Notebook: UF's Driskel will be set for spring

Injured quarterback Jeff Driskel is now expected to be good to go for the start of drills March 19.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.

One of Will Muschamp's first coaching decisions in 2014 apparently was the right one. By pushing back the start of spring practice, injured quarterback Jeff Driskel is now expected to be good to go for the start of drills March 19.

“We did bump back spring about a week, 10 days or so, which (means Driskel) should be fine,” Muschamp said Monday. “His rehab is coming very well.”

Driskel broke his lower leg early in the Tennessee game in September and his status for the start of spring was uncertain after undergoing surgery. But Driskel is now on schedule to return and start learning and operating a new offense with the other quarterback candidates in March.

While Driskel will be back, several other players, including former starting tailback Matt Jones, are out for the spring with injuries, Muschamp said.

Joining Jones on the sidelines this spring will be offensive guard Octavius Jackson (chronic shoulder problem) and linebackers Matt Rolin (knee), Alex Anzalone (shoulder) and Jeremi Powell.

Jones sustained a major knee injury last season and is facing two more surgical procedures in the near future, Muschamp said.

“He had a radial tear of the meniscus, which basically splits the meniscus in half,” Muschamp said. “The first surgery we were able to put together about 60 percent of the meniscus. We're very optimistic about the meniscus being fine.

“We're going to go back and build the quad back and then we're going to come back in three to four weeks to have a scope to repair the remaining 40 percent, and our orthopedics feel very confident that they're going to be able to do so.

“He will miss spring, but we feel like he'll be ready to go for summer workouts.”

Jackson recently had shoulder surgery and there is no timetable for his return.

“Octavius Jackson had shoulder surgery on a chronic shoulder. We'll know more about his future in the coming weeks,” Muschamp said. “He's having some issues there with his shoulder.”

Two other injured players — wide receiver Andre Debose (knee) and offensive lineman Tyler Moore (broken elbow) — are expected to participate in spring drills, although Debose will not have any contact.

“(Debose) is doing well with the ACL, but he probably won't be in any contact drills,” Muschamp said. “Tyler Moore should be fine for spring. He has another X-ray in about two to three weeks that will tell us more about when he will be clear for contact, but he should be fine for spring.”

Roper has input on OL hire

Although reports were never confirmed that former offensive coordinator Brent Pease and former offensive line coach Tim Davis did not get along, new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper had input on Muschamp's new offensive line coach hire — veteran Mike Summers.

“I wanted him to be very involved in the offensive line hire. I think it's important for those guys to be on the same page,” Muschamp said. “That's why I didn't really act much on the offensive line other than doing a lot of research to gather names that I felt personally fit me and Florida. But he needed to be involved in that interview process, and he was.”

Strong after Joker?

There are reports out of Texas that new Longhorns' coach (and former Gator defensive coordinator) Charlie Strong is considering wide receivers coach Joker Phillips for the offensive coordinator's position at UT.

Muschamp said Monday he did not anticipate any more changes on his coaching staff.

“Not at this time,” he said.

New start for Summers

Summers, the new offensive line coach, certainly has had an interesting, and different, year, where he finds himself now working for the fourth head coach in the past several months.

He started the season under Lane Kiffin at Southern Cal, then worked for interim Ed Orgeron and for coach Clay Helton in the bowl game, and is now with Muschamp.

"This has been one of the most exciting and interesting years of the 34 I've had,” Summers said

“To start into this past season with a lot of question marks and then five games in, to have things get turned upside down and then to finish with a 10-win season and a bowl victory was a testament to the coaches that were on that staff and to the players that believed in the coaches.”

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