UF to play QBs by quarter


UF coach Will Muschamp is seen with quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett (left) and Jeff Driskel during practice Aug. 18 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 6:29 p.m.

When Will Muschamp revealed Friday that Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel would both be playing in the opener, Muschamp emphasized Saturday's game against Bowling Green should not be viewed as an audition for the two quarterbacks.

But it's starting to set up like one.

On Monday, Muschamp announced Saturday's plan for the quarterbacks. One will play the first quarter, the other will play the second, then Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease will evaluate the situation at halftime and decide where to go from there.

“As I've stated before, both quarterbacks will play in the game,” Muschamp said. “Brent and I right now plan to play one in the first quarter — we haven't made that decision yet — and another in the second quarter, then at halftime make a decision on how we move forward.”

It certainly sounds like an audition for the two quarterbacks, who have pretty much been running a dead heat for the starting role since last January.

There has been no apparent separation on the practice field and in scrimmages. Maybe that will change when they carry over their competition to The Swamp in a live game.

Some might question the decision to play two quarterbacks, but Muschamp reiterated Monday that he's comfortable with it.

“I think both guys are good players,” Muschamp said. “I have said it before, we're not overly concerned with the quarterback position and the talent we have there.

“We've got good players. It's no different than at cornerback (where four players are expected to share playing time at the two positions). We have really good players at that position, and we can play well.

“Does that mean we are going to play well? No, it doesn't. But going into the season, I feel very comfortable about both of those positions (quarterback and cornerback) where we have great competition with guys who all deserve to start and all deserve to play.”

Driskel, who bruised his left, non-throwing, shoulder Aug. 12, was cleared for contact Monday, clearing the way for Muschamp and Pease to play both quarterbacks Saturday.

Muschamp said the decision to play both Brissett and Driskel was made after the Gators' second preseason scrimmage Aug. 17. UF's third and final scrimmage was called off due to rain and lightning last Tuesday.

Senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. said Monday that having the two quarterbacks alternate should not be a problem for the offensive players — or the offense.

“I'm fine (with it),” Hammond said. “We've been rolling with them since January. They've been splitting time. When one comes in and another comes out, there's no difference, no drop off. We're used to it. It doesn't make a difference.”

Hammond said the two quarterbacks are so similar that he usually doesn't even know which one he's caught a pass from in practice until he's returning to the huddle.

“It's the same,” Hammond said. “In practice, they usually switch them out every two or three plays. I'm not really paying too much attention because I'm getting in the huddle and getting the play and getting back out there.

“The ball comes and you just catch it. I don't really pay attention (to who threw it). I can't really tell a difference. I don't know until I'm jogging back.”

Muschamp has said numerous times that he feels the Gators can win with either quarterback, or with both.

Both will have a chance to prove it Saturday.

Muschamp was asked what his expectations are for the two quarterbacks heading into the opener.

“Win,” he said. “Play well, take care of the ball, score points, move our football team, get us in and out of the huddle and just manage our team and not in the conservative manner. Let's get the ball going.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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