A Positive Difference in 2012: QB Play

Here is a multi-part series on just how and why the Florida team will be better in 2012 than it was in 2011. There are several reasons why this WILL be the case and we will outline them in somewhat of a comprehensive breakdown given what we know these particular situations. We will start with the quarterback position, a spot that will be as contested as any time in recent memory.

Senior John Brantley has moved on and did what he could as a Gator. His time at Florida probably wasn't fair to him, but he leaves with a chance for the NFL and a college degree. Behind him are two capable and talented sophomores and a third that is somewhat of a wild card. Regardless of how much experience is lost, the quarterback position will be better coached and play better in 2012.

Whatever we saw from the quarterback position a year ago should be wiped from the memory banks of Gator fans as we head into the 2012 season. Gone is an offensive coordinator that worried more about calling the right play during a game than preparing his signal callers to play in the game for the week leading up to each contest.

In comes Brent Pease, who has a history of making non-NFL talent quarterbacks and receivers look like they should be playing on Sundays.

As Florida head coach Will Muschamp put it in a recent speaking engagement in Jacksonville, when he talked about adding Pease, offensive line coach Tim Davis, and strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, "There is no question with the three openings on our staff. I think we improved our staff. I think we improved ourselves in three critical areas and any time you have an opening you have to do that."

The fact is the quarterbacks didn't get coached up during the week with an ailing offensive coordinator who likely didn't want to be here. The backups got very very few snaps all week and when forced to take the field, had no idea what they were doing.

Driskel should be more poised in 2011 That will not happen under Pease's leadership. And, Muschamp thinks he has two very viable candidates to be strong players in the toughest conference in college football.

"We have two quarterbacks we can win with in Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel," Muschamp said. "Both guys are athletic, smart, and have the intangibles to be successful."

Maybe one of the best things about the duo is that no winner for the starting spot has to be determined. As a matter of fact, if you conducted a poll of players and coaches that watched all of spring practice, it would probably be pretty even who the leader is going into the club house this summer. Even better, most will tell you that both guys played very well.

Muschamp said he likes that there will be competition.

"We are going to let that thing run till August until we are ready to make a decision," he said. "Their competition this summer will make them better players and help us have a better football team on the offensive side of the ball. They are both being held accountable to run our football team this summer. It is their job as players to take ownership of the football team and get that right."

Muschamp also said that if he has to, both guys will play.

"I would love to declare a starter, but we have to do what it takes to do to win games," he said. "If we have to make a package for one or the other, we will."

Brissett should get more tutelege.

New starters at quarterback in a somewhat new offense isn't exactly the formula for success, but the fact that a coordinator will be there to make sure the starter is ready and the backup is also ready is already a huge step in the right direction from the path the offense was on a year ago.

Expect a short and quick passing game with a more inside running attack to keep defensive ends from feeding on a quarterback that won't be sitting in the pocket nearly as long or as often as a year ago when finally called on to pass the ball.

In the end, this isn't about a particular quarterback that has taken the reigns and going to come out and rule the world. This is about a total new situation on offense where the quarterbacks are going to be given better direction to lead a Florida offense on the field. The talent is there and likely the best one will step up, and at the same time, the next guy should be ready too.

Imagine that.

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