UF football

Reeling Gators might start third-string QB Skyler Mornhinweg

 

Tyler Murphy, who replaced the injured Jeff Driskel, has a shoulder sprain, and UF might have to turn to redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg.

 
Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) scampers for yardage after failing to find a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. Vanderbilt defeated Florida 34-17. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) scampers for yardage after failing to find a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. Vanderbilt defeated Florida 34-17. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Phil Sandlin / AP

Miami Herald Writer

Florida’s offense, already a fragile and teetering unit ranked No. 111 nationally, faces a daunting proposition this weekend with a trip to No. 11 South Carolina.

The last thing the Gators need is additional uncertainty, but this situation might get worse.

The Gators could be down to their third-string quarterback Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN2) against the Gamecocks if redshirt junior Tyler Murphy is unable to practice at all this week with a lingering shoulder sprain, offensive coordinator Brent Pease announced Tuesday.

“I think it’s probably a game-time decision,” Pease said. “Same situation we’ve been in before. He’s got to get in some practice time at some point in time. I mean he’ll be able to do the run game. He should know that. It’s more his [comfort] of how to throw, I guess. How well he can throw the ball with spin?’’

Pease listed Murphy as “day-to-day,” saying, “He’s sore. He’s rehabbing. He’s in a situation where he’s spending time in the training room getting healthy again.”

Murphy, UF’s starter the past six games, initially sprained his AC joint in his throwing shoulder in the loss to LSU on Oct. 12. If he’s unable to play, redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg — son of New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg — would start at quarterback.

The former three-star prospect has never taken a collegiate snap and has mostly been viewed as a long-term project and career backup.

“He’s ready to go,” Pease said hesitantly, before quickly adding, “The thing that’s tough on a kid in his situation is just experience. You hope you never really have to play with a redshirt freshman. Nothing against [Skyler] because he’s a smart kid, he works hard. But in a developmental situation, you hope that you get into your sophomore and junior year before you’re in that situation, whether you’re competing for the job or in a backup role ready to play.”

Murphy is hopeful he can start this weekend, but he isn’t particularly optimistic.

“It’s very difficult just because after these last few losses and not playing well on Saturday, I need all the practice I can get,” he said. “It’s just frustrating being banged up a little bit and having to sit out and try to get healthy. I’m just gonna live in the training room and get healthy and try to get back out there as soon as possible.’’

Florida’s current quarterback quagmire isn’t totally foreign to the team or staff. Mornhinweg actually took the majority of reps with the No. 1 offense during the Missouri week, as Murphy continued to nurse his shoulder.

“Skyler will get the reps. We’d been in a situation before with Tyler where he was getting the reps in place of Jeff [Driskel]. Now, a couple of weeks ago, Skyler was taking all the reps going into the Missouri game,” Pease said.

“It’s not something that is a new situation for us, but you’ve got to plan and make sure the things with do with Skyler, Murphy should also be able to perform. Fit things around both of them in a game plan that’s really going to benefit our team.”

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