FOUR BITS: Brissett, Johnson, HS All-Americans

By Adam Silverstein
January 4, 2013

1 » Will quarterback Jacoby Brissett be spending his junior season with the Florida Gators? That is one of many unanswered questions lingering in the wake of Florida’s 33-23 loss to Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl on Tuesday. Brissett addressed his future after the game when questioned by the Palm Beach Post. “I haven’t decided yet,” he said. “It depends on how I feel when I get back to Gainesville and have a talk with Coach [Will] Muschamp. You grow relationships for two years with some of these people you’re around every day, and it’s hard to leave them. It depends on how I feel.” With sophomore Jeff Driskel entranced as the Gators’ starter, Brissett would likely be returning in a back-up role. He has yet to use a redshirt season and Driskel is an unlikely candidate to leave as a junior meaning Brissett, should he stay, would run the risk of either never being a full-time starter or doing so for just one year elsewhere if he transferred following the 2013 season. Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels said last week that he has suggested that Brissett leave even though he thinks he will stay for at least one more year.

2 » The Post also caught up with Florida sophomore running back Chris Johnson after the game and asked him how he felt about being ejected from the game after he threw a punch following the team’s onside kick attempt to start the second half. “Bad discipline on my part, but you learn from your mistakes and move on,” he said. “It was frustration. The guy was riding me a little bit. If I could do it differently, I’d walk away from it. It sucks. In my mind, I feel like I cost us the Sugar Bowl.” Johnson’s personal foul was one of two on the play, and the Cardinals started at the Gators’ 19-yard line as a result. One play later, Louisville took a 30-10 lead and all but put the game away.

[EXPAND CLICK TO EXPAND and read two more BITS in this post.]3 » Seven of Florida’s 2013 commitments will compete in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN). Four-star wide receiver Alvin Bailey (Seffner, FL), five-star defensive back Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, FL), four-star DB Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL), three-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL), four-star DB Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL) and four-star RB Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) will play for the black team, while four-star linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA) suit up for the white team. The Gators also have three targets in the game with four-star defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, FL), four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, FL) and four-star DE Elijah Daniel (Avon, IN) suiting up for the black team. Walker, an early enrollee, is reportedly set to visit UF following the game and may flip from his commitment to Alabama.

4 » The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set to air live on NBC on Saturday at 1 p.m., features four Florida commitments as four-star WR Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL), four-star LB Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL), four-star DE Jordan Sherit (Tampa, FL) and four-star DB Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL) are members of the East Team. The Gators also have a number of targets in the game including four-star WR Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, GA), who plans to enroll early at the school of his choice on Monday.[/EXPAND]


  1. gatorboi352 says:

    It will be a sad day if they don’t reevaluate the QB position in the spring and re-open it back up for competition. I’m not saying Brissett is the answer (our next great QB may not even be one of these two guys) but to deem Jeff the starter already for next year after the extremely inconsistent and somewhat underwhelming year he had (plus the Sugar Bowl stinker with a month to prepare), is just a short sighted decision on the coaches part.

    The O line is supposed to be a true strength of the team next year. I don’t think we need a run first, can’t read thru progressions type QB back there any more. Give the other guys an equal shake at the job.

    • He helped the team go 11-2 without a single receiver.

      • gatorboi352 says:

        Make no mistake about it, the defense led us to 11-2. Well, really 11-1 because the GA loss was squarely on Jeff’s shoulders. Everyone knocks the lack of receivers, but New England hasn’t had any receivers since Randy Moss and they’re doing just fine. Look, calm down and don’t reply just yet that this isn’t the NFL…. the point is, saying we lacked at the receiver position is not a solid argument. Jeff and the center are the only two positions on the entire field that touch the ball every single play. Had Jeff not gotten injured against ULL, you’d be saying he led us to 10-3 with no receivers because Jeff wasn’t going to win us that game.

        Also, last I checked Jordan Reed is a very good receiver/Tight End.

        TL;DR version: ya gotta counter point better than that, Adam. Dumping it all on the WRs is a cop out.

        • Yeah, New England doesn’t have Welker, Gronk, Hernandez not to mention a standard veteran receiver in there somewhere like Branch who can be counted on to make a catch if needed.

          Watch your tone, by the way.

          • gatorboi352 says:

            Come on dude a tone warning, seriously? You have other commentors calling each other explicit names in other threads without repercussion.

            And you just named two tight ends; my point exactly. And Branch! What was his last relevant year in the league?

            • Hernandez is a receiver playing tight end. Yes, a tone warning. Explicit names? Not that I’ve seen. I saw an “ignorant slut” name but that’s a reference to Saturday Night Live, so I let it go.

      • Joe says:

        Last year TT didn’t have receivers in Denver. Look what Peyton has done to the same receivers statistics this year. One hand washes the other.

        I believe Jeff can improve but he was managed all season and Gilly pulled a lot of the work for those 11 wins, Jeff is not a natural passer – simple and plain. His understanding of coverage is basic at best. He can learn, but at this time we’re running a hybrid Pro Style offense and he is a Dual Threat – Spread Option QB. As much as he has achieved this season, he will have to make leaps and bounds before we can get to what all Gator fans desire – a NC win.

        After that debacle the defensive game plan against Florida is now obvious to all 120 FBS schools… Disguise your coverage until the snap and make Driskell beat you with his arm and IQ. I’m not completely sold he will reach that elite level. Game manager at best is not good enough.

        Obviously I hope I’m incorrect and look like a complete fool for saying this come this time next year 🙂

        I have faith in the kid and never rule anyone out but he has a LOT of work to do. Go Gators

        • Joe says:

          Driskel was rated the best “Pro Style QB” by both Scout and Rivals in the class of 2011. Not that I am a Weiss fan but after he saw Driskel he went out and recruited Brissett. Maybe he knew something that the rest of us are just finding out.

          • Joe says:

            Joe! You’re right, but it seems like even though he played in a Pro-Style offense in High School he consistently relied on outrunning the offense with his legs. To me (and maybe Weiss) that doesn’t constitute a good Pro-Style QB. I don’t think he ever needed to develop true Pro-Style skills due to his athletic advantage. This fact could not have been more evident watching Teddy tear us up. Although I do realize that his perceived ineptitude was as much a result of poor coaching and preparation.

  2. Drew says:

    The Sugar Bowl offensive performance can be put on Pease and Pease alone. How’s an all-SEC first team running back only get 8 or so carries all game? I get that they were down but they were willing to run Burton out there for some unapparent reason instead if giving it to the best weapon we had. It was like he was blindly pulling plays out of a hat all game regardless of time down or distance.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Jeff didn’t even throw to Jordan Reed until the 3rd quarter. Hell, he didn’t even look off his predetermined 1st read on any pass attempt.

      • No chance Louisville and defensive genius Charlie Strong took away the No. 1 receiving option knowing Florida has no one else to trust with the ball, right? Nah, that can’t happen.

  3. eman17 says:

    If im Brissett… id transfer.

    Id like to see what Driskel can do with more weapons…. new receivers… another season under his belt….

    If im a 4 star or 5 star recruit…how would you not want to play at florida right now…. with the position being so wide open.

  4. GatorKen says:

    I disagree that we have no WRs. We can use a playmaker at WR but we have receivers running open too often and no throw. Even if they are open during a window of opp with the zone defense, the QB has to know where those windows are going to be and hit them. QBs can throw receivers open and anticipate the play. Our QB doesn’t do that. Jeff holds the ball way to much while changing his mind back there while costing us many yards.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      This. Dumping blame on the lack of WRs is not fair. It’s only part of the problem, if that. Did Mike DiRocco steal Adam’s log in info or something? 🙂

      • Keep blaming the quarterback and not the best unit on the team that didn’t show up in the game.

      • Also it’s not just “part of the problem.” Muschamp, Weis and Pease – for the last two years – have said over and over again that the Gators “need to get better (and/or more talent) around him.” It’s a major problem. No Harvin, Murphy, Baker, Cooper, Caldwell, Hernandez in this bunch. Dunbar is like a Nelson at this point.

        • GatorKen says:

          We have the talent. But I think blaming the WRs is easier when you are trying to pull in 5 WRs in a class and not a QB for the future. And players like Harvin are not going to come around very often. Though it seems Champ wants Zook WRs for the most part lol.

          • Florida lost out on two huge WR commits in 2012 – they put all their eggs in those baskets and came up empty. They thought they’d have at least one or two freshman STARTING WRs. That’s exactly why UF is going for five in this class. If the Gators can get Robinson along with Bailey and Fulwood, look out.

            • GatorKen says:

              when we have a QB who can read a defense and actually throws the ball on target then maybe. But last night we had balls behind the wrs, the qb holding the ball for way too long (again). JD has the talent and the ability, he has shown it but he’s not there mentally. He doesn’t take what the defense gives him and he won’t throw the ball deep and on target. I think it showed greatly when we were down 3 scores or more and our offense was just taking it’s sweet time to get the next play off. No sense of urgency or leadership. Maybe Champ gave up and was just running the clock out because he knew that we did not have the QB to mount a comeback.

              • That was not Driskel’s doing – taking time to get the next play off. Florida should have gone into a no-huddle with him calling plays at the line and Pease/Muschamp did not instruct them to. On the last scoring drive of the second half, the Gators should have had at least two extra minutes on the clock. Florida then could have kicked off and allowed the defense to try and do what it is supposed to and get the ball back. Another score then you onside.

                Driskel did not have a great game but people are putting all of the blame on his shoulders when the defense and coaching was BY FAR much worse than what he did on the field.

        • gatorboi352 says:

          Of course they’ve said that. Every coach says that. What coach not names Steve Spurrier has ever come out and said “we need to be better at QB for our WRs and O line”? Its coach speak man. Sure the WRs aren’t great, but they are good, and are open more often than some might think.

          Two points that cannot be argued: Jeff regressed after Tennessee and his read progressions are subpar.

          His second worst game of the year just came with a full month to prepare. Bottom line, the competition should be just as open this spring as it was last spring. Nothing I saw this year led me to believe Jeff is our starter going in next year.

          • His read progressions are sub-par, I definitely agree with that. I don’t think he regressed after Tennessee though, no. He had a few very solid performances. I do think coaches got tape on him for the first time and were able to game plan against him better. How he IMPROVES over the summer is key. If he takes the jump the coaching staff – especially Pease – expects then it will be exactly what you want to see. If he doesn’t, then there may be some fighting for that job.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          Not to mention the offensive line was generally a train wreck most of the season. How does driskel get comfortable in the pocket and go through his progressions when he can have no faith in his blockers and ending up on the ground on a regular basis?

  5. Obgator says:

    Sorry Adam but I disagree about being forced to throw once you get behind by two touchdowns in the second quarter. Considering our line is better at run blocking than pass blocking, and that our run game has 1000+ yard back compared to our pass games lack of big time WRs, we had to stick to the run game and trust that our defense will make plays.

    We stuck with the run versus tamu and it worked out well. I believe you can either use the pass to set up the run or vice versa, but our team is geared so that it favors us to set up the pass with run-first offense.

    Of course poor decisions like the onside kick and compounded unsportsmanlike penalties killed us, but we abandoned the run/field position game too quickly.

    Reminded me of how we abandoned the run too early versus Bama in the seccg in 2009.

    • I do agree with you that when Florida was behind two scores they SHOULDN’T have been forced to throw but that is what the coaches felt. Down 20, they had no choice. I should have communicated that better. As I said on Twitter during the game, Florida went away from what it did best all season long. I fully believe Muschamp panicked once the Gators were down 14-0.

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    Thought we had 7 players at the UA game not 9?

  7. Mr2Bits says:

    It amazes me that everyone thinks there is a QB pot of gold buried in our roster. We saw exactly what Brissett brings to the table this year. It is 14 of 22 for a 154 yards against FCS Jax St.. While Driskel might be shaky and needs to progress, this team (which nobody expected to win more than 8 games) made the Sugar bowl, had 11 wins. People must still be drunk from New Years because everyone has forgotten that we were a fart away from an SEC Championship East title and maybe a shot at the NC. The Sugar bowl simply highlighted the fact that we had a crappy o-line, crappy receivers and what happens when our D looked like it did in 2007. What is beyond comprehension is the fact that most of you can call yourselves Gator fans. Stop acting like brats, looking like fools and appreciate the fact that we we had a great season and might actually win the East next year and go to a NC.

    • Joe says:

      Get off your pedestal high and mighty.

      There is merit to the thought that Jeff may not reach the promised land just as there is merit that he will. There is also merit to the thought that Brissett’s abilities could progress beyond Jeff’s. Drew Henson started at Michigan while Tom Brady rode the bench…how’d that eventually work out.

      You can’t have it both ways. Our displeasure stems from our concern and care for the team coupled with the high standards that we expect from what is one of the top programs and a college powerhouse. For those of us who have chosen to provide critique, that is our right and prerogative as citizens of a free country. Wew aren’t trolling or being unreasonable in our critique. It is perfectly acceptable as we are providing our perspective and opinions. You can choose to visit another site or just not read our comments.

      Want some truth, our team looked like straight s&*^, and that is not acceptable. For me to sit here with a smile on my face and say otherwise because of what happened throughout the regular season is foolish. You may wish to rest on the laurels of our team but that ideology will NEVER propel a team to prolonged or ultimate success.

      Comprehend this…we’re all Gators and proud of it. I haven’t forgotten we were at the doorstep. However, I do realize that the brand of football played on Wednesday would only be more of a debacle had it occurred in a National Championship game. This team is not ready and our concerns for Jeff and our offense are valid regardless of our record. Honestly, what you need to comprehend as far as my fandom is concerned is that I rushed out of a meeting at work, ran to catch a train to get home, jogged the remaining two miles, then sat and watched every painstaking second of that game, feeling that loss as if I were a member of the team.

      That’s what being a fan is about.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        you don’t have freedom of speach on a privately owned website, you have to follow the moderator’s discretion on the tone of civility he wishes to keep. He didn’t complain about all the critiques, but only about a couple of specific posts that were personally argumentative and appeared to try to be provocative.

  8. Fernzpat says:

    Great point Mr Two Bits. Everyone always loves the backups, usually they are backups for a reason.
    Adam, thanks for adding the math question to post, should keep the FSU trolls to a minimum. Also, thanks for the SNL exemption, I plan to use that in the future…

  9. Joe says:

    Oh and you better believe the real Mr. Two Bits would have a few things to say about that performance too.

  10. Susan Dee says:

    Great analysis and discussion, you guys. Adam, especially you!

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