Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke on Monday about the team’s weekend scrimmage while also previewing the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
QUARTERBACK COMPETITION RAMPING UP BUT STILL EVEN
Though the team has participated in one-and-a-half scrimmages (Saturday’s was cut short at approximately 35 snaps due to lightning), sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel remain in a dead heat for the starting job.
“Not much separation. Both guys have done some nice things for us. For the few snaps we got in the scrimmage we did a nice job of managing our offense,” Muschamp said on Monday. “They’ve done a really nice job as far as procedural issues, getting in and out of the huddle. We do motions and shifts quite a bit and both of those guys are doing a really nice job of that.”
No matter what happens at the spring game on Saturday, Muschamp does not expect there to be any further clarity in who will start the first game of the season. He said it is “not going to be D-Day” for the players because one good practice will just be intertwined to the other 14 days of competing.
“I don’t know that we will name a starter after spring. We will go into the fall camp [without one]. That to me is becoming more and more evident every day that both guys are guys we can win with. Bottom line. That’s good for us. But both guys are competing at a high level, in my opinion, and they both have done outstanding things throughout spring,” he said. “I’m very pleased with their progress as much as anything in just managing our football team and getting in and out of the huddle and taking a command of the offense. Both of them are working extremely hard off the field. They’re always in the building watching film and doing the things you got to do to be successful. [...]
“The game slows down for older players because they’re able to see and anticipate. Even though we’ve changed some things from a verbiage standpoint, terminology, the game is slowing down for them.”
A MIXED BAG ON SPECIAL TEAMS
Muschamp was quite honest on Monday about the way his special teams unit performed in 2011: “We were really good in all categories, but we were not good in returning punts.” Therefore, Florida is working six players out as punt returners and eight as kick returners in order to get some added production from that unit.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose is the team’s best returning threat (showcasing his ability as a kick returner last year) and has improved his hands from a year ago making him a legitimate option on the punting unit as well. He is getting plenty of competition there, however, from sophomore defensive backs Louchiez Purifoy, De’Ante Saunders and Marcus Roberson, redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and even junior running back Trey Burton. That same group along with redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines and junior DB Cody Riggs is returning kickoffs as well.
Muschamp is also hoping to see sophomore punter Kyle Christy improve his performance from a year ago. He said Christy “really punted the ball well” on Wednesday and continues to progress though he most show that he can be more consistent. “He’s got the leg. He’s got the tools. He’s got the talent. It’s a matter of doing it all the time,” he said. “As Kyle continued to improve that consistency, that’s’ what enabled him to get the job [in the middle of 2011].”
WORK ETHIC AND MOTIVATION ARE IMPROVING