we watch games together all the time,” Terry Dean said.
“He just soaks everything in. It’s not just about making all the throws and being able to read defenses; he wants to know everything a quarterback does. He’ll watch film 4-5 hours a week. He’s a real student of the game.”
Dean said he believes Florida is finally back on track with Mullen as conductor.
“I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen and heard from Mullen,” said Dean, who set a Gators record with seven touchdown passes in a 1994 game against New Mexico State — a record that still stands.
He said UF’s poor training facilities steered many top recruits toward other SEC schools.
“Florida’s facilities are bottom of the barrel in the SEC. And I blame Jeremy Foley for that,” Dean said of the Gators’ former longtime athletic director who’s now AD emeritus. “He gets an ‘F’ for the way he ran the football program.”
Still, there are plenty of good Gainesville memories. Although there were quite a few mind-numbing days with the Ol’ Ball Coach.
“He shaped who I was as a man,” Dean said of Spurrier. “He was very demanding, a perfectionist.
“And he wasn’t just the head coach, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach — so you’re gonna butt heads when you spend that much time with somebody; it doesn’t matter who it is.
“We had our differences, but we mended fences and I saw him two years ago. We stay in touch — I call him now and then.”
Brady Dean has a long way to go to be a major college quarterback like his father. He’s off to a good start, though. He seems to have the necessary skill set. More importantly, he has the attitude and desire.
So don’t be surprised if this guy’s star keeps rising … just as that other Brady guy starts to fade away.
The Lions are only two games into their season, and senior running back Thomas Casey already has nine touchdowns. After gouging Evangelical Christian for six scores in FBA’s 54-14 season-opening win Aug. 24, Casey added to his haul with three TDs Friday against the Manta Rays (0-3).
Casey, who ran for two scores, turned a short pass from Dean into a spectacular 43-yard touchdown that gave the Lions a 28-0 first-quarter lead. From the right slot, Casey sprung out to the right, took the pass and darted to the sideline before dodging four tacklers and diving just inside the right pylon.