By: Nick de la Torre
Are you ready for some football? I know I am. We are less than two weeks away from the start of spring practice for the Gators football team. After a remarkable 11-2 season, the Gators are losing key playmakers on both sides of the ball. Spring practice will be the first time we get to see who is ready to replace players like Matt Elam, Jon Bostic and Sharrif Floyd. There are plenty of positions that will be hotly contested this spring. This is the first of an eight part series where I will preview and break down those position battles.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Quarterback is arguably the most important position on the football field. So when you have a mobile quarterback with an injury history, his backup becomes just as important.
While it was inevitable, the transfer of Jacoby Brissett has left the Gators razor thin behind unquestioned starter, Jeff Driskel. After Driskel, the next three options at quarterback have thrown the same number of collegiate passes as I have. Zero. “I don’t have a very high comfort level, obviously” UF head coach Will Muschamp said about the depth behind Driskel. “Those guys haven’t played a lot, but they’re going to get opportunities this spring to continue to develop within what we do”
So the Gators now enter a second straight season with questions at quarterback. This time, the starter is set, but who will back him up is far less clear.
Tyler Murphy, R-Jr
Murphy was brought on late in the 2010 recruiting class. He dressed for all 13 games as a freshman but earned a redshirt that season. Murphy has seen action in three games during his career, but has never attempted a pass.
Murphy is an athletic quarterback who’s running ability has made him a vital part of the scout team. He is underdeveloped as a passer and his chances of earning significant playing time next season are slim.
Skyler Mornhinweg, R-Fr
Mornhinweg was a late addition to the 2012 recruiting class and earned a redshirt his first year on campus.
He is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles and current New York Jets offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg. You can tell Skyler is a coach’s son based on his polished mechanics, he has a short, quick delivery and his footwork is sound.
As we stand, Tyler Murphy is the No. 2 quarterback heading into spring practice but don’t expect him to be there by the time the Orange and Blue debut comes around. Murphy has the early edge due to his experience. I know that sounds crazy. A quarterback who has played in three games in three seasons is ahead because of his experience, but that is where Florida is at right now.
Mornhinweg is the more polished passer of the two and should be able to move ahead of Murphy on the depth chart during spring practice. While Mornhinweg will never be mistaken for Driskel when he leaves the pocket, he is mobile enough that the Gators offense wouldn’t have to change completely if he were to be forced into action.
Florida will add Max Staver in the fall, but he will likely earn a redshirt this season and is viewed by the coaching staff as a project.