Gators' QB picture remains unsettled

Updated: August 24, 2012, 9:33 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp still doesn't know which quarterback will start the Gators' season opener against Bowling Green, but he does know that both Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will play -- provided Driskel is completely healthy.

Muschamp said Friday that neither sophomore was able to distance himself in preseason practices but added that both have earned the right to play Sept. 1 against the Falcons.

Driskel, however, is still recovering from a bruised left shoulder that he suffered Aug. 12. He has been able to practice and take reps but has not been cleared for contact. He will be re-evaluated on Monday, and if he's not cleared then -- or later in the week -- Muschamp said he would not play.

If Driskel is cleared, Muschamp said he won't decide until mid to late next week who will take the first snap or whether the two will rotate by quarter, drive or play.

"They both deserve the right to play," Muschamp said. "They've earned that, and they both deserve the right to start. They both have had really good camps.

"Both guys are very even, and our football team's got great confidence in both of them."

Muschamp said he knew after the Gators' second scrimmage Aug. 17 that he likely would play both quarterbacks in the season opener. Both Driskel and Brissett handled themselves well in situational work, such as the one-minute drill, third-down conversions and goal-line work, Muschamp said, and picking one as the starter wouldn't be fair.

Either, however, could win the job outright based on how he performs against Bowling Green.

"We've tried to put them in tough situations (in practice), and they've both handled it well," Muschamp said. "I think as we work into competition on game day, we'll see if there is some separation. I think that's the next step."

Both players struggled last season in place of injured starter John Brantley. Driskel completed 47.1 percent of his passes for 148 yards and two interceptions. Brissett completed 46.2 percent of his passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions.

They have remained even since the start of spring practice. Muschamp said he wanted to see how they handled the offseason in terms of workout organization and throwing sessions. Both handled that well, Muschamp said, so they started preseason practices even.

They'll begin the season that way, too -- and maybe stay that way through the entire season.

"We can win with both guys," Muschamp said. "We function as an offense regardless of who that guy is very well."

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter