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Many moving parts

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida is going to be multitasking Saturday.

The 23rd-ranked Gators not only need to beat Bowling Green at Florida Field to extend the program's winning streak in season openers to 23 years, but also to try and figure out how their two-quarterback rotation is going to work, make sure the litany of shifts and motions brought over by new offensive coordinator Brent Pease run smoothly, and compress all of that in one game before SEC play begins.

Not that coach Will Muschamp will admit to any of that, though. He wants the players thinking only about beating the Falcons.

"We need to go play well and win the football game," he said.

Florida's biggest task, however, could be finding the best way to alternate quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. Because neither was able to gain an edge over the other during preseason practices, Muschamp said last week that both would play against the Falcons. He said he and Pease would take this week to figure out how the rotation
would work, whether it would be by drive, by quarter or within drives.

What makes the rotation easier is that both players can run the same offense. It's not the same as it was in 2006, for example, when Tim Tebow was used mainly as a short-yardage runner and to come in and run the spread-option and Chris Leak ran more of a traditional set.

"There won't be a whole lot of change when one guy's in or the other. They're both very similar," Muschamp said. "From the schematic standpoint, there's not a drastic difference between the two guys as far as what we do and how we operate, which has been good for our offensive players because they're not trying to field two different styles of offense when one guy's on the field and one guy's not."

What happens Saturday will determine if the rotation continues further into the season. If one quarterback clearly outplays the other, they could end up with the job on their own. Completions and yardage aren't the measuring stick, Muschamp said.

"Who moves our football team and scores points, takes care of the ball [has the advantage]," he said. "Period. End of sentence.

"... I don't want to predict anything. I know going into the first game where we are and we will see how those guys compete and play and produce and we will move from there."

Saturday also will be the debut of the myriad of motions and shifts in the offense Pease brought with him from Boise State. It's a complex system that involves players going into motion and moving to different spots on the line of scrimmage or moving from the line into the backfield or from the backfield into the line.

For it to work, the timing has to be precise, starting with Pease deciding on substitutions and getting the play called and sent into the huddle. The quarterback needs to have the play called and have the team break the huddle with about 15-17 seconds remaining on the play clock in order to have time to use the motions and shifts.

Pease said the Gators have simulated the time frame in practice with a 40-second clock, but he's still expecting some issues Saturday.

"In my experience in coaching, in all the years I've done it, when you come to a game and zeroes go up, you go, 'Oh man, that thing's a lot faster,' " Pease said.

Florida would normally have two games to work on the quarterback rotation and the timing of the motions and shifts before beginning SEC play. But expansion forced the league to re-do the 2012 schedule and now the Gators are playing on the road against new conference foe Texas A&M in Week 2.

UF has done that just one other time since 1995. That was 2004, when Hurricane Frances forced UF to move its scheduled opener against Middle Tennessee State to October and the Gators played Eastern Michigan before Tennessee.

Muschamp said the Gators won't be holding anything back offensively against Bowling Green just to spring it on the Aggies in College Station, Texas, on Sept. 8.

"We're going to play," he said. "I don't think you hide things. I think you go out and you play the game. That's what we need to do. We need to play well. We need to continue to show improvement as a program, and that's what we plan on doing."