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Gators quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start on Saturday if Jeff Driskel can't play.

Monday November 12, 2012Gators Confident In Brissett If Driskel Can't Play

Gators quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start on Saturday if Jeff Driskel can't play.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gators opened preparation for their home finale Monday uncertain of whether Jeff Driskel’s injured right ankle would be healed enough for him to play Saturday against Jacksonville State.

Fortunately for the Gators, they don’t seem too concerned if Driskel can’t play due to fellow sophomore Jacoby Brissett’s performance Saturday. Brissett replaced the injured Driskel late in the third quarter in Florida’s win over Louisiana and finished 6 of 8 for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Brissett lost a quarterback battle with Driskel that extended into the season opener. He had played only in mop-up duty since prior to Saturday.

“A guy [whom] has prepared himself well, is very talented, he's going to have the opportunities to make good choices and decisions on the field, which he'll do,’’ Muschamp said. “I've got a lot of confidence in him.

“You never know when your number is going to be called. There’s no question. I think it’s a great example for us all. When your number is called, you better hurry up and perform and perform well. We always talk about man down, man up and in that situation. It’s different from other positions, the quarterback position and how it affects the entire team. I’m certainly very proud of his effort and what he did when he went in the game.”

Brissett officially started the season opener but gave way to Driskel after the first snap. As for Driskel, Muschamp said he suffered a sprained ankle Saturday and that the team’s medical staff told him Driskel needs a couple more days of rest while he wears a protective boot on his right foot.

Jeff Driskel’s ankle is probably doubtful for this week,” Muschamp said Monday. “We'll try to get him on the field Wednesday. If he can't go by then, certainly we'll go with Jacoby. We have all the confidence in the world Jacoby will play well.”

Senior receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. doesn’t expect the Gators’ offense to change if Brissett plays instead of Driskel.

Not a thing,’’ Hammond said. “Driskel is more of a mobile guy. He can get out of the pocket a little faster. But I don’t think that will close anything as far as our offense is concerned. Jacoby does just as a good a job as Driskel does.”

Driskel was 13 of 16 for 98 yards and had a team-high 76 yards rushing in Saturday’s 27-20 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns. He went down on a short run in the third quarter with the Gators leading 13-10.

Brissett came in for the next play, a short screen pass to Mike Gillislee. The Gators punted and fell behind when Kyle Christy’s punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns extended their lead to 20-13 until Brissett led a four-play, 49-yard drive that tied the game 20-20 on his 3-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Dunbar.

Brissett was 3-for-3 for 48 yards on the drive.

“We knew it was a 'man down, man up' situation,’’ senior safety Josh Evans said Monday. “He's a pretty good quarterback, too, so we knew that eventually he could come through and pull this game through for us. If Driskel's down, I'm pretty sure, the way this team has bonded this year, we would definitely crowd around him and give him the energy he needs to go out there and help us win."

Muschamp said Driskel’s ankle remains swollen and “a little black and blue.”

“We’ll see how the swelling goes on the ankle and see where it goes,’’ Muschamp said. “Some guys recover quicker than others. I don’t know. Based on what [associate director of sports health] Anthony Pass and I talked about this morning, I feel like we’ll see Wednesday what he can do or if he can do anything.

“If not, then we’ll go forward and be fine. Jacoby will play well.”


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