Behold the wonder that is the Gators’ offensive backfield depth:
The three members of Florida’s starting backfield missed portions of preseason camp, highlighting the inexperience of the reserves. The dropoff from Driskel, who missed the first six practices after an appendectomy, to back-up quarterback Tyler Murphy is most severe. Like Driskel, Murphy is mobile, but during three open practices, he was off target with many throws. Sophomore tailback Matt Jones, out since late July with a viral infection, had 52 carries as a back-up in 2012. But none of the reserves behind Jones have even that much experience and don’t come close to matching size (6-2, 226) and speed. Junior Mack Brown, the current starter while Jones is recovering from the infection, is serviceable. Sophomore Valdez Showers is more explosive, but played a safety until a month ago. Mark Herndon has had a strong camp, but was a walk-on until last week. At fullback, Hunter Joyer, the unsung hero of the Gators’ run game, missed a week with a hamstring injury. Back-up fullback Gideon Ajagbe is a converted linebacker who did not play in 2012.
Now mind you, the linked article also informs us that one of the top five things we learned from Florida’s preseason is that Driskel’s got some receivers to throw to, so this is not a case of the author wallowing in Munsonesque pessimism. There really isn’t much margin for error back there. Which makes me wonder if they’re going to limit Driskel’s runs – one of the positives he brings to the table – this season to try to protect him. Tough call.