Florida's Driskel back at practice
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)
Driskel said Friday he "didn't have any pain, no issues" while returning eight days after emergency surgery.
"Everything felt good in my stomach," said Driskel, who was medically cleared to return Thursday. "I thought I threw the ball really well and thought we had a good day offensively."
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Driskel's improving health was good news for the Gators, who needed something positive after a rash of injuries, some of them season-ending issues.
The Gators lost senior receiver/kick returner Andre Debose and freshman linebacker Matt Rolin for the year with torn knee ligaments. Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (sprained knee) and safety Jaylen Watkins (sprained foot) will be sidelined at least a week, and freshman offensive lineman Rod Johnson had surgery Friday to repair torn meniscus in his right knee. Johnson will miss at least three weeks.
"It's unfortunate and frustrating for everyone involved," coach Will Muschamp said. "You can stomach (them) a little better because football's a tough game, football's a violent game. Sometimes those things happen. ... You hate to be hard about it, but that's part of the game, and they understand that when they play."
Driskel missed six days of practice, but was in meetings and on the field, so he doesn't believe he's far behind in preparation for the season.
"I think I'm up to speed," he said. "Second year in the offense means there's not really anything I haven't done yet. I think I've done a good job of staying alert in the meetings and getting the mental reps. I think I'm good to go."
Driskel will have to go through the NCAA-mandated acclimation phase, meaning he will practice two days in shorts and two more days in shells before he can don full pads.
"I'm sure I won't take a hit until the first game, but I'm sure I could right now," Driskel said. "We haven't tested or anything like that. Everything seems fine, and that's not really any issue for me anymore."
Muschamp had no update on running back Matt Jones, who is recovering from a viral infection. Jones had been expected to carry the load for the run-oriented Gators this season, but he hasn't done much while getting treatment for the virus.
"He is running and getting exercise, but he hasn't been cleared to practice yet," Muschamp said.
Another projected starter, linebacker Antonio Morrison, has been partially reinstated from suspension. Morrison was in team meetings and on the field Thursday for the first time this fall.
"He's just joined our team,." Muschamp said. "He's still working through some things. I feel like missing a week of camp was a pretty strong statement to him and where I stood with some things. He's still a part of our team. He was never not a part of our team. He was just suspended from all team activities."
Morrison was suspended indefinitely last month following his second arrest in less than five weeks. He was arrested July 21 for allegedly barking at a police dog. The charges were dropped a few days later. He also was arrested in May for allegedly punching a bouncer. He signed a deferred prosecution deal on that charge.
Muschamp suspended Morrison for the first two games of the season, but hinted Friday that the punishment could be reduced.
"I'm still working through that," the coach said. "He's still going through some things for me right now. We're working through that at this point. ... When a young man has poor judgment, you work them through it and you educate them and you help them, and that's what we're doing."