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Man Down, Man Up

GAINESVILLE -- When Florida quaterback Jeff Driskel woke up with a stomach ache Monday morning, his head coach thought it was nothing more than a bad piece of beef.

“I hoped he ate a bad cheeseburger,” Will Muschamp said. “But it wasn’t.”

Driskel underwent surgery for acute appendicitis Tuesday afternoon at UF Health Shands Hospital, but not before suffering through persistent pain around his right abdomen for over a day until his roommate, former UF offensive linemen Tommy Jordan, warned Driskel he should get his issue checked out.

“We’re lucky we found it early and acted on it,” Florida’s junior quarterback said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Driskel said he’s feeling better already -- not surprising considering he was just two days removed from surgery and speaking to the press at UF’s Media Day on Thursday -- but he won’t rush his return.

“Whenever I’m ready, I’ll be back,” Driskel said.

Muschamp expects his quarterback to miss roughly two weeks of practice, and like Driskel, complemented Florida’s medical staff for discovering and diagnosing the problem quickly.

“Our medical staff did a fantastic job indentifying that early,” Muschamp said. “If it’s a rupture, you’re talking about at least a month, probably.”

Driskel will remain around the team while he recovers from surgery, taking “mental reps” on the practice field sidelines and in the film room.

“I’ll be right there behind the huddle,” he said.

Tyler Murphy will lead Florida’s first-team offense in Driskel’s absence, as Muschamp officially named the redshirt-junior the Gators’ “clear-cut” backup.

Murphy is eagerly approaching this unique opportunity and didn’t mince words with his ultimate aspiration.

“If I can stir up a problem in the coaches office, and they’re questioning who the starting quarterback should be, I feel like I’ve reached my goal,” he said.

Florida will have no such quarterback controversy again in 2013, but Murphy is at least relishing the chance to give UF’s offense some early camp momentum.

“I want guys to believe when I’m in we won’t skip a beat,” he said. “I want to prove to the coaches I’m trustworthy.”

It starts today.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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