Weis Preparing Both QBs to Start

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis decided to split reps at quarterback the first two days of practice this week. As the Gators prepare for another road test at Auburn this weekend, cycling between two freshmen quarterback isn't the ideal situation. Weis has used it as a learning opportunity and will prepare both freshmen as if they will start.

"We've given a lot of reps to predominantly Jacoby and Jeff so far," Charlie Weis said. "They've both gotten enough reps to where either one would be ready to play in the game."

Weis said Driskel's ankle isn't limiting him in practice, and that he wouldn't be getting the reps so far if it were an issue. Because no starter has been named yet, Weis has drawn up a game plan that will work for either quarterback.

Weis also wouldn't rule out the chance that both quarterbacks play on Saturday.

"There are a lot of similarities," Weis said. "Jacoby would be the first one to admit to you that Jeff is faster than him. That's not one thing young quarterbacks like to admit. They're both young, strong, physical guys. They're sharp mentally with a very high ceiling. Both of these guys have room to improve and be very, very good players."

If Brissett gets the nod for his second consecutive start, Weis feels confident after watching his first start against LSU. The statistics weren't eye opening, but they earned him a chance to fight for the job again this week. Part of the reason that the statistics weren't overly impressive is that Weis chose to dial down the playbook.

Brissett was already starting his first collegiate game in one of the toughest environments in America, so Weis didn't want to set him up to fail.

"I chose the conservative route to not hang him out to dry," Weis said. "As the game got away from us, I had to open it up more. I thought he showed very good poise for the first time on the road and hadn't played yet. "

Weis said that the experience Brissett got is "invaluable" and a "difference maker" for the future of Brissett's career at Florida.

Despite the situation, Brissett's poise caught the offensive coordinator's eye. That's what Weis was so impressed with when recruiting Brissett. The Gators got involved in his recruitment soon after Weis took the job at Florida, and he went so hard after Brissett because of much more than talent.

Weis saw a leader. He saw a player that players were drawn to, and it actually started on the basketball court.

"One of the things that I liked the most besides watching him on tape was actually watching him play basketball," Weis said. "I watched his (Dwyer High School) basketball team, which was really good. I watched him on the basketball team and his presence and command when he was playing. It's so much easier to watch a guy physically doing it. Presence is something you can't watch on tape. You can watch production, but you can't watch presence."

Despite Brissett passing the tests of the coaching staff against LSU, the Gators have still combined to score just 21 points in the last two weeks. Head coach Will Muschamp said that's reason to change things up, and Weis knows just what he will do to make that happen.

"What we have to do is be more aggressive," Weis said. "You're in that Catch-22 when you deal with inexperience at the quarterback position, but we will be more aggressive."

Another change could be the inclusion of Mike Gillislee. While Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps have struggled to bring an interior running game against LSU and Alabama, Weis is ready to give Gillislee an increase in carries this week at Auburn.

"He likes to run (inside)," Weis said. "Most running backs can't get to the outside fast enough, but he likes contact. Most running backs don't like contact. They'd prefer not to get hit. Getting hit is part of his game.

"If he has a chance to make somebody miss and try to dance or run through somebody, he's one of those guys who will choose to try to run them over. He plays way bigger than his size."

Weis said Gillislee would get on the field more this week, but not just because of what he has done on the field. He has paid his dues outside of the lines. Despite having limited carries in the first two seasons of his career, Gillislee didn't complain and worked hard in practice to earn them.

"The one thing I said to the offense is that he's the perfect example of a team guy," Weis said. "Most of these guys have these delusions of grandeur that they're the best on the team. You come in and now all of a sudden, (Gillislee) has Demps and Rainey ahead of him and playing really well. You're waiting in the wings, playing hard in practice, never opening your mouth and just going hard every single snap you get.

"All of a sudden, you get in there to get more reps and you produce. He's a lesson for a lot of the guys who are backups to see what happens if you're prepared and they call your number, then you produce."

Offensive tackle Matt Patchan has also been on the field more in the past two games, including a start at left tackle against LSU over Xavier Nixon.

"He has played with a lot of physicality," Weis said. "That's what has gotten him more time. Matt is a physical player, but when he knows what he's doing and can turn it lose, he can be a dominant, physical presence. That's what he has shown to earn more playing time."

The coaching staff knows that the biggest issue in the past two weeks has been at the line of scrimmage. The depth is an issue on both lines, but Weis doesn't think it's a size issue on the offensive line.

"It depends who you're playing," Weis said. "If you look at our offensive line against LSU, no we weren't undersized. It depends on the opponent and how big they are vs. how big you are. I've been with offensive lines that averaged 280 (pounds), and I've been with offensive lines where everyone averaged 315, and I've won with both of them. Size isn't always the factor."

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