GAINESVILLE — Will Muschamp will decide on a starting quarterback next week, but both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will play in the season opener against Bowling Green on Sept 1, the Florida coach said Friday.
Muschamp said he has known since the Gators' second scrimmage last week that both likely would play, saying the competition has remained too close to call. He met with Driskel and Brissett on Friday morning and said neither was upset.
"They both deserve the right to play," Muschamp said. "And they both deserve the right to start. They've both had really good camps. They are right down the middle as far as 62, 63 completion percentage — both of them. Their numbers are very similar whether it's in one-minute, third down. So both guys are very even, and our football team has got great confidence in both of them."
Muschamp said the two still will have an opportunity to separate themselves during practices before the opener.
PATCHAN OUT: RT Matt Patchan (Armwood High), among the candidates to start, will miss the opener with a strained pectoral muscle sustained during last week's scrimmage. Also, OL D.J. Humphries (MCL) could return next week.
WALK-ONS REWARDED: LB Scott Peek (Freedom), OL Cole Gilliam (Durant) and CB Tim Clark were awarded scholarships this week. Said Muschamp: "All … have done a good job academically and represented our program the right way."
USF: Shaw shines
TAMPA — Junior RB Marcus Shaw continued his strong preseason for USF, scoring three touchdowns during a scrimmage. Shaw, 5 feet 9, 190 pounds, has earned a nickname from USF's defenders over the past few weeks.
"We call him 'Squirrel' because … a squirrel has fast, quick movements," DE Ryne Giddins said. "And that's exactly how he is on the field."
The moniker carries extra weight at USF, where the squirrels are aggressive, Giddins said.
"They come after you," he said. "One time, (DT Todd Chandler) was telling me a story that a squirrel was laying in the middle of the sidewalk and it wasn't moving. He got so scared, he walked around."
Coach Skip Holtz praised Shaw but said he's looking for more as he doles out carries among Shaw, seniors Demetris Murray and Lindsey Lamar and others.
"I'd like to see (Shaw) run a little bit more physical," Holtz said. "He ran well. He's good in space. I thought Lindsey Lamar did some really good things in space. Demetris Murray continues to run physical."
Up next: Holtz said he will release a new depth chart Monday.
HEALING WELL: Holtz said nearly all injured players, including DL Cory Grissom, DL Elkino Watson and DL Julius Forte, have been cleared to practice without limitations.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
FSU: A smooth move
TALLAHASSEE — Cameron Erving has never started a game — or played left tackle. But he's poised to do both in Florida State's opener against Murray State on Sept 1.
The Seminoles lost both starting tackles, Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders, to graduation. To replace one, they moved Erving from defensive tackle.
And so far, he has made a smooth transition.
"I know I can be good. But I am just trying to take it day by day," said the redshirt sophomore, who made 20 tackles over 13 games last season.
"I am taking the same approach now that I did the first day I became a left tackle. I'm trying to be coachable and listen to what (offensive line coach Rick Trickett) says."
His teammates are impressed.
Said backup QB Clint Trickett: "Cam looks like he's a three-year All-American out there."