|Jeff Driskel's ankle injury could be an ongoing headache for Florida. (US Presswire)|
Gators coach Will Muschamp confirmed on the SEC coaches teleconference that the sophomore quarterback's injury will keep him out of Saturday's game against the Gamecocks, with backup Jacoby Brissett set to get that start. Last week, Brissett came off the bench to lead the Gators to a critical game-tying touchdown late in the fourth-quarter of their come-from-behind win against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Muschamp said Monday that Driskel's ankle was "a little black and blue" and in a protective walking boot. He said that the Gators would try to have him on the practice field by Wednesday, and if not, Brissett would get that start.
With the FCS Gamecocks -- 6-4 overall, 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference -- unlikely to offer too much resistance this week, the much bigger question for Gator fans is if Driskel will recover in time for the following Saturday's rivalry showdown with Florida State in Tallahassee. On that point, Muschamp was noncommittal, saying he expected Driskel to be able to play but stopping well short of guaranteeing it.
The good news for the Gators is that with Brissett, they have one of the better backup quarterbacks in the SEC. A sophomore like Driskel, Brissett saw action in eight games as a true freshman and battled for this season's starting job up until Week 2, at which point Driskel was given the job. On the season, Brissett has completed 9 of 13 passes for 95 yards and the one game-saving touchdown vs. ULL.
The bad news is that the Seminoles will host the Gators with what's currently the nation's No. 3-ranked pass efficiency defense, one that hounded then-starter Jeff Brantley and Brissett into a combined 13-for-28, four-interception performance in last year's meeting. Brissett may be up to the challenge -- but against that caliber of defense, there's also little doubt that Muschamp would prefer his chosen No. 1 at the controls of a Gators offense that's already struggled badly of late.