Driskel to Start at Texas A&M

Florida coach Will Muschamp met with both quarterbacks on Monday morning to inform them that Jeff Driskel would be under center when the Gators open Saturday's game at Texas A&M. Driskel played all but the second quarter in the season-opening win over Bowling Green, but he'll have the whole game to himself in College Station when the Gators open SEC play.

"It will be Jeff's game to play," Will Muschamp said on Monday morning. "I told Jeff, "I don't want you looking over your shoulder, but you need to play well." We know that Jacoby is capable of playing very well for us. We've got confidence in both guys and can win with both guys. Both of them handled it professionally."

Muschamp wasn't shy to admit that Driskel's running ability played a part in the decision. The Florida offense was able to move the pocket and use his athleticism on play action bootlegs against Bowling Green. If there isn't an open receiver, Driskel is a much better threat to tuck the ball and create something on the ground.

"I certainly think it played a big part in that," Muschamp said. "The quarterback run game creates issues for a defense. In the development of our offense, that's certainly something that's going to benefit us."

After meeting with Muschamp on Monday morning, Driskel didn't have time to place any phone calls or text messages to family or friends. He left the meeting room and went directly to work out. He joked that his family members likely found out about the decision from following reporters on Twitter.

"It has been a lifelong dream to be the quarterback at a university like this," said Driskel, who went 10-for-16 for 114 yards and one touchdown on Saturday. "It's a big achievement. I'm excited to take command of the offense and tone in on what I've got to do to be ready to win at Texas A&M."

The emphasis of Muschamp's meeting with Driskel was for the sophomore to not be concerned about his job. The Florida staff agreed that he should be the starting quarterback, and there wasn't a need for him to continue looking over his shoulder at backup Jacoby Brissett. If Driskel played well and led the team, it would be his job to keep.

The downfall for both quarterbacks is experience. Brissett and Driskel each saw action during the 2011 season when John Brantley was hurt, but it was tough to judge their freshman seasons. The coaches started to judge how both quarterbacks performed in spring practice, fall camp and then on Saturday.

The only issue is that there wasn't much to judge from Saturday, and Muschamp took responsibility for that.

"The negatives for both of them is experience," Muschamp said. "They don't have the number of snaps under their belt. That's partly my fault for splitting reps. We needed to move forward and name a starter. We needed to get the turns, reps and snaps as we move forward."

The back-and-forth between quarterbacks didn't hurt Driskel last year. Brissett was officially named the backup quarterback after the loss at Auburn last season, but after some initial depressing moments, Driskel pushed through and went back to work.

Transferring was never a thought.

"It never crossed my mind," Jeff Driskel said. "I wanted to be a Gator."

Now he gets to live out his dream. Driskel originally committed to run Urban Meyer's spread offense, but he stayed loyal to Florida when Muschamp was hired. He'll be rewarded for that on Saturday.

INJURY REPORT: Florida will be without offensive tackle Matt Patchan (strained pectoral) again this weekend. Muschamp said he is hoping Patchan can return at Tennessee on September 15, but he is "not sure about that." He's now trying to make sure Patchan stays positive.

"I know he's doing everything he can to get back," Muschamp said. "His rehab is going well. He's further along that we thought. We originally thought four weeks but now we're pushing that back.

"I know Matt's frustrated, and I'm frustrated for him. He worked extremely hard and had a great offseason. We're hoping it's not that much longer. We need him back."

Florida long snapper Drew Ferris (broken collarbone) was lost in Saturday's win over Bowling Green and will be out this weekend. Redshirt freshman Kyle Crofoot will take over the long snapping duties this weekend.

Dominique Easley went down on Saturday and was holding his left knee after going through offseason surgery to repair his left ACL. Muschamp and Easley both said on Monday that it wasn't serious and that he is okay.


Fightin Gators Top Stories