Muschamp: Gator QBs will alternate quarters, then be evaluated at halftime
Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease have come up with a novel way of "solving" their quarterback dilemma.
Throughout spring and fall practice, Will Muschamp has stated repeatedly that there's been no separation between sophomore starting quarterback candidates Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel.
Of course, a lot of coaches say that just before naming a starter. But Monday, Muschamp put his proverbial money where his mouth has been, releasing a depth chart with both Brissett and Driskel listed as starters, then going a step further in his Monday press conference.
Per the Gainesville Sun and other outlets, Muschamp outlined a plan in which one quarterback would play the first quarter, the other would play the second quarter, and which quarterback (or quarterbacks) would play the third and fourth quarters would be decided by the Gator staff at halftime.
If that doesn't sound indecisive enough, there's also this: Muschamp said that he and first-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease haven't even decided which quarterback would get the first-quarter assignment.
"I think both guys are good players," Muschamp said, as quoted by reporter Adam Silverstein. "Again – I’ve said it before – I’m not overly concerned with the quarterback position and the talent level that we have there. We’ve got good players."
This, of course, all sounds entirely too complicated -- and, frankly, wishy-washy -- to be the best way forward for the Gators. Steve Spurrier tried a similar approach for Connor Shaw and Stephen Garcia against East Carolina in South Carolina's 2011 opener, to little first-half success. So it's no surprise immediate reaction to the news among Florida fans seemed, um, mixed.
But there's some good news for Gator fans, too: with Florida's Saturday opener coming against likely overmatched MAC opponent Bowling Green, Muschamp could name himself the starter and the Gators would be fine. Where this week is concerned, the quarterback battle is this-close to being a nonstory.
Which means it's what Muschamp's non-decision says about the rest of the season that's worrisome. By some accounts -- including columnist Pat Dooley's of the Sun -- Brissett had nudged ahead of Driskel in practice, thanks in part to a nagging injury that affected Driskel midway through fall camp. If Muschamp isn't ready to make his mind up now, what happens if both quarterbacks play equally well against Bowling Green? What happens when one or the other struggles in later weeks? Is there any way this isn't setting the table for a divisive, distracting season-long quarterback controversy?
Maybe, if Brissett or Driskel does indeed separate himself this Saturday in the Swamp. And it's possible even a seson-long quarterback controversy simply won't matter, given the tremendous talent, depth and coaching on the Gator defense.
But if that controversy does stick around -- if the decision is one that hangs over the heads of Muschamp and the Gators from September into October and November -- it could be one that the second-year head coach will wish he had simply nipped in the bud when he had the August opportunity.
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