Saturday, December 16, 2017
Colleges

Florida Gators quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will play against Bowling Green

GAINESVILLE

If you favor one Florida quarterback over the other, you might want to cheer really hard during the first half of Saturday's season opener against Bowling Green. It appears that will be critical in determining if Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel will be the No. 1 quarterback.

"Both quarterbacks will play in the game," Florida coach Will Muschamp said Monday. "Right now, (offensive coordinator Brent Pease) and I plan to play one in the first quarter — we have not made that decision (on which) yet — and another in the second quarter. And then through halftime, (we'll) make a decision heading into the third quarter."

Muschamp wouldn't elaborate on if the Gators will choose one to finish the game; only that they will be evaluated at halftime.

Driskel and Brissett, according to Muschamp and Pease, have been "dead even" since the spring game in April.

Sunday, Driskel was cleared to return to contact drills. He had been noncontact since sustaining a bruised bone in his shoulder during preseason camp.

While fans and national media debate Muschamp's decision through social media, the players insist having two QBs is not distracting.

"It's the same," senior WR Frankie Hammond said. "During practice, they switch them out probably every two or three plays, and half the time, I'm not really paying attention."

Hammond added that often he's not aware of which QB threw a pass until he returns to the huddle.

"I can't really tell the difference," he said.

NO CAKEWALK: With a game at Texas A&M on Sept. 8, it might be human nature for the Gators to be looking ahead to the SEC opener against one of the league's two new teams. But the Gators need look no farther than their training room to know why that's a bad idea.

First-year strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman was at I-AA Appalachian State when it upset No. 5 Michigan 34-32 on the road in 2007.

"Our coaches are doing a really good job of taking one game at a time," junior RB Trey Burton said. "Coach Dillman keeps bringing up Appy State and how they beat Michigan. They just constantly keep it in our heads. You've got to take one game at a time. We don't want that to happen to us."

Bowling Green went 5-7 last season but returns 20 starters. They include Matt Schilz, who threw for 3,024 yards and tied for the MAC lead with 28 touchdown passes, and Anthon Samuel, who finished third in the nation among freshmen at 93.8 rushing yards per game.

BIG STRIDES: Early last month, LB Dante Fowler wasn't sure he would be able to enroll at Florida, spending a stressful period awaiting a decision from the NCAA clearinghouse. Monday, his name appeared on the two-deep depth chart as the backup to Lerentee McCray.

He is one of three freshmen on the depth chart, joining RG Jessamen Dunker (backup to St. Petersburg Catholic alum Jon Halapio) and WR Latroy Pittman. Muschamp said although they are not listed on the depth chart, he also expects freshman RB Matt Jones (Armwood) and freshman TE Kent Taylor (Land O'Lakes) to see playing time on Saturday.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

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