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Will Muschamp’s Florida Gators Enter 2012 With an Ongoing Quarterback Competition

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It seems to me that if you were the coach at a college football powerhouse that the last thing you’d really want to deal with is a quarterback competition. And I would think that situation would sound even worse if you were coming off your first season with that team where you had gone 7-6. That’s the situation that Florida coach Will Muschamp is in, but he sounds much more enthusiastic about it than I do as the college football season gets closer. Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel got some experience under their belt last year and are dead even, according to Muschamp, as fall camp nears. Muschamp even says the Gators will play two quarterbacks if need be. Will Muschamp joined WYGM in Orlando to discuss the message to his team entering Year 2, the quarterback situation, if the competition could divide the locker room, offensive changes under a first-year coordinator and the situation at Penn State.

What’s the message to your team in your second season?:

“I think we need to make the necessary improvements. Going into last season, two issues we had on our football team was the health of our quarterback, which we lost in the fifth game of the year and both lines of scrimmage — lack of quality depth in what we’re trying to do in terms of our numbers. Both of those came to a head in the season and that was very frustrating. We’ve addressed those numbers up front. We’re deeper; we’ve got more quality depth.  And, unfortunately, the two young quarterbacks had to play last year, but now I’m saying, ‘Fortunately they played for us.’”

When might that quarterback situation be decided? Could you see it dragging on into the season?:

“Well, I would like to name a starter before the season, but again, I don’t know what that’s going to happen, number one. And number two is you saw in the spring game what I saw for 14 practices — a very closely battled contest. Both guys are very talented. Both guys have the intangibles to lead our football team. Their competition has made each other better, it’s made our offense better and it’s made our football team better. If we need to play two, we’ll play two.”

Does having a competition like this sometimes divide a locker room?:

“I don’t feel [so] in this situation because both these guys are first-class people. They’re good people and they understand it’s about Florida, it’s not about them. So, in our situation, it’s been a very healthy competition. I sat both guys down in January and said, ‘This is where we are: You’re going to be the leader of the program when you’re in the game and you’re quarterbacking our football team.’”

How will the offense look different with a new offensive coordinator?:

“I think the first thing you’re going to see is a lot more variation in formation, motions and shifts. We’ll be more of a downhill running game because of our backs now. … We’ll be more of an inside-zone, two-back power, one-back power as opposed to a lot of the east and west running we did last year.”

What were your thoughts as everything unfolded at Penn State?:

“It’s just a very sad, tragic situation and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and that’s really all I have to say about it.”

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