Florida Football: Jeff Driskel's Injury Opens Door for Jacoby Brissett

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 14, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 01:  Jeff Driskel #16 of the Florida Gators attempts a pass during a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide  at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Shortly after posting this story on why Florida fans shouldn't be worried about the absence of a leader in Florida's quarterback battle between Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, news broke that should have Gator fans worried.

According to Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, Driskel suffered a serious injury to his non-throwing shoulder in practice.

According to a source close to the UF football team, Jeff Driskel sustained a significant shoulder injury in practice today. Left shoulder.

— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) August 14, 2012

Bob Redman of FoxSports.com reports that the injury happened on Sunday and that Driskel played through it.

FWIW the injury to Driskel happened Sunday and he played through it. Has been out since regardless of reports you hear out there.

— Bob Redman (@BobRedmanFSNEXT) August 14, 2012

Florida released a statement on Tuesday that Brissett is taking reps in practice, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports.com.

Statement from #Gators Muschamp: "Jeff was at practice today and will be taking reps at practice Wednesday."

— Thomas Goldkamp (@Goldkamp247) August 14, 2012

Driskel and Brissett have been locked in a heated battle for the top spot on the depth chart ever since the final whistle of Florida's Gator Bowl win over Ohio State.

Will Muschamp stressed how he'd like to have the position settled after practice on Monday.

"I'd like to be a little more settled, you know,” head coach Will Muschamp told The Gainesville Sun. “Again, my confidence level is overly high in both guys. I'd just like to settle in where we are as far as that's concerned."

This clearly isn't the way that he wanted it settled.

The longer the battle went on, the better things looked for Driskel to win the job. If things were close in the passing game, Driskel's ability to make things happen with his feet and escape pressure would become more of a factor in Muschamp's decision-making process.

While having a hurt non-throwing shoulder wouldn't hamper his ability to throw the ball, it certainly could present problems when he takes off on designed runs or escapes from the pocket.

Whether Driskel's injury keeps him out for a significant period of time or it's just a minor ding, this opens the door for Brissett to take the reins of the Florida offense.

Brissett was a Charlie Weis project in Weis' one season as Florida's offensive coordinator. The West Palm Beach native went 18-of-39 for 206 yards, two touchdowns and four picks last season. He was pressed into duty after injuries to starter John Brantley and Driskel midway through the season.

Brissett has the talent to be a star in this league, and Driskel's injury—whether it's significant, minor or significantly minor—opens the door a bit in the battle for the top spot on the depth chart.