GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No matter how much you press Florida coach Will Muschamp, he’s not going to say anything that would indicate whether one of the two players competing to be the starting quarterback in 2012 has an edge.
Muschamp will concede that Driskel is a better scrambler and Brissett has more presence in the pocket -- but only slightly. Other than that, though, the two sophomores are equals. Both have good arms. Both are athletic. Both have shown they can manage the offense.
It appears the battle is headed for a photo finish, but one of the two quarterbacks could push ahead depending on what happens in the next three months. It’s up to them to organize the unofficial on-field workouts with the receivers, to make sure the players continue to absorb the playbook and to ensure that when practice does begin in August the offense’s timing is pretty good.
"Right now is a huge, huge indicator to see who takes a leg up and see who’s going to get our football team out there and do team drills, 11 on 11, and what we call PRP -- a player-run practice," Muschamp said. "That’s what it has to be now. I can’t be out there. [Offensive coordinator] Brent [Pease] can’t be out there. [Defensive coordinator] Dan [Quinn] can’t be out there. They’ve got to take control of our football team."
The Gators had 14 practices and the spring game, but that really wasn’t enough time to give either quarterback a chance to separate from the other because the team was focusing on installing Pease’s offense. Now that the offense is in and everybody has a playbook, it’s time to work on making everything second nature.
Developing the timing between the receivers and quarterbacks is critical. Having to work on that in August could set the offense back weeks, Muschamp said.
"Previous to [spring practice] it was very hard to get out and really rep timing as far as the route concepts are concerned with the receivers because it was new to everybody," Muschamp said. "So really we had 15 solid days to go out and throw the ball. Well, that’s where these next three months are critical. I told our offensive players, ‘Don’t let me walk in the first day of training camp and have Brent say our timing’s off.’ We had three months to get our timing right as far as the throwing game is concerned. That’s the job of the quarterbacks and the receivers to handle that throughout the summer."
Both quarterbacks said they would be involved in organizing the offseason workouts and ensuring full participation. They’ll obviously do plenty of throwing, so barring some kind of freak injury, it’s likely the two will enter August the same way they left April: even.
Muschamp’s last -- and probably best -- tactic for finally determining a winner will be to put Driskel and Brissett in as many game-type situations as possible. But if things turn out even after that, then get ready for a two-quarterback system or a season-long competition.
"We’re going to do what it takes to win games," Muschamp said. "I trust Brent’s opinion and myself to make a good decision there as far as our team is concerned."