Gators Head to Bye Week With QB Questions

The Gators start the bye week with an added question at quarterback. Head coach Will Muschamp said Monday afternoon that senior quarterback John Brantley could be healthy enough to start when Florida faces Georgia on October 29. Brantley will be held out of practice this week, allowing the two freshmen to split reps again, but the senior could return to practice next Monday.

The training staff will monitor Brantley's progression throughout the week. Muschamp said that running straight ahead isn't an issue, but he is limited in lateral movement. If he is unable to go, the offensive staff would again have a decision to make between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel. The freshmen will split reps evenly this week at practice.

With Brantley out in the past two weeks, the results haven't been pretty. The Gators have scored just 17 points since Brantley's injury during the Alabama game.

However, Muschamp is optimistic about the futures of the two freshmen. Their leadership on the sidelines and in the huddle has already caught his attention.

"I think they both have natural leadership ability because of their presence," Muschamp said. "They are both competitive, very well-liked on the team, and very well-respected on the team for freshmen, which is hard. It's hard at that age to have the command and the respect and the presence, and I think both of those guys have that. They have the "it" factor, in my opinion. They have a lot of the intangibles that you look for at that position. They're certainly guys that I'm very pleased with, and I think the future is bright as far as those two young men are concerned."

If Brantley can't play, it would be possible that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis uses Brissett and Driskel in the game together, just like Florida did at Auburn.

"We'll make that decision as we move forward next week," Muschamp said. "Both guys did some very good things. We're going to do what it takes to win football games, and if it means playing both guys, we'll play both guys. If one guy gets the hot hand and we go with it, we'll run with it. That's where we are at this point."

Don't expect the two-quarterback strategy to be in place for the future of the Florida offense. Muschamp insisted that it is being used only because it currently gives the Gators the best chance to win. In the future, when both quarterbacks have been in the program longer, that won't be the case.

"I wouldn't necessarily want that to happen," Muschamp said. "That's something that we have to manage, and there are no better hands to manage it than Charlie Weis. You look at the development of young quarterbacks and guys that have had great success with him, and he knows what he is doing as far as teaching the fundamentals and development of the game. We're going to cross that bridge when we come to it.

INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Jeremy Brown will try to practice this week after his knee has responded positively.

Muschamp also said that Ronald Powell, Jeff Demps, Caleb Sturgis, Dan Wenger, Mike Gillislee and Andre Debose should practice this week after being injured in the past week. All are expected to be healthy for the game against Georgia.

"We are a banged up football team," Muschamp said.

MUSCHAMP APOLOGIZES: The head coach's antics on the sidelines drew headlines all over the country. When the referees didn't throw a flag after an Auburn defender came close to Chris Rainey, who was trying to catch a punt, Muschamp lost it.

"I do want to apologize for my language on the sidelines the other night," he said Monday. "That is not something that is going to be tolerated here at the University of Florida, first of all by myself, and our program. That is certainly not representative of our program and what this University is about."

He later reiterated that the only part he would apologize for was the language. Muschamp said soon after taking the job at Florida that he didn't plan on changing his personality on the sidelines. He has always been a fiery coach as a defensive coordinator, and that hasn't changed since becoming a head coach.

The emphasis of his apology was only on the language.

"It's hard when you have a six and 10-year old at home and you have to explain what you said – that's not good, and that's not how we're going to run our program," Muschamp said. "As far as the sideline stuff is concerned, we're just going to be who we are. I'm just going to apologize for my language and nothing else. It's something that we're going to correct."

CONSISTENCY NEEDED AT RECEIVER: While the Gators search for a quarterback, they're also looking for a playmaker at wide receiver. With a banged up, ineffective offensive line, a running game that has turned non-existent and no wide receivers getting open, it's a nightmare situation for two freshman quarterbacks to attempt taking over.

Muschamp admitted that the wide receiver position has been frustrating, most notably because they have seen "flashes of positive things" from Quinton Dunbar, Deonte Thompson, Frankie Hammond and Andre Debose.

"It just has to be the consistency in performance," Muschamp said. "That is where we're lacking a little bit. From an offensive standpoint, you want to put your playmakers on the field. We felt comfortable about our tight end position being a position that we could make some plays from. Our running back position, having two or three of them on the field has been our most productive set as far as what we've done in the last few weeks. We need more production and more threats from the wide out position to take positive steps from there. "

CHRISTY WILL REMAIN PUNTER: Kyle Christy took over as the punter after a solid week of practice before the Gators traveled to Auburn. Muschamp expects him to keep that job going into the Georgia game.

"From a leg-strength standpoint, he's the guy. He has his operation time down and he's able to kick. Obviously, he flipped the field and it was a big difference in the game and for our team. That is not necessarily something that we've done very well throughout the season to this point."

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