Midgett stands tall, says he can start for Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The quarterback is confident -- no, make that cocky -- about proving conventional wisdom wrong and showing a freshman can play the position at Florida.
"I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think I could beat him out," Midgett said.
The freshman made the most of media day Saturday, proclaiming he had as much a chance to win the wide-open race to be Florida's starting quarterback as Leak or the other two guys competing.
Midgett is considered the least likely to win the battle, which includes sophomore Ingle Martin, redshirt freshman Gavin Dickey and Leak, the first-year player from North Carolina who is already impressing after four days of practice.
"The pressure's on him to come out and play," Midgett said, referring to Leak. "He's on the pedestal right now, and I feel if he can go up on that pedestal, that's an amazing accomplishment. But the way I look at it is, they put him so high, the only other place to go is down."
Leak was the star attraction at media day. But after Saturday, coach Ron Zook will put all freshmen off-limits to reporters until at least the start of the season.
Knowing this was their last chance for a while, the writers gathered two-deep around Leak. Dickey sat almost alone during his half-hour in the room.
"I won't be satisfied if I don't start," Dickey said.
Martin, first on the depth chart mainly because he's the only one who has taken a live snap, drew a smattering of interest.
"I don't care what everyone else says: Coach Zook is who I have to worry about," he said.
Midgett was tucked in the middle of a row, almost unnoticed. Until he got on a roll about the quarterback race.
On Leak: "Sometimes his shyness comes off as cocky. To me and the other quarterbacks talking to each other, he's just a hard guy to talk to."
On whether he expects to spend his first season on the sidelines: "I don't think I'll redshirt."
On outsiders' less-than-flattering opinions of him: "One thing they wrote before I was even up here was, `I think Leak throws better with his left hand than Midgett does with his right.' OK, maybe I wasn't ranked the No. 1 player in the nation, but ... it's not like I came from nowhere."
Midgett threw for 2,489 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda. He was widely considered the best prep quarterback in Florida last year.
Leak was considered the best quarterback -- make that player -- in the country. He owns a national high school record with 185 touchdown passes.
Zook says his decision won't be made on who gives the Gators the best chance down the road. This season is his focus.
"Whoever gives us the best chance to win is the guy we have to go with," he said.
Midgett believes the coaches will decide he is the one.
"That's the decision they have to make," he said. "But that's a decision I can make easy on them."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
- Baylor WRs take a starring role
- Dynamic duo