Driskel expected healthy for spring

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is expected to be healthy and able to practice when the Gators hit the field for spring practice in March. Florida coach Will Muschamp went through a laundry list of injuries on Monday afternoon, but the redshirt junior quarterback's name was missing. He continues to show progress in rehab and will be quarterbacking the Gators when practice starts.

The start of spring practice on March 19 is about 10 days later than when Muschamp usually does it and would prefer for it to happen. However, the health of his quarterback is more important. The date was moved back to March 19 to ensure that Jeff Driskel is healthy when the Gators hit the practice field.

"His rehab is coming very well," Will Muschamp said.

Even missing a few practices early in spring would be harmful for Driskel. The Gators only have 15 spring practices to install and learn the new up-tempo offense they will run under first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

Roper hesitated to name a starter on Monday in his first press conference since taking the job at Florida and said he would like to make those decisions once the Gators get on the practice field.

"We're going to watch guys, see where to start them and then develop my opinions through spring practice," Roper said. "I want to develop my opinions through meetings with guys who are handling things on and off the field the right way, with accountability and those type of things. I don't want to develop opinions sitting and getting somebody else's thought on a guy or watching tape and not knowing exactly what the thought process is on a guy.

"We'll watch some tape and get some ideas where we want to start guys and then I want to develop those opinions on the grass."

Roper was early in his time at Duke when Driskel was starting to become a highly-thought of recruit. Early in the process and before most schools, Roper identified Driskel as a player he wanted to recruit and bring to Duke. Bigger schools came into the picture to keep it from happening, but Roper is familiar with Driskel's high school time.

He hasn't watched a lot of film on the Florida offense since showing up in Gainesville as the staff focuses on recruiting, but Roper remembers popping in Driskel's high school tape and seeing what he could do.

"I thought he was an outstanding talent," Roper said. "The thing that you see is that he's a big guy that can move and the ball comes out of his hand well. From there, I'm looking forward to developing a relationship with him in all facets of this position and we'll learn a little bit more in the spring."

INJURY REPORT: The news for Florida wasn't all good. Running back Matt Jones will miss all of spring. His injury was originally announced as a meniscus tear after Florida's game against LSU on October 12, but Muschamp said on Monday that it was a radial tear, meaning the meniscus was completely split in half. The rehabilitation time for those injuries take longer, according to Muschamp.

"We feel like he'll be ready to go for summer workouts," Muschamp said.

Receiver and kick returner Andre Debose will be non-contact for spring and continues to do well in his rehab from an ACL tear last year in fall camp. Offensive lineman Tyler Moore is scheduled for another X-ray in two-to-three weeks on his elbow that will tell doctors when he'll be able to handle contact.

The linebacker depth will take a hit in the spring. Redshirt freshman Matt Rolin will miss spring as he continues to rehab his torn ACL from last fall. Redshirt sophomore Jeremi Powell will also be out for spring after tearing his ACL at Missouri last season. Sophomore Alex Anzalone will miss the spring with a shoulder injury.

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson will miss the spring with a "chronic shoulder" injury that needed surgery.

"We'll know more about his future in the coming weeks," Muschamp said.


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