Taking a look at Brantley's replacements

Florida coach Will Muschamp made things official Monday by announcing that senior starting quarterback John Brantley won't play at LSU.

That means a trio of youngsters will compete this week for the starting job against one of the best, scariest, nastiest, most athletic defenses in the entire country.

Good luck kids.

Muschamp said during his Monday news conference that true freshman Jeff Driskel, who was the nation's top quarterback coming out of the 2011 recruiting class, is currently in the lead to start. He is also the only other quarterback to see the field this year for the Gators. He came in for Brantley against Alabama after he went down with a lower leg injury, but looked rattled from the get-go. He completed just two of his six passes for 14 yards , but had a nifty 31-yard run in the game that no doubt triggered visions of the long gone Tim Tebow in the minds of Gators fans still around in the Swamp Saturday night.

But the starting job won't just be given to Driskel. He'll have to earn it this week, battling redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and classmate Jacoby Brissett.

Well, let's take a look at the youngsters given the responsibility of keeping Florida's offense -- and possibly the entire team -- afloat for however long Brantley is out:


  • Who is this guy? Driskel was the top quarterback coming out of high school last year. He's much more athletic than Brantley and can use his feet to get out of tough situations in the pocket. While he has been clocked running a 4.5 40 (at 235 pounds no less), he isn't necessarily a run-first quarterback. He has a big arm and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has been very impressed with Driskel's tool set so far. During his senior year of high school, he led a relatively new football program at Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty to the playoffs for the first time and finished the season with 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns passing, and 1,333 rushing yards with 20 touchdowns. He also caught two touchdown passes.

  • Qualifications: Driskel has played in four games this season, but was forced onto the field after Brantley went down with his leg injury Saturday. The wide-eyed freshman didn't look ready at all for the SEC speed, but that's natural. He has completed 7-of-16 passes for 73 yards, but has two interceptions. College speed in general has been rough on the frosh, but expect a simplified playbook for Driskel this week.

  • What he could do: Driskel entered the season as the No. 2 quarterback and should earn his first career start this weekend. However, he has to play against LSU's defense, which doesn't allow much breathing room, on the road. Expect a lot of pressure to come flying Driskel's way early and often. We won't blame Driskel if he loads the bus early in this one.


  • Who is this guy? Murphy was one of the biggest questions of any of Urban Meyer's recruiting classes. He was once committed to Temple, but eventually signed with Florida. Florida was the only major school to offer the dual-threat quarterback. While he's a tremendous runner, no one outside of the team knows what to expect from his arm. He accounted for more than 30 touchdowns with 1,100 passing and 1,100 rushing during his senior year of high school in Connecticut.

  • Qualifications: Well, we really aren't sure. He's more fit for the spread offense, but this spring he said he was starting to enjoy Weis' pro-style more. Weis even singled Murphy out for his improvement this spring. But after sitting out his freshman year, we aren't sure what to expect from him if he does touch the field this year.

  • What he could do: He might be more athletic than Driskel, and if he does play, he'll likely run before he throws. He could be a good Wildcat option for Florida, but I'm not sure we'll see much more from him unless Driskel completely falls apart or gets hurt.


  • Who is this guy? Brissett and Florida flirted before Weis was hired, but he was never offered until Weis met with him. Weis and Muschamp were very impressed with the former South Florida high school star. As a junior, he passed for 1,463 yards with 19 touchdowns and added 296 rushing yards.

  • Qualifications: He might not be the runner that Driskel and Murphy are, but he can take off if he needs to. The coaches have been impressed with his arm strength, but he's still learning the offense. The original plan was to redshirt him, but Weis will be accelerating his development from here on out.

  • What he could do: Brissett might be a more talented passer than Murphy, but I get the sense that he could still be redshirted if Brantley's injury doesn't prove to be season ending. However, if it is, Brissett could figure into some plays here and there if the Gators need him.