Muschamp: Both QBs will play for UF
Who will start is yet to be decided
Published: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 5:29 p.m.
The quarterback battle between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel has been so close, so even, that it is going to carry over into next Saturday’s season opener.
UF coach Will Muschamp announced Friday that both quarterbacks will play against Bowling Green on Sept. 1. Muschamp said he and offensive coordinator Brent Pease have not decided yet how the playing time will be divided between the two true sophomores.
“I met with both quarterbacks this morning. Both guys will play in the first game,” Muschamp said. “How we will manage that will be decided during the week.
“They both deserve the right to play. They’ve earned that and they both deserve the right to start. They both had really good camps. We’ve taken the details down all the way, Brent and I have.
“Both guys are very even and our football team has got great confidence in both of them. I told both of them today, the last position I’m worried about is quarterback. I feel very comfortable about both guys.”
Muschamp said he and Pease will decide next week who will take the first snap.
“We will determine (that) as we work through the week,” he said. “I haven’t made that decision. How we will rotate the guys, we will continue to discuss that as we work through the week. But we feel very confident in both guys.”
Muschamp said the decision to play both quarterbacks was made after UF’s second scrimmage Aug. 17. The Gators’ third and final scrimmage was rained out Tuesday.
Muschamp said Brissett and Driskel have basically been in a dead-heat statistically throughout preseason practice.
“We chart everything,” Muschamp said. “We can win with both guys. I’ve said that all along. Nothing has changed my opinion through this camp, and how these guys have competed and managed our team.
“We tried to put them in tough situations and they’ve both handled it well. As we work into competition on game day, we’ll see if there is some separation. I think that’s the next step. Both guys deserve the opportunity to play and I know that.”
The competition for the starting role began in the spring and really hasn’t changed. The two have been even throughout, even though Driskel missed two practices after sustaining a bruised left shoulder Aug. 12.
Driskel still has not been cleared for contact. He will be re-evaluated Monday and is expected to be cleared for contact.
“I don’t think there’s been a lot of change, schematically,” Muschamp said. “There’s been a change of maturity. Everything. I wouldn’t necessarily say one player has improved and one hasn’t. The competition was set back in January.
“This is an evaluation of the offseason program, into spring ball and this summer. I would say both did an outstanding job in all three phases, and into fall camp, however you want to look at it. We moved forward. Where we are right now is both these guys are very even going into the season.”
Muschamp was asked if the opener would be viewed as audition for the two quarterbacks.
“No. We need to play well and win the football game,” he said.
Muschamp said the skill set of the two quarterbacks is so similar that the offense will remain the same regardless who is in the game.
“We function as an offense very well regardless of who that guy is,” Muschamp said. “It’s a compliment to both guys, because they both have a similar skill set and they both are accomplished in what they’re doing.
“Our players have great confidence in both guys, and that’s what I’ve seen. I’m just looking at how we’ve been able to move the football and do some things.”
Muschamp would not speculate on whether the coaches will settle on a starting quarterback after the opener and heading into the second game at Texas A&M. The QB competition could end, or it could continue deeper into the season.
“Well, I don’t want to predict anything,” Muschamp said. “I know going into the first game where we are and we’ll see how those guys compete and play and produce, and we will move from there.
“We need to go play well and win the football game.”
Muschamp was asked if the quarterback who takes the first snap would be considered the leader to become the full-time starter.
“I’m sure it will be written that way,” he said. “I want to see who plays the best, at the end of the day. I want to see who plays the best in those situations.
“Who moves our football team and scores points, takes care of the ball. Period. End of sentence.”
Some coaches (and football analysts) have said that if a team has two quarterbacks, then it doesn’t have one.
Muschamp doesn’t seem to buy into that cliche.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I look at two talented guys we can win with. It didn’t seem to affect LSU last year.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.
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