The Florida Gators lost starting quarterback John Brantley for at least this game when he went down with a lower leg injury Saturday against Alabama. His replacement, freshman Jeff Driskel, , who really didn't have much meaningful time under center before that game, came away from the game gimpy which leads someone to believe he won't be able to take much this week against an LSU team that will be smelling blood.
Third string freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy has only gotten very few snaps and in total mop up duty so far. The last listed quarterback on the roster is true freshman Jacoby Brissett and he hasn't taken a single college snap and was in line to redshirt. That has been thrown out the door now and he was thrown full fledge into the mix to play and even start this week. He won't redshirt, that is all but guaranteed.
Of course it really doesn't stop there. Florida will come in knowing it has to keep things close to the vest and will have to run the ball a great deal not allowing for mistakes that come from errant throws by quarterbacks that are not ready for such a big stage against an opponent that thrives on turnovers like the LSU Tigers do. So you can add Trey Burton and Jordan Reed as possibilities to take snaps behind center Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.
We all know what Burton and Reed can do. Late last season in an offense that could not protect for a quarterback like Brantley that was not good at running the ball, Reed and Burton were asked a lot of the spread option offense that Urban Meyer first brought to Florida, minus a lot of the throwing that comes with it. They certainly showed their athleticism at times, but it wasn't enough on its own and without a real pass threat to really move some of the SEC's best defenses.
However, the two at minimum would offer up a terrific change of pace to any of the three guys that are listed as quarterbacks on the roster. We have already seen burton do it a little bit and we heard Florida head coach Will Muschamp talk about Reed playing a little of that ‘Wildcat' position in the spring. It is certainly something they could turn to if they had to and this seems like one of those times they may have to. I expect to see a lot of it on Saturday by Burton or Reed.
Now, we go back to the gun slingers. Driskel would be the most likely to take most of the snaps but questions still abound about his health and if he is even capable of lasting a complete game. If he is healthy enough to do so I expect him to do it regardless of what he has accomplished so far this season. The staff made him the top back for a reason this year and they have stuck with him.
If Driskel can't go for a while the common theme so far has been Brissett. The 6-4 240 monster sized Brissett is more of your traditional drop back passer than Driskel, but his athletic ability cannot be denied as he was a terrific high school basketball player and one worthy of high division one offers in the sport. Brissett has a gun for an arm and may have really been in the race for that number two spot if he had enrolled early for school like Driskel did.
Then there is Murphy. He is the dark horse. Charlie Weis has talked about him and that he may be the most mature of the guys available and that may very well be what they need Saturday. Murphy is really a big unknown. It is doubtful he has the arm of a Brissett or a Driskel, he likely doesn't run like a Reed or Burton, but he very well could be the best mix of the group and he has the maturity thing to add to it.
There really are a lot of possibilities, but the likelihood of using all of them are slim and none. It is more likely they have limited the number of options they want to use, outside of further injury, and will pick between two or three and I believe they will certainly use a mixture of drop back quarterback and ‘Wildcat' style quarterback on Saturday.