UF's Pease: Results will dictate starter


UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease said both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel deserve to play Saturday.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.

No one can be certain how this two-quarterback system is going to play out Saturday.

Facts

Season opener

Who: Bowling Green vs. No. 23 Florida
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
TV: ESPN
Radio: 103.7 FM, AM-850

It might be good. It might be bad. It might reveal a starting quarterback. It might resolve nothing.

But there seems to be one thing that all the parties involved can agree on. Having Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel share playing time against Bowling Green is the right thing to do. The fair thing to do.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said so Monday.

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease and the two quarterbacks concurred Tuesday.

“They both have done a really good job with how they’ve handled the situation and how they’ve progressed,” Pease said. “It would be difficult to name a starter right now. What would you tell the other kid?

“If they had separated each other, yeah. But they’ve both made major progress and done good things. We have a situation in a game where we can play them.

“There have been situations in college football and even in the NFL. I think it happened when (Steve) Spurrier was here with, I think, Rex Grossman and, I think, Jesse Palmer. I might be wrong, but I know there’s been a couple used at times.”

In the battle for the starting quarterback role, which began last January, Brissett and Driskel have been judged by the coaches to be dead-even after sharing reps in the spring and in preseason camp.

There has been no separation on the field. Now, the two quarterbacks are taking their competition to The Swamp on Saturday. One will start and play the first quarter. The other will play the second quarter. At halftime, Muschamp and Pease will evaluate the situation and decide how to use the QBs in the second half.

The quarterbacks seem fine with the plan.

“We both, through camp and through this past week, we’ve both performed really well and they’ve said all along they were looking for someone to emerge,” Driskel said. “But it’s really hard for someone to emerge when we’re both playing as well as we have been. So, we’re both excited to go and we’re both excited for the first game.

“Ever since the spring, that’s what we’ve both wanted (a fair chance) and that’s what we’ve both got. We both took advantage of our opportunity, and Saturday is just one more chance.”

Not that it hasn’t been there already in camp, but the pressure is on the two true sophomores to perform. This time it’s different. This time it’s in a live game — and they will both be judged on how they perform.

“At the end of the day, it’s just go out and play football,” Brissett said. “It’s time to play. No more time for interviews and talk. Just go out and have fun.”

Brissett said he did not find out the playing rotation (each having a quarter in the first half) until Tuesday. Muschamp announced this past Friday that both quarterbacks were going to play. On Monday he revealed the plan for playing time.

“I just heard about it today,” Brissett said. “Just make sure I make the most of it. When I heard (on Sunday) that both of us were going to play, then all right, that’s all that matters. As long as we both play.”

Muschamp and Pease still have not decided which quarterback will start Saturday’s game.

“I don’t know, maybe a flip of the coin, see who gets it,” Pease said. “That’s kind of something that will be determined more towards Thursday because we’ve got a couple days still to rep situations. And it kind of depends maybe on what we open up with.”

Pease was asked what will go into the halftime evaluation of the two quarterbacks.

“I think you just have to go with who’s moving the team,” he said. “The good thing about this is that they’re going to be in real game-time situations.

“What we’ve tried to create in practice and make it a situation where they can grow and having the real experience — now you’re really going to get to see that.

“When the lights come on, it’s going to be different. Hopefully, they’re prepared, they both accept the challenge and they’ll be ready for it with how they respond. We’ll just see where we’re at, at that time.”

Pease said UF’s situation at quarterback is unusual and he doubts it is sustainable beyond this week’s game.

“Tough to answer. I don’t think so,” he said. “That’s my gut feeling. I don’t know if it’s sustainable from there. It depends how they play, I guess, and what they create.

“That’s one of my things I’ve explained to them. You can embrace it. You can hate it and not embrace the situation. I’ve tried to say whichever way we go with it, you get a fair shot. Make your production and make your statement when you get in there.”

Both quarterbacks seem prepared to do that. Both also seem to realize that their performance Saturday will have an impact on who eventually becomes the starter.

“I’m sure it will have a big factor on it,” Driskel said. “(The coaches) are going to be looking at us really closely, and I guess it’s just another chance for us both.

“This is our biggest opportunity and our biggest chance. They’re going to go with the guy who is going to give them the best chance for the rest of the season.”

Brissett understands the situation.

“When I committed here, I knew it was going to be a race between me and him,” Brissett said. “You can’t fight it. That’s where you’ve got to strive and thrive to be the best. Competition brings out the best in everyone, and that’s what is happening now.”

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

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