Muschamp: Florida’s sack leader will play in 2012
Florida coach Will Muschamp said defensive end Ronald Powell
will play this season and tight end A.C. Leonard will play
That’s part of what the Gators know, who will play quarterback
remains an open question going into preseason camp. There is
apparently a dead heat for the job between sophomores Jacoby
Brissett and Jeff Driskel. It could be both, maybe at once.
”Both guys are very talented,” Muschamp said Wednesday at
Southeastern Conference media days. ”Both guys are certainly
qualified for the position. If you saw the spring game, you saw
what I saw for 14 practices: Two guys that are very even in that
competition. They’re even going into fall camp and they’ll get
equal reps. I’d like to name a starter before the season but I’m
not going to put a timetable on that. If we need to play both of
them, that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll do what we need to do to
win football games.
”There’s a possibility you could see both in the game at the
Perhaps the best news for Gator fans Wednesday is that Muschamp
believes Powell will make it back this season. The starting end and
team sack leader tore a knee ligament in the spring game, leaving
his status a big question mark.
Muschamp said Powell has been cleared for all weight-room work,
including squats, and straight-ahead running.
”He’ll play for us this year,” the coach said. ”When that
will be, I don’t know yet. There’s nobody that’s worked harder or
handled the situation better or more mature than Ronald has. He’s
grown up through the summer.”
Leonard, meanwhile, is leaving the program in what Muschamp
described as a mutual decision. He was arrested on domestic
violence charges in February. Muschamp said he met with Leonard
Tuesday and they ”decided it would be better off for him to
”It was shocking but it wasn’t as shocking knowing where he’s
come from and what he’s been dealing with since he’s been at
Florida,” Gators defensive end Lerentee McCray said.
Muschamp said backup cornerback Jeremy Brown was undergoing
surgery Wednesday morning to repair a fractured wrist but should be
back for the opener with Bowling Green. Brown has already missed
three seasons with injuries.
As for the quarterbacks, McCray said it was a win-win situation.
Brissett and Driskel combined for just two touchdowns and were
intercepted six times last season, filling in when starter John
Brantley was injured.
”That’s going to be a tough decision for coach Muschamp and the
offensive staff because both of them look really good right now,”
McCray said. ”We feel like we can win with either one of them.
Whoever’s at quarterback, Muschamp is emphasizing two big areas
for improvement. The Gators ranked 113th nationally in turnover
margin, which he says makes it ”a minor miracle” that his first
team managed to win seven games. He called that debut season ”very
Then there was the fourth quarter problems in SEC games. League
opponents outscored Florida 72-22 in the final quarter, and
Muschamp called his team soft after the regular-season finale with
”That’s one of our main things going into this year,”
linebacker Jon Bostic said. ”We’ve got to to finish in the fourth
quarter. If we don’t finish in the fourth, the year will turn out
the same as last year.”