Unless something drastically changes with his recovery when he is reevaluated on Wednesday, sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel will be on the bench for the Florida Gators on Saturday against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. In his place will be classmate Jacoby Brissett, who may have lost the quarterback competition at the start of the season but was apparently never far behind.
“Of course it’s hard because mentally you built yourself up, even as a young kid, to be the starter and play,” said offensive coordinator Brent Pease on Tuesday. “I’ve said this every week: Jacoby’s handled it professionally; he’s handled it like he’s mature about the situation. I’m sure he didn’t like it. I wouldn’t want him to like it.
“He’s been admirable about what he’s done. It shows because, to step in a situation like that to have to make some plays as opposed to taking reps to end the game, it shows he’s prepared every week. He’s prepped himself and he’s been ready for that situation rather than a full game situation. Now he’s got an opportunity for a full game situation.”
Driskel, who is currently in a boot and using crutches in order to keep pressure off his sprained ankle and aid the healing process, may very well return in two weeks against Florida State. For now, it is Brissett getting almost all of the work in practice in preparation for Saturday’s game (redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy is the temporary second-string signal caller).
And that means Brissett will have the chance to do what he wanted to do all offseason long, lead the Gators’ offense and prove that he deserves to be the starter.
“Jacoby’s got a great opportunity. What he does to improve us and do a good job for himself as well as his teammates, hey, it’s his stage for this game. Step up and do what you’ve got to do. Your number is called. Go carry the flag,” Pease said.
“I’m so proud of the kid to step in, in a tough situation, and make the plays he did when he did [last Saturday]. … He’s made the plays in practice, too. It’s not like they’re new plays and he hasn’t done them. He made the plays that he’s made in practice. The same play he hit Jordan [Reed] on, he’s hit Jordan on before, he’s hit “Frankie [Hammond] on before, he’s hit [Quinton] Dunbar on before.
“It all kind of just fits into a practice system. We’ll see. He obviously puts things out there that we will try to do things that benefit him a little bit more in a game plan. Yet he’s still going to have to do some things that are our base offense to execute.”
After a surprisingly rough showing for the offense against Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida is looking to get things going against Jacksonville State. Whether Driskel is out one week or misses significant time is no matter at this point, Brissett’s focus must be on making the most out of his latest opportunity.