GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel have 73 combined attempts between them in live game action.
That’s just seven more attempts than former Gators quarterback John Reaves (33 of 66) had against Auburn in 1969 when he set the school record for a single game.
The quarterback position has always been a headliner for the Gators. All three of Florida’s Heisman Trophy winners (Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow) played quarterback, and former UF gunslinger Rex Grossman finished second in 2001.
While the position has produced much success over the years, it’s a big question mark going into the 2012 season.
Brissett and Driskel both played as true freshmen a year ago when fifth-year senior John Brantley suffered a midseason ankle injury. Neither stood out significantly above the other and that continued through spring practice.
“Both guys are talented, qualified for the position,’’ Gators coach Will Muschamp said at SEC Football Media Days. “If you saw our spring game, you saw what I saw for 14 practices. Two guys that are very even in their competition. They're even going into fall camp. They'll get equal reps. I would like to name a starter before the season, but I'm not going to put a timetable on that.”
Muschamp has not ruled out playing both during the season if that is best for the team.
“Both guys have a similar skill set,’’ Muschamp said. “So it's not like there's one offense we run with one and one with another, and there's a possibility you could see both in the game at the same time. But they're both guys that can contribute to our football team. Jeff and Jacoby have handled the competition very well. Their competition has made our football team better.”
The Brissett-Driskel battle will be watched closely once fall camp officially opens on Friday. The way it plays out will help set the tone entering the season opener Sept. 1 against Bowling Green.
Brissett and Driskel aren’t the only Florida quarterbacks on scholarship. They are joined by redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy and true freshman Skyler Mornhinweg.
With camp quickly approaching, GatorZone.com is taking a look at each position group this week, starting with the quarterbacks:
No. 6 Jeff Driskel (Soph., 6-2, 232)
At a glance: Driskel played in five games as a true freshman and completed 16 of 34 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions.
The Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida coming out of Oviedo’s Hagerty High, Driskel looked overwhelmed at times as a freshman. Driskel is the Gators’ most athletic option at quarterback and is a dangerous runner as well as passer.
Driskel’s best performance last year was at Auburn when he took over in the second half and went 9-for-18 for 75 yards.
No. 12 Jacoby Brissett (Soph., 6-3, 229)
At a glance: Brissett played in eight games as a true freshman, completing 18 of 39 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Brissett became the first true freshman quarterback in UF history to take the first snap of his college career as the starting quarterback in the Gators’ loss at LSU. Brissett handled his emergency duty about as well as could be expected and showed a steady presence in the pocket for such a young quarterback.
A former basketball standout at Palm Beach Dwyer High, Brissett is not as athletic as Driskel but showed the ability to make plays and gained valuable experience in his two starts.
No. 10 Tyler Murphy (RS Soph., 6-2, 204)
At a glance: Murphy is a valuable player on special teams and has yet to throw a pass during his UF career. He looked capable in the Orange and Blue Debut spring game and provides Florida insurance should Driskel and Brissett both get hurt.
No. 17 Skyler Mornhinweg (Fr., 6-3, 190)
At a glance: Mornhinweg signed with the Gators out of Saint Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, where his father, Marty, is offensive coordinator of the Eagles. Mornhinweg is likely to be redshirted if Brissett and Driskel stay healthy and hold down the job.