September 1, 2012

Notebook: Not ready to name a starter

When No. 23 Florida took the field for its first offensive possession of 2012, two quarterbacks were on the field.

"They both deserved to start," coach Will Muschamp said about sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.

But by the end of Saturday's too-close-for comfort 27-14 win over the Bowling Green Falcons, the duel-threat Driskel seemingly emerged as the front-runner for UF's official starting quarterback job -- despite Muschamp's refusal to bite on the question.

"We were told [Friday]," Driskel said of the unique situation. "It was a little weird. …But it was good to get us both out there on the same play."

Following Florida's opening-play gimmick, Driskel played the remainder of the first quarter, while Brissett took most of the snaps in the second period.

With nearly even results -- both guys were a part of first-half touchdown drives -- Driskel was handed the keys after halftime.

"We felt like Jacoby did a good job," Muschamp said. "I just felt like the rhythm of the game dictated that we were going to need some movement in the pocket. Jeff gave us that opportunity. We just felt like we needed pocket movement as the game moved along."

Driskel finished 10-of-16 for 114 yards and one touchdown, adding 31 yards on the ground. The overly conservative game plan hardly gave either signal-caller an opportunity to showcase any improvements, but Driskel said the gameplan all along was to pound the ball.

"That's what we wanted to do and that's what we did," he said. "The goal was to get a win, and that's what we came away with."

Brissett never saw the field after halftime, and looked anguished on the sideline. He finished the day 3-of-5 for 31 yards.

After the game, Muschamp refused to name Driskel the starter for next week's contest at Texas A&M, citing film study and meetings.

"I haven't made that decision yet," Muschamp said. "We haven't made any decision. You can keep asking me questions. I felt like today, and today's game, was in Jeff. … That doesn't mean we've made a decision."

Muschamp said he was pleased with the first half rotation, saying, "I thought both guys got us in and out. Managed our team, got us into some right runs. I thought there were some positives we have to continue to build off of."

Discipline, or lack their of: In 2011, the Gators ranked 114th nationally -- and last in the SEC -- in penalties. Despite talk of change this off-season, nothing looked different Saturday afternoon.

Florida committed 14 penalties -- 10 before halftime -- for 106 yards. Twice the Gators killed potential drives with false starts and holds. Defensively, Florida extended Bowling Green's first touchdown drive with a personal foul. On special teams, Trey Burton and Andre Debose committed boneheaded mistakes.

No unit was immune.

In the post game press conference, Muschamp was dismayed, saying, "That's something we've worked on. I addressed it with the team after the game. We've exhausted every measure I know."

With the sad admission, it may take the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket to get Florida in line.

"Penalties are going to kill us," Driskel said. "We have to cut those down. But it's just game one."

Hammond Jr. said the team has to clean them up if it wants to win in the SEC. Cornerback Marcus Roberson attributed the penalties to mental mistakes, before adding, "We're going to improve on that and get better for Texas A&M."

Quotable: "Pretty much everything. Well not everything, but most of it." -- star running back Mike Gillislee on what the Gators showed offensively today.

Gator Bytes: Saturday's announced attendance was 84,704, but the stadium was barely half full at the start of the third quarter. Muschamp said he wasn't "overly concerned" with the marginal turnover -- roughly 4,000 less than opening kickoff in 2011 -- fifth-year senior Omar Hunter said it was disappointing. The nose tackle said the team has to win games to earn the fans back. ... The Gators were just 5-of-16 on third down, including a dismal 1-for-8 on conversions two-yards or less. The lone conversion was on a sweet fake fullback dive, toss to Gillislee for 28 yards. Muschamp blamed a "lack of latitude" in play-calling for the poor conversion rate. When asked about the offensive line's role, he said, "it's not their fault." ... Lots of freshmen played Saturday, but the defensive trio of Dante Fowler Jr., Antonio Morrison and Jonathan Bullard saw the most snaps. Offensively, Latroy Pittman, Kent Taylor, Matt Jones and D.J. Humphries all got multiple reps. ... At halftime, the Gators had zero sacks and no turnovers, but they recorded two turnovers and a single sack in the second half. ... Sharrif Floyd played one offensive snap and wore No. 69. ... Driskel shanked a 15-yard pooch-punt in the second quarter. "It went a little better than that the other day [in practice]," he said. ... No injuries were addressed after the game.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!