When Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper announced that the Florida Gators would be using a two quarterback system this week and moving forward in the 2014 season it raised eyebrows and questions among Gators fans.
First thought brings fans back to the good ole’ days where Steve Spurrier would change quarterbacks quicker than a summer storm rolling in over Gainesville. Spurrier famously rotated Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise not on a quarter-by-quarter basis, or even series by series. Spurrier was tipped off that Florida State would try to steal signals from the sideline so he decided to rotate the quarterbacks on each play. Spurrier even thought about throwing Jesse Palmer into the mix, to really shake things up, but said he “chickened out” at the last minute.
Of course, more recently, Urban Meyer utilized a freshman Tim Tebow as a battering ram during Tebow’s freshman season with Chris Leak managing most of the game. That season ended with a national championship.
What will this version of a two-quarterback system look like at Florida? Don’t expect the conservative Muschamp to pull a Spurrier and have the Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris rotate every play.
As a mater of fact, all this talk of a two-quarterback system might hyperbole.
“We’re going to see who has the hot hand and see who’s helping move our football team and gives us the best opportunity to win,” Muschamp said on the weekly SEC teleconference on Wednesday. “We’ll make that decision as we go through the game.”
On Monday, Muschamp left the door open as to which of the two quarterbacks — Driskel or Harris — would start the game Saturday, only stating that “right now” Jeff would start. On Tuesday, Roper gave a more firm statement, blankly stating that Driskel would start the game.
“Jeff’s going to start, but this week obviously is an important week to see how each guy prepares and does all those things,” said Roper. “Hopefully we do get a hot hand and do well the whole game. I’d like to get a hot hand for sure.”
What if Driskel goes out and leads the Gators on two consecutive scoring drives to start the game? Do we even see Harris inserted into the mix if Driskel starts the game hot? Conversely, if Jeff struggles early and Harris provides a similar spark as he did late in the game against Tennessee does that mean Driskel will be resigned to holding a clipboard the rest of the game?
“Both guys deserve and have earned the opportunity to play,” Muschamp said. “And we’re still kind of going through that in today’s practice and into Thursday. And Kurt [Roper] and I will sit down Friday morning and make a final decision of what we need to do.”
The game this Saturday is a turning point in the season. A win keeps Florida competitive and in the race in the SEC East. A loss sends them to the cellar with an obstructed view from the backseat.
Muschamp’s seat is hot. A loss to a bad Missouri team who was torched 34-0 last week by Georgia would turn that seat into molten lava. He needs a win to cool his seat down and it’s ironic that he’ll need one of his two quarterbacks to get hot on Saturday to do just that.