The bad news for Florida is that Jeff Driskel is out for the season after breaking his fibula in the win over Tennessee, but if there is a silver lining to this injury it’s that Driskel wasn’t exactly playing like Danny Wuerffel for the Gators this season.
Granted you never want to see guys who work as hard as Driskel get injured, but his performance left a lot to be desired at the quarterback position. Driskel was a human turnover machine in the loss to Miami two weeks ago and as luck would have it got hurt throwing an interception that was ran back for a Tennessee touchdown.
In his absence comes Tyler Murphy, a former two-star recruit by Rivals out of Wethersfield, Connecticut. He actually looked like an upgrade. Florida was able to move the ball with him behind center and led the Gators to 17-unanswered points with the game hanging in the balance in an ugly game.
Murphy considered transferring or changing positions after playing behind five different quarterbacks in his career, but said he couldn’t live with himself if he made that decision. It’s a decision to transfer by his former teammate Jacoby Brissett to North Carolina State, which is allowing Murphy to step into the starting quarterback position in relief of Driskel.
“One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity and Tyler Murphy certainly took advantage of his opportunity today with his snaps.” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said in his post game press conference. “I’m very proud of him.”
He made some throws not seen by Driskel this season and showed good poise in the pocket and has the same dual-threat ability that Driskel has finishing with 84 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go with his 134 yards and a score.
The Florida offense may change a little schematically to take advantage of what Murphy does well, but the big change may be in his ball security which is essential considering the strength of this team.
The Gator defense may be the best in the nation, which will mask many of the deficiencies on offense as Murphy knocks the rust off considering this was the first action he’s had since high school. They’re allowing 15 points per game, 212 yards per game of which only 55 are coming on the ground and opponents are a measly 7-37 on third downs.
The play at quarterback ultimately may keep the Gators from their ultimate goal this season, but don’t tell their defense that or Murphy who looks like he’s ready for the opportunity he’s waited so long for.