Spring shoes to fill: Florida

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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Florida is looking to revamp its offense in 2012, but the quarterback spot has the biggest hole to fill:

OUT: Quarterback John Brantley: Brantley had a rough last two years in Gainesville. He couldn't effectively run the spread offense in 2010, and while he improved under Charlie Weis, the middle part of his senior season was taken away by an ankle injury. Brantley finished the 2011 season with 2,044 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He certainly had his off moments in the pocket, but he was Florida's best option. Even through his struggles, players continuously rallied around Brantley. He was more comfortable running Weis' pro-style offense, but never really had the confidence or consistency needed to be truly effective in the SEC. The Gators now have three underclassmen with little experience vying for the starting spot.

IN: Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel or Tyler Murphy: These rising sophomores are in for an intense battle this spring. Brissett enters the competition with the most experience of the three, after backing up Brantley for most of the 2011 season. Driskel began the year as the No. 2 quarterback, but fell behind Brissett after a rough showing in the second half of the Alabama game (the game Brantley was injured). Drikel also suffered an ankle injury in that game. Brissett eventually started and played the entire LSU game. He and Driskel both played in the loss to Auburn. Brissett finished the season with 206 passing yards, two touchdown passes and four interceptions, and filled in for Brantley a number of times last season when the Gators went under center because of Brantley's lack of mobility after the ankle injury. Driskel arrived at Florida last season as the nation's top high school quarterback, but was better suited to run Urban Meyer's spread offense. He was recruited by Meyer, but stayed on and enrolled early even after Will Muschamp took over. As for Murphy, he has been on campus a year longer than the others, but has yet to take a collegiate snap. He fits a spread offense much better, but has earned praise from his teammates for his passing ability. Still, it seems as though he's looking up at both Brissett and Driskel. Heading into spring, Brissett held the edge in experience, and seemed to have the most confidence in his play and his understanding of the offense. However, he and Driskel have been getting almost equal reps in practice.

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