"Great to have Jeff Driskel back at practice last night," Will Muschamp said. "We planned for a one-minute situation to start practice. He took the offense down and hit a game-winning field goal. He was very accurate with the ball, felt very comfortable in there. For me, standing behind the offense, he had great command in what we were doing and directing traffic with our offensive football team. Really pleased to get him back on the field."
The negative news continues to build. Friday was Muschamp's first time speaking to the media since it was announced that Andre Debose tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2013 season. Debose and Muschamp spoke after the injury about a possible return for a sixth year, but that hasn't been decided with any certainty.
The optimism around Debose was building through the first few days of camp. He went through all 15 practices in the spring for the first time during his Florida career and gave the coaches reasons to believe his final season would be a breakout one. Debose took a handoff on a reverse in practice and the ligament tore when he tried to make a cut.
"He had attention to detail, doing the things you've got to do to be a good football player," Muschamp said. "He had five really good days (of preseason practice). I'm so disappointed for him -- where he was and where had come from in our time here. Some guys mature earlier or later for whatever reason and I felt like he had certainly turned the corner. He's very, extremely disappointed. Extremely disappointed."
The second ACL tear happened on Wednesday night at practice when freshman linebacker Matt Rolin tore the same ACL for the second time in 10 months. The original injury occurred during November of his senior year in high school, but he enrolled early at Florida and worked hard to be ready to play this fall.
The injury will keep that from happening, but he is expected to return as a redshirt freshman for the 2014 season. The coaching staff has high expectations for Rolin.
"He's a guy that was making tremendous progress for us and a guy that was going to play for us this year," Muschamp said. "He was going to be on special teams and be a backup SAM linebacker.
"He's still got a tremendous future at the University of Florida and will be a really good football player. He's physical, he's tough, he's smart."
Running back Matt Jones isn't back on the practice field after fighting a viral infection. The Gators should have a better idea early next week on when he will return to practice, but Jones is running and exercising now.
Offensive lineman Jon Halapio (partial pec tear) will meet with doctors on Friday. Offensive lineman Max Garcia (back) is cleared for individual work and has been doing that at practice, but the trainers want to keep him out of contact drills. Garcia could be cleared for that on Monday.
Offensive lineman Trip Thurman (shoulder) will be cleared on August 12.
The new injuries that were announced on Friday aren't expected to be serious. Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs has a sprained knee from a non-contact drill that is expected to keep him out for 10 days.
Defensive back Jaylen Watkins sprained his foot in a non-contact drill and is expected to return August 19.
Freshman offensive lineman Rod Johnson had a meniscus injury from high school that started to flare up during his first week of practice. After taking it easy with Johnson, the staff decided for him to have surgery on Friday. He should return to practice in three or four weeks.
MORRISON UPDATE: Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison returned to team activities on Thursday, going through team meetings and practice. The one-week period where he wasn't allowed to practice was part of his punishment from the coaching staff.There's still a chance Morrison's two-game suspension could be reduced, but Muschamp isn't cleared about what goes into that decision or when it could be decided.
"I'm still working through that," Muschamp said about a possible suspension reduction. "He's still going through some things for me right now. We're working through that at this point."