Notebook: Freshman QBs getting acclimated
Published: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett are bound by similarities.
They're both quarterbacks, both true freshmen at Florida, both backups to starter John Brantley.
Coach Will Muschamp broke it down further after the Gators' scrimmage last Saturday.
"They are very similar," he said. "They're both athletic, big, strong, big arms, good decision-makers.
They both have a certain command about themselves as quarterbacks. Jeff's probably a little more of a scrambler and a runner as opposed to Jacoby. They're skill sets are very similar.
"Talking to Charlie (Weis) about our plan as we move forward, it will be a very similar plan as far as gaming for them, putting them in situations to be successful."
Driskel, who has taken the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, was the more heralded quarterback coming out of high school. He was rated the No. 1 QB in the recruiting Class of 2011 by ESPN and Scout.com.
Driskel also got a leg up by enrolling at UF in January.
"Jeff is a little more mentally prepared just because he was here in the spring," Brantley said. "It helped out a lot. We all started from scratch that Day 1, so he's even up there with us. It's just a lot better to get that extra few months in. That definitely helps out a lot."
The road was rockier at first for Brissett because he arrived on campus just a few weeks ago.
"(Jacoby was) a little confused, but that's normal," Brantley said. "He's worked really hard. He's studied his playbook and when he goes in there and gets his reps, he does a fine job."
Brantley said he has enjoyed working with the two freshmen, as it has helped him grasp the new offense better.
"They've done a great job," Brantley said. "They've made a lot of progress in this camp."
After breaking camp on Saturday, Muschamp said he sees a team forming but knows there is much to learn from live game action.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," he said. "I say that from a standpoint of what real adversity have we faced? I do think that we have battled through some tough practices. Heat, exhaustion, fatigue. I think we've managed that. I wouldn't say we've passed with flying colors. But what's going to happen when we get down 14-0? How are we going to respond then? I think that that's when you find out a lot about your team.
"Right now, they were all happy at the end of practice because camp's over. It was amazing. We were in the middle of the scrimmage and I didn't hear a lot of hootin' and hollerin'. And then when we said we're not going to lift tomorrow, then they all jumped up and down and hoo-rah'd.
"We'll test our true mettle when we get down 14-0 on the road and we see how we respond."
Florida fans have been waiting and waiting for wide receiver Andre Debose to make an impact on Florida's offense. This might be the year.
Muschamp singled out Debose from Saturday's scrimmage, saying he made a nice catch on a deep ball.
"Andre, really the last couple of days, has kind of taken a step forward," Muschamp said. "I was very pleased with Andre today. He made a nice play on an assignment that was well-covered, on a well-thrown ball. He just continues to show the consistency in his performance. I was very pleased."
The five-star prospect out of Sanford Seminole was arguably the crown jewel of UF's Class of 2009. He was rated among the top three receivers in the nation by ESPN, Rivals and Scout. After battling a hamstring issue in 2009, Debose began to emerge on special teams as a kickoff returner in his redshirt freshman season last year.
Muschamp also had praise for another young receiver who has begun to carve out a role for himself.
"Solomon Patton in special teams has been outstanding, and he's done some nice things as far as the reverse game and the quick-passing game we have," Muschamp said.
Contact Jeff Barlis at (352) 374-5066 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow at Twitter.com/JeffBarlis.
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