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August 17, 2012
Now two seasons removed from their glory years, the Gators are reinventing themselves, with two QBs hoping to sling into the act
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August 17, 2012

Florida Gators

Now two seasons removed from their glory years, the Gators are reinventing themselves, with two QBs hoping to sling into the act

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WITH FLORIDA COACH WILL MUSCHAMP OFFERING FEW CLUES as to which sophomore will take command of the quarterback position as this season unfolds, inquiring minds turned to the signal-callers themselves to handicap that situation. Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel weren't much help, either.

Brissett: "I guess I'm slower. That's what I'm lacking."

Driskel: "We don't play basketball. He's better at basketball than me."

Brissett: "I look better, but that's just something he's got to deal with."

Physically, the two players aren't that different. Each has a big arm to match a jumbo frame, and each endured freshman growing pains in 2011 while trying to fill in for injured starter John Brantley. Muschamp didn't enjoy sending his first-year quarterbacks up against the ferocious defenses of Alabama and LSU last season, but he had no choice. "Now," Muschamp says, "I'm glad both of them played."

While Florida's defense, stocked with experience and talent at almost every position, should again be more than strong enough to win, the offense—after two years of futility—will need to embrace the dynamics put in place by new coordinator Brent Pease. Last year the young QBs got their game experience under coordinator Charlie Weis and alongside teammates recruited to run former coach Urban Meyer's spread option. Pease, though, will deploy the multiformation offense that he used at Boise State, an attack that depended heavily on quarterback Kellen Moore and tailback Doug Martin. Pease will count on running back Mike Gillislee to grind out the kind of tough yards Martin gained. Gillislee should be helped by a Florida offensive line that has a combined 79 career starts, making it much more experienced than last year's unit.

The Pease offense, with all its motion and frequent presnap shifts, appears complicated, but Florida players insist they picked it up easily in the spring. The goal is to force the defense to reveal any disguised blitzes or coverages, allowing the quarterback to make more informed decisions. "It's like a Jedi mind trick," says Florida linebacker Michael Taylor.

That means Brissett or Driskel could be the next Luke Skywalker.

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