Over the weekend, Florida starting quarterback Jeff Driskel suffered a broken fibula in a 31-17 over Tennessee. Following the game, Will Muschamp said of his starter: “I hurt for him. I hurt for us because Jeff’s a good player. It’s going to hurt us.”
According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News: “I’m not buying it.”
Hayes believes that backup Tyler Murphy will come to the rescue of a long-dormant Florida offense. Why? His legs.
“When was the last time Florida was dynamic on offense? When was the last time the Gators had a quarterbacks who pressed defenses and forced adjustments?
When was the last time the Gators were exciting on offense: when they had a dynamic threat at the most important position on the field?
The guy’s name was (Tim) Tebow and the year was 2009.”
For the Gators’ sake, here’s hoping Hayes isn’t being a little — OK, a lot — premature in his Murphy/Tebow comparison. UF’s offense has been lackluster for several seasons and to be honest, the Gators’ offense even in 2009 was almost all-Tebow. If they could develop an offense to go with their fast/strong defense, the Gators could be scary good.
But let’s tap the brakes on the whole Murphy as Tebow thing. One needs to keep in mind that Murphy’s numbers as a backup on Saturday (8-of-14 passing for 134 yards, one passing TD, 84 yards rushing and one TD on the ground) were similar to the numbers Driskel put up against the very same Tennessee team a year ago (14-of-20 passing for 219 yards, two passing TDs, and 81 yards rushing). Driskel looked just as dynamic against Tennessee a year ago as Murphy did on Saturday.
This isn’t to say that Murphy didn’t come into his own during Saturday’s second half. Nor is it impossible for him to elevate Brent Pease’s offense to another level. But if one game against an outgunned Tennessee defense were a true measuring stick, then Driskel should have gone on to be Tebow II because he looked every bit as good and — to be frank — better than Murphy versus the Volunteers in 2012.
Murphy is a redshirt junior whose last action before 2013 was as a wide receiver versus South Carolina last year. Sure, he may play Lou Gehrig to Driskel’s Wally Pipp, but three quarters of action doesn’t provide enough evidence to make that call.