The competition to earn the starting quarterback job for the Florida Gators is alive and well, according to head coach Will Muschamp, who explained on Wednesday that sophomore Jeff Driskel has a contusion on the scapula of his left, non-throwing shoulder, which he does not consider to be a significant injury.
In fact, Muschamp said that Driskel, after sitting out practice on Monday and Tuesday due to shoulder soreness, was back in action Wednesday. He will, however, be wearing a non-contact jersey for a week in order to ensure that the injury heals fully.
“Sunday night Jeff got a pop on his shoulder; it was no big deal, thought it was a bruise. We all get bruised when you’re in camp and you play football. Iced it Sunday night, it was no big deal,” he said.
“He’s going to practice [Wednesday]. He’s out of contact for a week. Period. End of sentence. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know how some of these things get caught like wildfire and travel. But that’s it.
“The competition is ongoing. It hasn’t affected anything we’re trying to do or how we’re trying to prepare our football team.”
After The Gainesville Sun reported that Driskel had suffered “significant” shoulder injury during practice on Tuesday, USA Today‘s Rachel George spoke with Driskel’s mother, who confirmed that her son was indeed injured but noted that it actually occurred on Sunday and was relatively minor in nature.
Mary Driskel told USA TODAY Sports her son told her he injured his left, non-throwing shoulder in drills on Sunday and woke up sore on Monday.
She said Driskel did not practice on Monday or Tuesday but is expected to return on Wednesday.
Florida confirmed in a brief statement that Driskel would be “taking reps at practice Wednesday” but did not provide any additional information until Wednesday when Muschamp spoke with the media prior to a scheduled players-only media availability.
It is currently unknown how Driskel got injured during practice; however, Muschamp mentioned on Monday that the coaching staff decided to remove the red non-contact practice jerseys from the quarterbacks beginning on Sunday in order to help them get more comfortable taking “thuds” in live action.
“We went to a tempo [Sunday] where we thud a little bit on them, made them a little live,” he said. “We didn’t take them to the ground, but I think it’s important for them to feel the presence of the pocket. [...] For those guys, we need to thud and hit them a little bit, so we took the red [practice jerseys] off after Saturday, started that [Sunday].”
Muschamp has since placed the red jerseys back on both players (at least temporarily), noting Wednesday that he does not regret making that decision.
“That’s football. It’s football. Everybody is sore right now. Everybody is sore. It’s camp. That’s part of the deal. It’s part of working through it,” he said.
With the Gators’ season opener against Bowling Green just 17 days away on Sept. 1, the quarterback competition between Driskel and fellow sophomore signal caller Jacoby Brissett will be drawing to a close sooner than later. Muschamp said Driskel’s minor injury has not and will not affect his opportunity to win that job.
Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press