April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) rolls out during the first half of the Florida-Spring Game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE
"Jeff Driskel has a shoulder injury?" The mere fact that this can fly around from person to person without a shred of confirmation helps illustrate how crazy the Florida beat is.
I write this because I firmly believe this: There's no beat more grueling in college athletics than covering the Florida Gators. With more than a dozen (very good) teams, scores of prominent players, an insatiable fan base, and a savvy, quiet athletic department, it forces every writer to wait for the same meager drip of information, cover the same things, and work virtually every day of the year.
And, to make matters worse, Florida's turned GatorZone from the realm of press releases to the realm of "exclusive" editorial content from two journalists who are often tasked with doing what seems a lot more like PR. After all, wouldn't journalists who weren't beholden to Florida and embedded with the team this Tuesday be able to report on Jeff Driskel's shoulder injury?
Instead, this happens:
— Joe Cowart (@1010xljoec) August 14, 2012
#GatorQBBattle even battle so far but now hearing injury concern to Jeff Driskel-down in practice w/a shoulder inj-not his throwing arm tho
For what it's worth, a source close to— Bryan Holt (@Bryan_Holt) August 14, 2012
#Florida has told me he thinks Jeff Driskel's shoulder injury is minor. "He seems fine."
I'm hearing from a good source that QB Jeff Driskel's shoulder injury is minor. "Small ding...nothing serious."— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) August 14, 2012
According to a source close to the UF football team, Jeff Driskel sustained a significant shoulder injury in practice today. Left shoulder.— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) August 14, 2012
And so the #Gators Internet becomes one big game of Telephone, while the people in the best position to know the truth and report it to dispel rumors are apparently forbidden from doing so. This beat's hard enough without that sort of numbing idiocy.
As for Driskel, I'd tend to believe Tyson, who has just about the best sources within the program, or Andreu, who has been around forever. But Driskel being out of practice is only a big deal in the derby between him and Jacoby Brissett the sense that he's not in practice.
If Driskel really does have a "significant" shoulder injury, I expect that to be confirmed by about the Georgia game.