Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators seek resolution to two-quarterback situation in first half of opener


When spring football drills began in March, new Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease assumed he would have a starting quarterback by now. Instead, he has two.

When Florida hosts Bowling Green on Saturday, sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will each play one quarter in the first half to potentially determine a permanent starter.

Pease is well aware of the risks involved with the dual-quarterback, one-quarter strategy, but he said it was the most equitable way to address the difficult situation.

"They have both done a really good job, with how they've handled the situation and how they've progressed," he said. "I think it would be difficult to name a starter right now. What would you be telling the other kid? If they had separated (from) each other, yeah. But they've both made major progress and done good things. We have a situation in a game where we can play them."

Translation: The Gators are opening with Bowling Green, a team that is 7-17 over the past two years, which gives Florida's coaching staff a prime opportunity to see both players in game action without jeopardizing a likely victory.

The decision to split play by quarters has drawn criticism, but Pease said it's designed to allow the players to perform without added pressure.

"The thing we don't want to create is they're looking over their shoulder like in a series," he said. "I don't think that's fair. I think you can get too uneasy and it puts too much pressure on you, so a quarter's just a situation of — in a game, you're really trying to get 14, 15 drives and then you can balance it out from there. You give each kid three or four series that they can do something."

Pease and coach Will Muschamp have not revealed which quarterback will start. Brissett said he has no preference "as long as I play." Driskel does.

"Obviously I'd like to play the first, but that doesn't matter," he said. "We're both going to play, and we're both going to try to do the same thing. We're on the same team, so I'll be cheering for him, and he'll be cheering for me."

Playing two quarterbacks isn't unique at Florida. Tim Tebow was used in certain situations in relief of Chris Leak in 2006, and former coach Steve Spurrier was famous for his use of two quarterbacks, notably rotating Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise on every play against FSU in 1997. But the current South Carolina coach said this week that it's not something he'd recommend for the long term.

Pease doesn't necessarily disagree.

"I don't know, tough to answer," Pease said when asked if this could continue beyond Saturday. "I don't think so. That's my gut feeling. I don't know if it's sustainable from there. It depends how they play, I guess, and what they create."

Muschamp wouldn't reveal what parameters would be used in the halftime evaluation, but he knows what he wants from both.

"Win," he said. "Play well, take care of the ball, score points, move our football team, get us in and out of the huddle, manage our team — and not in a conservative manner. Let's get the ball going."

Many players said this week that they could see this coming.

"It wasn't really surprising," sophomore fullback Hunter Joyer said. "It's a close call, so I don't blame the coaches for what they're doing. I'm just excited to see what's going to happen with them."

What happens after Saturday remains to be seen, but for now it's one quarter each, presumably to determine a winner. Fair and square.

"Ever since the spring, that's what we've both wanted and that's what we've both got," Driskel said. "We both took advantage of our opportunity. And Saturday is just one more chance."

Added Brissett: "At the end of the day, it's Coach's decision, so whatever is going to put us in the best position for the rest of the season, it's fine with me."

Antonya English can be reached at Follow her coverage at

The case for: Brissett was not an early enrollee, but learned the system quickly and has more game experience. With starter John Brantley and Driskel injured, Brissett started at No. 1 LSU last year, and in eight games went 18-of-39 for 206 yards and two TDs. He was a touted recruit from West Palm.


The case for: Last season Driskel beat out Brissett for the No. 2 QB spot after joining the Gators in January. After an ankle injury in October, he played one more game, finishing 16-of-34 for 148 yards and no TDs. He was rated the No. 1 QB by and coming out of Oviedo Hagerty.

Florida Gators seek resolution to two-quarterback situation in first half of opener 08/30/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after striking out for the final out of the sixth inning with a runner on first and the Rays leading 5-4.
  2. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  3. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is not happy about moving back to the bullpen, and can you blame him? But that's the best move for the Rays now. He can fill several roles: long man, setup man, even closer in a pinch. The Rays need to settle the bullpen, and Ramirez has proven he's capable of doing that.

  4. Rays up next: at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Today: Off

    Up next: at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

  5. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.