Muschamp rules QB Brantley out against LSU

By Adam Silverstein
October 3, 2011

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, at the start of his weekly press conference on Monday, ruled out redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley for Saturday’s road game at the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, LA.

Brantley, who injured his lower right leg against the Alabama Crimson Tide late in the second quarter last Saturday and did not return to the game, has reportedly been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain but no further information (such as severity and timetable for return) has been made available.

Brantley has has started every game for Florida since Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow graduated in 2009 but will likely be replaced by freshman QB Jeff Driskel on Saturday. Driskel will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Gators since Chris Leak (vs. Kentucky, 2003) if he continues to beat out redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and freshman Jacoby Brissett during practice this week.

“Jeff is a very mature young man,” Muschamp said of the team’s back-up. “He’s a guy that went through spring with us. He’s an outstanding athlete and an outstanding quarterback. He’s got legs and he can run. He’s a guy that can give you some variety as far as escape in the pocket, evading the rush. That’s a positive.”

Muschamp provided few details about Brantley’s injury on Monday, saying simply that the player hurt his lower leg and that surgery has been ruled out. He promised to update Brantley’s status each Monday, indicating that the injury will keep him out multiple weeks.

“John’s disappointed. He’s playing very well. He really threw the ball extremely well against a really good football team,” Muschamp said. “He’s disappointed and it hurts for him, but it’s time to pick up the other guy. And that’s what our team will do.”

Driskel is 7/16 for 73 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions this season.


  1. Tony Smith says:

    Wow – if Brissett and Murphy are really of lower caliber than Driskel, I think we’re in trouble at the QB spot.

    • scooterp says:

      I don’t know what it is you guys expected, with Driskel. That he would come in, as a true freshman, against the best defense in the country and just pick them apart? This is what happens when your starting QB goes down, especially when they are as inexperienced as ours are. Did you expect this team to go 12-0 and seriously contend for the crystal this year? The belly-aching from you people is annoying and the fans on here pounding on Muschamp/Weis/Driskel is making me sick. Lets go back and read all the posts from over the summer where everyone was saying “we don’t know what to expect”……..”this should be a rebuilding year”…….”we need to give the new coaching staff time”. We are 4-1 and beat the teams we should of beat’n and lost to a team we knew was better. Most experts thought we were somewhere between #20-25 and many others thought we weren’t good enough to be ranked at all. So, I would say right now we’ve exceeded most expectations – including my own. I can live with that.
      The Bama defense looks amazing and their offense plays smash-mouth, mistake free football better than anyone. So I really take issue with the whining Gator fans who have beatup on our new backup, freshman QB because he didn’t play like a seasoned vet. Your comment is disgusting!

      • Skip says:

        I agree scooterp…what do people expect from a kid who was playing High School this time last year. I was impressed with him. Having actually played and coached the game of football what I saw from Driskel was courage and great potential for the future of the Gators. Those who are critical either have never played or have no clue just how fast the college game is. I look for him to do better in LSU as he gets more used to the college game. Will he make mistakes…count on it…but the future looks good…if anyone is going to complain they need to focus of BOTH front lines…That is where we lost the game…

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    Nothing like trial by fire. when they call these “high ankle sprains” rather than just a sprained ankle, it seems like it usually means they are out 4-6 weeks! Hopefully it isn’t that serious, very glad to know it wasn’t his knee, though, it looks like that twisted really badly too.

    As long as he doesn’t let it get to him if he has a rough time against another great defense, this is great for Jeff for experience heading forward

    • Aligator says:

      so negative ….

      • Tim Smith says:

        Not sure what was negative there….

        I knew were you were coming from Ken (CA) and agree.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        actually, listening to WRUF they just said 4 weeks at the very earliest, not negative, just aware of how these injuries seem to go. Was very positive about how good an experience for Driskel this could be and for the future because of it.

        • Their timetable is nothing official. Not saying it’s right or wrong, but it’s just what they were probably told by a doctor. I would’ve said the same thing.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            I’m not exactly sure what the difference between a high ankle sprain and a normal sprained ankle is, but as soon as they start with high, that always seems to be 4-6 weeks rather than just a few days. Same thing Harvin had, among others recently. Everytime I hear that phrase I cringe, because that basically wipes out half the season for them

  3. aziatic41 says:

    We are on the right track as far as rebuilding. Give Muschamp a chance to bring in his own players which will fit his system before we start panicklng about our program in general. Most of the players Muschamp have now are Urban Meyer players who are built for a exlusively speed system on both sides of the ball. Muschamp favors pro-style football not the speed spread football like Meyer. He likes physical big and quick players not just exclusively speed players like Urban preferred. Muschamp has two highly rated big tailbacks coming in next year in Matt Jones and Mike Davis who are both great pro-style inside runners and he also has some top rated big lineman coming in. I’m sure Muchamp is proud of the what Rainey and Demps have done thus far this season, but he prefers bigger more durable tailbacks. We knew coming in that the size of Demps and Rainey were going to be an issue once SEC play really begins. And Demps was injured last week.. As far as moving forward this season if Brantley returns I see us possibly finishing 8-4, but without him I see us finishing 6-6. We’ll probably lose to LSU, Auburn, UGA, SC, and FSU without JB. Well I know we’ll at least be underdogs in all of those games. But its a long season and anything can happen in sports. We’ll see. GO GATORS

  4. swiftt_tech69 says:

    Glad driskel will get some real playing time, doubt we had a shot at beating lsu even with jb starting. On the bright side driskel has no place to go but up. This will be great for next years team.

  5. npgator says:

    We will have a tough geme this upcoming week versus LSU but if we can get Brantley back sooner than later I think we will have a reasonable shot at the SEC east. John looke better last Saturday than any previous game and he will only get better when healthy.

  6. Joe says:

    I think Brantley finally proved his NFL value last game. Sad to see him go down, I wish the best for him and Driskell in the upcoming weeks.

    • Tim Smith says:

      Were you high when you posted this? Unless he makes a tremendous amount of improvement before the end of the year (and I guess that could happen under Weis) he will not even be an undrafted free agent. He cannot read defenses, he cannot make critical decisions in clutch situations, he’s not tuff, and he’s not accurate with the football. He wouldn’t carry Chris Leak’s jock strap and Chris wasn’t drafted. Please save this post so you can either throw it in my face or read it quietly to yourself later. Do you guys forget some of the truly great tallent we’ve had here at quarterback? What is the love affair with this kid?

  7. ocala gator says:

    Look guys, the tide’s comments like “I knew Florida’s defence would break down” and ” the greatest feeling in the world is watching the Swamp empty early in the 4th qrt” We supposedly had top 10 recruiting classes for the past several years, Charlie Weis ( great), Coach BOOM(great), all inspire us as fans and alumni. Let’s improve. Don’t let down….ever….

  8. John S says:

    Glad it’s just an ankle sprain, if he can come back in time for Vandy, I’ll be grateful.

    What I really want to see against LSU is if our Front 7 can get over their injured pride. Our linebackers got worked over. If we don’t move them up against the line like Bama did in obvious running situations we won’t have a chance. You can’t give up more than 50% of third downs, produce 0 sacks, and no takeaways at home and call yourself a defense. Time to man up.

  9. Jesse says:

    Aside from LSU, the rest of our games are win-able, even half-ass U. Everyone around Driskel will need to step up, including the coaching staff but every team on our schedule has shown weaknesses this year that we can exploit if we are smart with the football. And every team in the east except UK (they are Ole-Miss bad) has a shot at making it to Atlanta at this point. It will be interesting to see how we respond this week. GO GATORS!

  10. Aligator says:

    you know what, this guy is going to do all he can and we are going to do all we can here. I know that the team will give their best effort. Everyone needs to remember that this is a transition year and we will be fine.

  11. collegeballdude says:

    watch driskel to have more freedom to take off and run. he is bigger and faster than tebow… albeit he doesn’t have tebow’s leaderships skills yet….i also expect one or both of the other two quarterbacks to play some…..but expect weiss to throw the tea cup at them considering none of our remaining quarterbacks have any real experience….

  12. CH says:

    how’s it go? “thru all kinds of weather, we’ll all stick together, for………….”????

  13. Tim Smith says:

    I’d rather go 5 and 8 with Driskel than 8 and 5 with JB. Brantley got hurt on back to back plays were he had a wide open Rainey to dump the ball off too and worst case a chance to throw the ball out of the back of the endzone. you do not take a sack in that position and he did…twice which also put us out of field goal range and if he dumped off to rainey, was maybe a touchdown. This is a 5th year senior that generally doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I see the comments about how he’s doing better this year than last year, but let’s face it, ANYTHING was better than last year. Guys, this is a 5th year senior starting quarterback that we’re talking about like he’s a sophomore and enough is enough.

    The way he was “carried” off the field Saturday night, I thought it was an MCL injury (thank goodness it was not), but this kid doesn’t have it, whatever it is. The coaches have a real excuse now to sit him and try to train someone else up. I’m behind them 100%. I’m not an idiot, I realize that if the back up was better he’d be out there playing, but if we have an excuse to train a guy up, and keep the current guy on the bench, than I’m all for it, I don’t want to do this again next year.

    And before you send all the JB is a great guy posts and it’s not fair posts. Ask yourself why the hell you’re defendind this guy? What senior quarterback has EVER been given this much slack in the last 20 years? Name one? Chris Leak had to share with Tebow, Palmer with Grossman, Johnson with Brindise and there was a young man Named Wuerfull that cause a pretty damn good Terry Dean to lose his job if I remember correctly. He’s been given every opportunity.

    (sorry for the misspellings it’s a blog post get over it)

    • Ken (CA) says:

      He never had time to find Rainey, the line didn’t bother to block and he was down within a second of getting the snap. He never had a chance on either of those plays.

      • Tim Smith says:

        I was at the game and saw a very frustrated Rainey jumping up and down because he was open and didn’t get the ball. It looked like it was a screen play where Rainey fakes the block and rolls out for the pass, and it looked like they ran the same play twice in a row. I haven’t seen the replay of the game. If you’re saying he didn’t have time on either play, I’ll conceed that could be the case.

    • John S says:

      I think on the play he got hurt Rainey began the play in pass protection and ran right past Upshaw on a delayed route. Brantley had no shot, Bama started jumping the snap count.

      • Tim Smith says:

        Yes, that’s what it looked like. Rainey faked the block and dragged across the line of scrimmage. Some kind os screen.

    • scooterp says:

      I really don’t know what you’re whining about! Brantley has done fine this year. He looks like a quarterback that is under a new system that just had the largest playbook in college thrown at him and has managed it pretty well. I know you want to sling it all over the place like the old fun ‘n’ gun, but those days are gone. Get this through your head – we’ve had other good QBs come through the program than Wuerfel and Tebow. Just because Brantley isn’t great does’nt mean he sucks.

      • Tim Smith says:

        Funny you of all people would use the word “whining” LOL…your reputation on this site speaks for itself in that regard.

        Now with regard to your comments. You nailed it, “Brantley has done fine this year” or to quote Muschamp, “Brantley has done a good job managing the game for the Gators.” You are wrong (mostly because you do not know me at all) that I want to sling the ball all over the place, but I certainly don’t want a “manager”. Managers hold clipboards and listen to the coach when he talks to the Starting quarterback. Managers do not start for the Florida Gators in the SEC big time college football. You are correct that we have had many good quarterbacks other than Wuerrful and Tebow, and I challenge you to name one that started a full season you’d start Brantley in place of in the last 20 years, I can’t think of a single one. Why is that something to defend? Last year it was the system, now this year you’re saying the playbook’s too thick. When is it going to be, “He’s just not that good.”

        Maybe sitting on the bench and watching Driskel make some bonehead plays (and he will and there’s nothing wrong with a FRESHMAN doing that) will make something click for Brantley. I want Brantley to be good. He just isn’t right now. OR….Maybe getting Driskel some live action reps will pay off bigger for this young team down the road. I’d rather see a freshman screw up and learn than a senior “get by”.

        It truly is an exciting time to be a Gator.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          I would take Him ahead of Leak or Brindise easily, and, if we were able to see more of him than a couple of games against weak teams we might have even more he could move ahead of. All of those QBs also had huge playmaker receivers, something this team has lacked since Harvin. Gotta have receivers get separation to succeed. Look how average even Tebow looked much of the time after Harvin was gone and no one stepped up.

          I think it is unfortunate, 2 years of mopup duty, then a full season in an offense he was never really comfortable with and a line that was inconsistent at best (and yes he did tend to hold the ball too long, but that seems to have mostly been worked out this season so far). Now a new system that really fits him well, and just as he is getting more and more comfortable in it he loses half the season. QB more than anyone needs as many snaps as possible to manage the game.

          And yes, manage is the key word. That is all Weis wants his QB to do, get the ball to the playmakers…the QB is not considered the primary playmaker. The QB is successful because he gets the ball to those who do, whether a 2 yd pass and 80 yd run or deep 50 yd pass. Brantley did very well with that so far this year, and each game he would have been better and better as more and more of the scheme was implemented.

          I am a Brantley believer, and I do think he will have a long pro career, maybe as a backup, but he will be on a roster next season.

          • Tim Smith says:

            Ken, the thing with Brantley is, it’s always been someone elses fault, or something elses fault. When you have to make excuses for him, it’s him. Chris Leak one and SEC and National Title. Noah never played a whole season, he was brought in for Doug Johnson rotating in and out because Doug couldn’t manage a whole game. So yeah, maybe that’s a good role for JB.

            When you say, look how average Tebow looked without Harvin, you do realize that 2009 team went 13 and 1 and had an undefeated regular season right? It’s not fair to compare Brantley to Tebow, but don’t try to compare a 13-1 team that played in the SEC championship game and a BCS Bowl Game to anything Brantley’s done. I’ll take that kind of leadership all day.

            Anyway, I’m done. I don’t “feel” I’m right. I’m telling you what the numbers and play on the field show. All I hear from everyone for the last two years is, “It’s the coaches, it’s the receivers, it’s the running game, it’s the line, it’s the offensive system.” Poor guy, the whole world’s against him.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            Not making excuses for him, the facts are the facts. sometimes things just happen. He has had a good season this year doing everything he was asked to do.

            I am not saying Tebow was an average QB, nor anything against the 13-1 season, but without a big time receiver a lot of what he did looked pedestrian as well, many short dumps, few long passes, and using his legs when necessary. and it was a struggle to 13-1, it wasn’t like the previous season where we won 6 in a row by 30+. That is the difference between having a playmaking receiver and a QB who must make plays because he doesn’t.

            The only thing about Driskel is what i complained about the first 3 games. It didn’t do him any favors to bring him in for half the game and only let him hand off. He needed to be throwing and reading at game speed, not just running the clock. That is the one thing I have faulted Muschamp for in his games. I understand the merits of running the clock and getting out with a win, but I think it was a mistake to never really let him get a feel for the pocket more in a game situation.

  14. g8ter27 says:

    Well I agree with some of you that having Driskell start now as opposed to next year will pay off huge for next year. How many passes did Tebow throw his freshman year? Remember when everyone said that he could run, but questioned of he could throw after his freshman year…in fact, they still do in Denver.

    I hate to say this but we can forget the SEC East. For those who didn’t know, Georgia and South Carolina both amazingly do not have either Bama or LSU on their schedule. Not to be a downer here but we likely have at least two and likely three sec losses before we see Georgia. That being sai, next year we are looking pretty damn good we nearly all of our key players back (yeah I know Demps and Rainey are gone but we will be fine in the backfield…better I am willing to bet)

  15. Deuce-Five says:

    Ken with a high ankle sprain it’s not actually the ligaments of the ankle that’s damage but more so the “mesh” thats inbetween and connects the tibia and fibula

    • Ken (CA) says:

      ah thanks…2 drs in my family and never thought to ask them what the difference is, and no one ever really explains it, assuming everyone knows what it is.

  16. swiftt_tech69 says:

    I am kinda excited drizzy is starting, what’s the worst that can happen we lose by 20,30. Lsu and bama may have one lose between them when this season is over. No shame in losing to better teams. Id rather have driskel have growing pains now, than next year when we will actually have a shot a a title. Because even if we win the east its lsu/bama again …face it we have 2 freshman and 5 sophs starting on d in the sec that’s usually a recipe for disaster. Sorry if I sound like a fsu fan but wait til next year…go gators!!

  17. Ron Jon says:

    What I see with John in the previous years is poor coaching. With that I mean he was never taught how to make reads. Just like tebow he just was slinging it around. Difference between him and tebow was he is slower then our lineman and had no leadership skills. This year he has made great progress. Just doesn’t seem to have that it factor when it comes to playing qb. He can’t distinguish between open and not open. Just wants to make the easy throws. I blame alot on our wr unability to get open. Things is bama is a better team then us. All around. We have no running game bc Rainey and demps can’t run between the tackles against bama or lsu. John is hurt now so maybe we can throw driskell to the wolves this week and he won’t get hurt.

  18. aziatic41 says:

    I really hope that Driskel does well this week and we can pull off the huge upset on the road. I hope Driskel plays lights out and we can keep him in the line-up for the remaining of the year. Because JB is still shaky in big games. The pick 6 he threw changed the entire momentum of the game. Although he is more confident this year he still appears very afraid in the pocket when his wrs aren’t open. He also seems to not be aware of game situations and critical moments. Driskel has a lot of potential. He has game breaking scrambling ability and a rocket arm. We have one of the best OCs in country in Charlie Weis and with that being said maybe he can come up with a solid game plan that fits Driskel’s strength,s like Muschamp stated in his press conference. I’d like to see Weis get Driskel on some easy roll out bootleg passes early to the tight end to build his confidence. Rolling Driskel outside the pocket will also give him the option to run. But whats gonna make this difficult to do is that we don’t have an inside running game that puts fear in defenses. Demps and Rainey are scat backs. They do most of their damage on the outside and on dump passes out of the backfield.

    On the bright side LSU has a suspect offense. They manufacture points on offense. If we can avoid turnovers and get some points early, we’ll have a chance in the 4th quarter against these guys. Also our defense needs to play well. Dan Quinn and Muschamp need to get those guys to make more plays. Our defense needs to get more 3rd down stops and create more turnovers.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      The pick 6 wasn’t his fault, Xavier Nixon blocked the guy and released him right into the path of the ball, making it an easy grab and run. No way to even see that coming.

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