Will Muschamp Says Skyler Mornhinweg Likely to Start QB vs. South Carolina

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIINovember 15, 2013

USA Today

Yet another injury for the Florida Gators might have their starting quarterback, Tyler Murphy, shelved this weekend when they take on No. 10 South Carolina.

Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday night that UF head coach Will Muschamp said on his weekly radio show that, though Murphy is a game-time decision, it looks like redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg will make his first start in Columbia (h/t John Taylor, CollegeFootballTalk):

"We feel good about him moving forward and being ready to go," Muschamp said of Mornhinweg. "That's the way it's looking now."

Muschamp said nothing, however, would be decided until Friday's practice.

"We'll see what Tyler can do tomorrow," Muschamp said Thursday night. "We're not totally certain yet."

Murphy replaced first-string quarterback Jeff Driskel under center when Driskel broke his fibula in September. Since taking over at quarterback, Murphy has been hampered by a lingering shoulder injury, which he re-aggravated this past week in Florida's 34-17 loss to Vanderbilt.

Muschamp noted that Murphy had not practiced at all in the week leading up to the contest with USC. According to Thompson, offensive coordinator Brent Pease asserted that Murphy would have to practice at some point in order to play against the Gamecocks.

The "no practice, no game" philosophy is common practice across most college football teams.

Mornhinweg is the son of New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and joined the Gators as a part of their 2012 class. Out of St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, Mornhinweg chose UF as a 247Sports composite 3-star recruit, giving the nod to the Gators over Penn State, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Illinois, Stanford, Tennessee and others.

Offensive lineman Max Garcia explained to Thompson how the young Mornhinweg has grown since joining UF a year ago:

You can hear it in his voice when he's in the huddle and he's calling plays, you can see he's getting more confident back there taking the reps with the 1s [starters,]. I think his confidence has improved.

Despite that confidence, Pease admitted that the most obvious drawback to playing a young player like Mornhinweg is his lack of experience:

The thing that's tough on a kid in his situation is just experience. You hope you never really have to play with a redshirt freshman. Nothing against him because he's a smart kid, he works hard.

But in a developmental situation, you hope that you get into your sophomore and junior year before you're in that situation, whether you're competing for the job or in a backup role ready to play.

That inexperience might be even more glaring when the redshirt freshman stares into the face of Jadeveon Clowney and the staunch South Carolina defensive front.

The Gamecocks are tied for seventh in the SEC with 18 sacks on the year, averaging two per game. USC has logged at least one sack in each game, and that will likely continue against a quarterback making his first start in a tough environment in Williams-Brice Stadium.

If Mornhinweg does make his first start this weekend as expected, he'll do so under the lights in Columbia at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.