Today’s Take Two topic is: Who has been the SEC’s most pleasant surprise to this point – Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel or Georgia running back Todd Gurley?
Edward Aschoff: If you're looking for the biggest surprise (in a good way), look no further than Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel. Sure, he arrived at Florida as the No. 1 high school quarterback in 2011, but he did very little as a freshman and didn't officially win Florida's starting quarterback spot until after Week 1. Driskel was pretty pedestrian in the opener against Bowling Green, but he has two very good games in a row on the road in hostile environments at Texas A&M and Tennessee. In the last two games, Driskel has passed for 381 yards, including 219 against Tennessee, and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for 89 yards on 22 carries. He isn't putting up elite numbers, but he's become the quarterback Florida has desperately needed since Tim Tebow left. Is he Tebow? No, not at all, but he's made a handful of gritty plays to bring the Gators back from second-half deficiets. He had that 39-yard strike to Omarius Hines with pressure coming to set up Florida's go-ahead touchdown against the Aggies, and sealed the game with a nifty 21-yard run on a bootleg. Against the Vols, he delivered two touchdown passes of 23 and 75 yards with the pocket collapsing around him. He also pulled off a couple of clutch first-down runs by breaking off a handful of tackles. I don't know if Florida is 3-0 without Driskel under center. The youngster is growing up with each game and should only get better as the season continues.
Chris Low: I’ve seen Driskel in person each of the last two weeks, and he’s very impressive. He takes care of the ball and makes plays at key times. But what Gurley has done as a true freshman, and with limited touches, is amazing. He has 514 all-purpose yards to lead the SEC and already has five touchdowns in three games. He’s also leading the Bulldogs in rushing with 276 yards and has done it on 28 carries. That’s 9.9 yards a pop. The Bulldogs liked what they saw out of Gurley during preseason camp, but he’s been exactly what that offense needed to this point and is only going to get better. You’re talking about a 218-pound guy who doesn’t mind mixing it up and also has breakaway speed. The only down side is that Gurley hasn’t gotten enough touches. Something says that will change once the Bulldogs get into the teeth of their SEC schedule. The good news is that he will be fresh. Georgia also has confidence in fellow freshman Keith Marshall and sophomore Ken Malcome, but Gurley is the game-changer of the group and is the latest in a long line of big, fast running backs that have come through Athens.