The Florida Gators are heading into the 2012 preseason camp with no idea who their starting quarterback will be in Week 1.
That’s the only conclusion you can draw after listening to him speak at Day 2 of the SEC media days on Wednesday.
Muschamp made it clear that the battle between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel is far from over (via Yahoo! Sports):
Both guys are certainly qualified for the position. If you saw the spring game, you saw what I saw for 14 practices: Two guys that are very even in that competition. They're even going into fall camp and they'll get equal reps.
Both players showed little in their inaugural 2011 season.
Brissett completed 46 percent of his passes (18 of 39) while registering 206 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He seemed very tentative to pull the trigger and was very mediocre at reading coverages.
Driskel was even worse, registering a 47-percent completion rate (16 of 34) for 148 yards and two interceptions. He didn’t throw a single TD pass. The best play of his season was a 31-yard scamper against Alabama.
The players are virtually the same size (6’4’’, 240 pounds) and have roughly the same amount of experience entering their sophomore season. It’s going to be a heated competition, and Muschamp believes there may not be a resolution before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green (via Yahoo! Sports):
I'd like to name a starter before the season but I'm not going to put a timetable on that. If we need to play both of them, that's what we're going to do. We'll do what we need to do to win football games.
Then he drops the ultimate dagger: "There's a possibility you could see both in the game at the same time.”
I’m not sure if Muschamp is saying that to scare opponents or if he really believes putting two QBs on the field will actually work. But the comment highlights how unsure the Gators head coach is about the most important position on the field less than six weeks away from the regular season.
The pressure is squarely on Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Brent Pease to figure out a way to right a sinking ship.
Last year, the Gators ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in points (25.5) and yards per game (328.7). They finished 7-6 but did beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl (or the Urban Meyer Bowl). Yet they only registered 263 total yards and scored 14 of their 24 points on special teams.
There is no question the offense will rely heavily on senior running back Mike Gillislee to keep the chains moving, but you can’t win in the rugged SEC without a strong quarterback that is comfortable in the pocket and can make something happen when the protection breaks down.
The Gator QB battle is shaping up to be one of the biggest stories of the SEC conference heading into the new season.
As the old adage goes…if you can’t decide between two QBs, you may not have a QB at all.