Spring Forward: The Quarterbacks

If there is anything more important to the success of the Florida football program under the direction of Will Muschamp than the success of the quarterback position in 2014, I can't tell you what it is. It all starts with junior Jeff Driskel, his recovery from surgery, and most importantly how he takes to a new offense that should suit his skill set.

When Florida opens practice on Wednesday for fans and media, all eyes will be on junior quarterback Jeff Driskel. The athletic quarterback that also possesses a golden arm came to Florida as the top high school quarterback in the country, but hasn't quite lived up to that billing.

At the crux of the issues has been Driskel's ability to identify defenses and be able to throw to the correct receiver according to the defense that is in front of him. He's played in 20 games as a Gator, starting 15 of those. He's totaled 2,271 yards for 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

In Florida's new offense, Driskel will be asked to do less mentally after the snap and most everything before the snap of the ball. He will be asked to run the ball quite a bit more, which is a huge strength of his. He has a career 459 yards rushing with a 6.9 yards per carry average.

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The leg is completely healed, so that should not be an issue this spring. Now it is about getting on the same page as new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and finding out what he wants in identifying defenses pre-snap and running a play accordingly. This spring is huge for Driskel and the success of the offense for 2014.

Sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg was thrown to the wolves late in the season after Driskel and backup quarterback Tyler Murphy also went down to injury. Mornhinweg wasn't ready either physically or mentally to handle the kind of pressure from playing for the Gators or playing the type of teams the Gators were facing at the end of the year last year.

In 2013 Mornhinweg started three games, completed 44 passes for three touchdowns and an interception. He has a lot to do mechanically and strength wise in order to be a real part of things to come.

Another big name for the spring is freshman quarterback Will Grier. The Parade Magazine Player of the Year, Grier will be asked to prepare himself for the season like he is going to play a lot, whether that happens or not.

Grier has all the throws you want from a quarterback, a red-shirt year would be nice so he can add some strength, but that just may not be possible. Still, he is athletic and can also run the ball, so this offense should be very well suited for him as well.


With a new coordinator, I guess you never know if a new guy can come in and win the job out right, but that isn't expected to happen right now. However, the son of a high school coach is expected to catch on quickly.

The Bottom Line : This spring has to go well for Driskel and Grier. The Muschamp era depends on the success. WE out a lot of stock on a few bad decisions Driskel made in the Miami and Tennessee games a year ago without knowing what might have happened had he not been injured and played the rest of the year.

The best thing going on here is the change in system that seems to fit Driskel and even Grier and their skill sets very well. In terms of Driskel, allowing him to use his legs to make plays seems like a must. We have seen the success he has had running the ball. For Grier, a wide open attack seems suited for his background as an air it out quarterback.

This spring should be fun watching the signal callers.

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