Notebook: No separation at QB heading into second scrimmage


Redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy remains in the starting quarterback competition with true sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 12:15 a.m.

Through 10 spring practices, Florida's quarterback competition remains a dead heat.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said that sophomore Jacoby Brissett, sophomore Jeff Driskel and redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy remain even heading into the team's second spring scrimmage on Saturday.

Asked what he was looking for that would create separation between the three, Muschamp responded: “Positive production. I stand behind the huddle in all of the team drills and I watch the demeanor of our offensive football team when they are in the huddle. ... It's easy to look at statistics and say obviously completion percentage, not making mistakes with the football. But it's also how the guys are responding to a guy.”

Muschamp said how the quarterbacks perform in the spring game won't be the sole factor in determining the starter at the position.

“It's one of 15 days,” Muschamp said. “There will be people there. You guys (the media) will be there. So obviously performing on a little bit of a stage, that's going to be important.

“I'm not being facetious as far as that's concerned. But it's one of 15 days, and we're not ready to name a starter unless we feel there's some true separation at the position and I don't feel that right now.”

Johnson settling in at RB

Muschamp has been pleased with sophomore Chris Johnson's switch to running back this spring.

The Ocala native played both linebacker and safety as a freshman. Muschamp said the decision to move the 5-foot-9, 205-pound Johnson to running back was based on watching film of him playing running back at Trinity Catholic High in Ocala.

“He's a tough, physical runner,” Muschamp said. “Runs the ball downhill. We saw that in high school when he played for (Trinity Catholic coach) John Brantley down there. A guy that you look at physicality and running the ball, he'll stick his face in there in (pass) protection. (I'm) very pleased with some of the things he's been able to do in limited time moving to running back.

Leonard questionable for spring game

Muschamp clarified sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard's status on Friday.

Leonard is back practicing with the Gators after serving a six-week suspension following his arrest for simple domestic battery.

Muschamp said he made the decision for Leonard to return to practice on Monday. Muschamp said Leonard also is allowed in team meetings.

“I met with him Monday, and he had some things he had to hit at that point for me to allow him to come back and practice,” Muschamp said,

But Muschamp said he hasn't made a decision yet whether Leonard will be available for Florida's spring game on April 7.

“No decision on the fall has been made, no decision about playing has been made,” Muschamp said. “He still has an awful lot of things to do in order to play for our football team and to play at the University of Florida. He's very remorseful about what happened. He made a mistake, and that's all I'm gonna comment on that at this point.”

Etc.

Muschamp said that Ja'Juan Story (ankle), Stephen Alli (groin) and Solomon Patton (groin) won't be available for Saturday's scrimmage, but expects all three receivers to return next week. … Muschamp said the focus of Friday's 6 a.m. practice was on late-game situations “Last year we were 3-4 in games decided by two scores or less, so it's critical making good decisions as a player in those situations,” Muschamp said. … Muschamp said he wants Saturday's second scrimmage to be “a good, functional scrimmage.” “We didn't have many procedural issues last week as far as getting in and out of the huddle, the 40-second clock and the different things,” Muschamp said. “So we gotta really continue to work on that, a lot of red zone, goal line, short yardage.” … Muschamp said that senior running back Mike Gillislee and junior defensive end Ronald Powell are still performing at a high level in practice. “Gilly has been solid, been really good, did a nice job in our four-minute, created a first-down on a bounce-out, outran us on the edge there,” Muschamp said. “It was a nice run, a really nice run.”

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