GAINESVILLE — As Florida QB John Brantley was helped off the field Saturday night, unable to put weight on his right foot, the feeling was the injury might be more serious than a couple of days could improve.
Monday, coach Will Muschamp said Brantley's "lower leg" injury will keep him out of this week's game at No. 1 LSU and potentially longer.
Muschamp refused to give details, but multiple sources have reported it is a high ankle sprain. Brantley was seen on campus with a boot on his right leg and using crutches. Muschamp said Brantley's injury will not require surgery. Brantley was hurt on a sack with 35 seconds remaining in the second quarter of Florida's 38-10 loss to Alabama.
"John's disappointed," Muschamp said. "He was playing very well. He really threw the ball extremely well against a really good football team. He's disappointed. I'm hurting for him, but it's time to pick up the other guy, and that's what our football team will do."
The other guy is freshman Jeff Driskel, a former Oviedo Hagerty High standout who was rated the No. 1 quarterback in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals.com recruiting services.
Driskel, who has played in four games, will start, but that doesn't mean the Gators won't look at all their options.
"Jeff Driskel, Jacoby Brissett and Tyler Murphy will all receive reps (this week in practice)," Muschamp said. "We've been pleased with Jeff and his progress and where he is right now at the quarterback position. But all those guys will rep, and who practices the best will be the guys that'll play and give us the best opportunity to have success."
Essentially the Gators will take a freshman who enrolled in January (Driskel), a sophomore who has never seen action in a game (Murphy) and a freshman who arrived in July (Brissett), and ask one or all of them to lead the way against a team with the nation's third-best rushing defense and the No. 9 scoring and total defense.
Muschamp said the key is not putting all the pressure on the quarterback. The rest of the team must help, he said.
Muschamp confirmed that Driskel might have sprained an ankle in Saturday's game but said, "He's fine."
SAUNDERS TO RETURN: Muschamp said S De'Ante "Pop" Saunders will return this week from his one-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. Muschamp said the suspension was not related to Saunders' arrest in May for misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. In August, Saunders agreed to deferred prosecution.
YOUNG ON WOODEN: Sophomore C/F Patric Young has been named to basketball's Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Monday.
National college basketball media members votes in the preseason for 50 players who, based on last year's individual performance and team record, are the early front-runners for the award. The award has been presented annually since 1977 to the nation's outstanding player.
Performance in the regular season, conference tournaments and postseason is taken into account by voters, as is the player's character. Young, who averaged 17.8 minutes per game, earned SEC All-Freshman honors last season. He averaged 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds coming off the bench.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected].