Driskel In Line To Start At QB For Florida
In what's shaping up as Will Muschamp's do-or-die season, it appears Florida will go with redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel.
Driskel, who is 12-3 as a starter, broke his leg Sept. 21 against Tennessee, one of a plethora of injuries to Gators starters that contributed to a 4-8 season. Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and hired Kurt Roper, the long-time henchman of Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
Entering spring, some thought four-star quarterback and early enrollee Will Grier may have a chance to take the job. Florida's offense especially was heinous last season, scoring just 18.8 points per game. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, even though Muschamp hasn't named a starter, it appears Grier is competing with redshirt sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg for the backup role.
"Those guys will continue to split reps and Jeff has certainly distanced himself at this point," Muschamp said Tuesday, according to the paper. "But those guys have done some nice things at times. Jeff’s been through change before, so I think the more times you go through that stuff you kind of can handle it and move forward, the maturity takes over."
Driskel has thrown for 2,271 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his career, but entered last season with relatively high expectations. The consensus is he still needs to make better decisions by limiting sacks and turnovers, but Roper's offense could help him produce better figures.
"I think it fits his skillset better, and I’ve been very pleased with his maturity and handling it," Muschamp said, according to the Sentinel. "He’s running well, he’s moving it around well. The ankle is not bothering him as far as those things are concerned. I think continuing just to work on the fundamentals because he really didn’t throw much to my knowledge until we started practice."
It's not surprising that Muschamp publicly is leaning toward Driskel, as coaches in high-profile jobs tend to trust the known quantity when their jobs are at stake. But if Roper and Driskel can't get the team turned around in 2014, a different head coach will have the same decision to make next spring.