The Gators will begin fall camp without their starting quarterback. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel underwent appendectomy surgery Tuesday at UF Health Shands Hospital.
"Jeff had acute appendicitis and fortunately the medical staff caught it very quickly," UF coach Will Muschamp said in an official statement. "His surgery went well and how long he is out will be determined by how his body responds, which could be two weeks."
With training camp starting Friday, Driskel will miss the beginning of fall practice while he recovers from surgery. Driskel is the uncontested starter for the Gators, but his absence will open repetitions for Florida's three scholarship backup quarterbacks as practice gets underway.
Junior Tyler Murphy was listed as the No. 2 quarterback coming out of spring camp, but he didn't necessarily do much to separate himself from redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg during the 15 practices. Muschamp said throughout spring someone needed to "step up" as the backup quarterback and he was repeatedly disappointed in the competition for the role.
New to campus is freshman Max Staver who, at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, is the tallest quarterback on the roster and a former three-star prospect coming out of high school. Muschamp believes in selecting at least one quarterback in every recruiting class, but the contrary argument would be that leads to stacking depth more than potential. Mornhinweg appeared to be an example of that while struggling to beat out Murphy, a career backup at UF, and the verdict is still out on Staver.
No one's positioning is safe, and that sense of competition will only increase during the time Driskel is out.
Muschamp has displayed extreme confidence in Driskel this offseason, but his time missed is nothing to negate either. Driskel appeared only moderately more comfortable during spring practice than he was in 2012, when he held a conservative role and threw for 1,646 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Gators are heavily relying on at least two of the five freshman wide receivers they brought on campus this recruiting cycle to factor into the passing game.
Missed time puts Driskel behind in working with said new players after a summer of getting acclimated to them through player-run practices.