Florida head coach Will Muschamp made it clear that he wanted to use the No. 23 Gators season-opener against Bowling Green as an audition for quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.
The Gators' offense struggled through a 27-14 win over the Falcons. They looked a lot like a team that is still searching for an identity and a permanent starter at the most important position on the field.
In a twist that signified the offseason derby between the pair of sophomores, both signal-callers were on the field for the Gators’ first snap—Brissett at quarterback and Driskel at wide receiver.
Even though Driskel had to wait his turn, the 6’4”, 235-pounder turned in the better performance, completing 10-of-16 passes for 116 yards—including a 50-yard touchdown pass to receiver Frankie Hammond that put the Gators up 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Brissett recorded just five pass attempts, completing three of them for 31 yards.
However, the stats may be skewed considering both field generals struggled to get any kind of rhythm—which is understandable given the rotation strategy.
Also, for a team and a fan base that has memories of weapons like Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Chris Rainey to name a few, both quarterbacks have no such luxuries available to them.
In a wise move, new offensive coordinator Brent Pease chose to lean on senior running back Mike Gillislee, who responded by toting the ball 24 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Gillislee is the only player that appears to be ready to become a consistent playmaker. The skill position talent on Muschamp’s roster is painfully deficient of players capable of striking fear into opposing defenses.
Considering the moving parts around the quarterback position, both players will likely be needed over the course of a long season.
With the offensive unit in a state of transition—also understandable considering that the Gators have its third different offensive coordinator in as many seasons—the race between Driskel and Brissett is likely far from a conclusion.